Pharmacists Discuss the Disadvantages of Being a Pharmacist
I asked 3 pharmacists to comment on the challenges of the pharmacy profession and here are there insights.
Adam Kaye, PharmD: Clinical Professor of Pharmacy/Pharmacy Manager/ Pharmacist Clinician (PhC)/ Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Garrett Brown, PharmD: Founder at RXelite Resumes, Industry-leading Pharmacist Resume Writer, Practicing Clinical Pharmacist
I think one of the biggest disadvantages is some areas of practice (retail pharmacy) don't allow pharmacists to utilize their education. They aren't given enough time to actually counsel patients or interact with prescribers and provide clinical recommendations . So, I think this impacts job satisfaction in terms of not feeling like they are contributing as much as they are capable of.
Karine Wong, PharmD: Clinical Pharmacist, Author, Chief Operating Officer at Pro-Gummies, LLC
There are disadvantages of every career. For pharmacists, disadvantages include:
Continual independent learning: State law requires continuing medical education credits for license renewals. Healthcare is constantly evolving; with every landmark study, there is a new guideline. With every new chemical moiety, there is a new class of drugs. If pharmacists are not willing to study on their own, they will soon fall behind new treatments, guidelines, and regulations. Eventually, the way they practice pharmacy will be affected.
Non-standard work hours: Unless you are in management or managed care (or PBMs), odds are you will be working rotating shifts and alternating with other staff members. Today, you are scheduled to work the 8 am shift and tomorrow, you are working the 1 pm shift. Then you’re off the following day but only to return on Saturday morning at 6 am. For pharmacists with young families, this can be a problem to find childcare. Female pharmacists have transitioned from retail pharmacies to managed care primarily for this reason.
The small salary gap between pharmacists and managers: In private sectors, senior managers make tremendously more money than their employees. One business book even quoted that the most senior executive should draw in a salary that 4x more than the lowest paying employee. However, in the pharmacy field, there is hardly a difference. Hospital pharmacists can expect a salary of $50 to $58 per hour. Pharmacy directors get more- an extra $2 to $3 more (per hour). If you want a manager position, you should want it for the responsibilities, not the salary.
High-volume: Pharmacies do not employ a lot of staff. Overhead costs are already high with one full-time pharmacist. Therefore, you can expect busy days or days of high-volume outputs. In retail pharmacy, my colleagues spend most of the day on their feet filling 100 to 200 prescriptions per day, answering phones, and counseling patients.
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