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Catherine in Buffalo, New York

18 months ago

MichaelPharmD in New Jersey said: I am back. I thought I would let people know what happened with me.

All my pharmacist training was a gigantic waste. The Pharm.D., the residency, ALL A WASTE.

I could not find fulltime work at all. The per diem work has all dried up and gone away. Companies only hire per diem now because they do not have to give benefits so it saves on the budget for managers. We have so many people competing for per diem hours that nobody can get more than a couple a week at most.

I have now enrolled into Nursing school. A Pharm.D. going for a BSN. Talk about a rude awakening. Becoming a pharmacist was the worst decision I ever made. I hope some undergrads and pharmacy students are reading my posts. I hope you have time to change majors and avoid the Loan Debt, Lost Income, and mental health impacts that this profession how has.

Mike


Why did you choose nursing over Physician Assistant studies? Just curious in your decision-making process there. Thanks ahead for your response.

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retail8 in take a guess, Pennsylvania

18 months ago

Catherine in Buffalo, New York said: Why did you choose nursing over Physician Assistant studies? Just curious in your decision-making process there. Thanks ahead for your response.

I am seriously looking into the Nursing thing because at one local university it is a 14 month program versus years for PA. PAs need doctors, nurses can work almost anywhere. A nurse case worker or head nurse makes more than rphs. You get overtime (shocker!). I know the environment is about the same but it's a career that will last. I too like Mike am kicking myself about getting into pharmacy. I had 8 years, none of them great. Mike, I'm sorry about your situation. Have you tried your friends or students you graduated with? I know CVS has quite a few openings in NJ. Ask them for an in. Chances are they'll connect you directly with the DM. Also do you have to study Gross Anatomy for that BSN? That is the only thing holding me back but if I have to look at a dead body, so be it.

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

18 months ago

Be Careful with nursing. I believe that is on of the next professions that corporate is looking to usurp. Plot how many students vs how many jobs. That should give you an idea. Also I would get the CRNP so you can Rx.

Just a thought.

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

18 months ago

Pharmacy is facing a perfect storm of troubles. On the economic side hospitals can no longer afford pharmacists in white coats earning 125K a year. The chains have always been trying to push the pharmacists harder and using more tech's. Automation such as computer programs that can provide quality drug interaction and dosing information, bar
coding to get the right drug to the correct patient. On the political side state boards and politicians can be pressured and or enticed by big money to relax rules such as pharmacist/tech ratios, number of rx's filled and by whom. I only worked part-time
my whole pharmacy career and it served me well but am so glad when I was able to retire
my RX license. My other profession of dentistry gave me more control of my life but like
all such activity- work is hell. If I was early in my pharmacy education I would get out. If you must stay in the medical field go to medical or dental school.

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

18 months ago

@DDS
"Automation such as computer programs that can provide quality drug interaction and dosing information"

It's important to keep repeating the message that computers DO NOT provide quality interaction data.

Didn't understand why my machine didn't flag a propranolol/Albuterol DI.
After checking. The machine checked the drugs which were a category 3.
3 was below the flag threshold. The actual interaction is an INFERRED
drug-disease interaction. Reactive Airway disease w/a non-selective beta blocker.

What about selective beta blockers over the non-selective threshold?
Will a machine flag Metoprolol 200mg w/albuterol but not a 100mg dose?

Automation will NOT replace a Clinical pharmacist review. Technicians are just that technicians. You must have oversight with a clinically trained eye. What about all the crap interactions we have to over ride? Machines don't have the flexibility that the human mind has.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

18 months ago

Try using that argument to persuade a CFO to maintain or add FTEs. Let me know how that works for you.

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

18 months ago

Computers and programs may not be there yet, but compare computers of today to twenty years ago, or even five years ago. Tell me a busy hospital or retail pharmacist verifying orders or scrips by the hundreds each day, with many patients on 10 or more drugs are going to catch more than the most basic of drug interactions. It all works in theory as described and promoted by pharmacy educators who wouldn't last a week on the front lines at CVS or Walmart.

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

18 months ago

"Tell me a busy hospital or retail pharmacist verifying orders or scrips by the hundreds each day, with many patients on 10 or more drugs are going to catch more than the most basic of drug interactions"

Also responding to the CFO and legal department.

That is exactly what I used to do. That's why I refer to myself as a clinical dispensing pharmacist. My discussion to corporate would revolve around legal liability. Legal action reduction is the reason to allow a modicum of time for me to inhale the entire patient's profile. It is in corporate's benefit to reduce legal liability. Liability is reduced by clinical analysis of each profile. Analogous to a spill no one cleans up.

Example. Our LTC Rx contracted to develop a wing for high risk pregnancies. Told the operations manager we were bound to be sued. Was assured a neonatologist would be writing the orders. Not 2 weeks later, caught a filled secobarbital rx waiting to go out. The cleft palate or whatever would have constituted a huge liability. I take comfort that a 17 year old kid doesn't have defects affecting their dating/self image.

I am not giving up. I am not buckling under. Corporate will realize the hard way, if a missed clinical situation results in a multi million dollar law suit. This is my corporate angle, legal liability reduction. My personal angle is still my fiduciary duty to my patients.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

18 months ago

Awesome comment

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

18 months ago

[QUOTE who="Rx Veteran in Maryland"

I agree totally with your comment but hospitals are staffed with pharmacists with varying degrees of abilities and a certain level of risk is always present. At least in hospitals you have a layer of people to help prevent errors and a medical staff to deal with problems that do arise. The real risk to the public is the retail sector. A rx filled incorrectly can be refilled incorrectly many times before it is ever caught. Does the chain DM or store manager care if the error was on the 300th Rx you had filled that day while working with a trainee tech? State boards and our professional organisations have let us down by not spelling out max workloads. 13 hour shifts, no lunch breaks, irate customers, what a great working environment. Try taking 10 minutes to review a 10 to 20 drug profile checking for interactions or incorrect doses. Current computer programs are after thoughts tacked on to a hospital or retail software package.
The hardware is sufficient and great programs are in the realm of possibilities that could be at least a great asset to the worlds greatest clinical pharmacist and game changing for guys in the trenches trying to do the best job possible.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

18 months ago

Excellent point about hospital pharmacy. Doctor enters order, pharmacist checks the order and the nurse signs off the order. This makes sense because the scope of medications used in a hospital setting can potentially cause much more death and destruction. Each pharmacist is responsible for about 180 patients during the day. The night pharmacist is responsible for the whole house. The computer programs that catches drug interactions are great but they are to numerous. Have you heard of "alert fatigue"? This is a real thing. The pharmacists get desensitized to alerts and they will just blow right by them, especially when the orders are piling up.

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

18 months ago

DDSRPH "I agree totally with your comment but hospitals are staffed with pharmacists with varying degrees of abilities and a certain level of risk is always present."

I do not require 10 minutes to review a profile. I generally need about 2 minutes. Scanning for compliance, Dx identification from Drug Hx, Generates omission/commission/drug-disease/drug-drug/and potential age related issues. The real problem is lack of mail order data. Also scan for high risk medications that require testing. Many hydroxychloroquine patients do not get the required ocular testing.

IDing previous fill errors can be partly accomplished by trend analysis. I won't go into it, but it can be done.

In other words, have a refined protocol for quick assessment.
Totally agree about theof competence. It amazes me how deliberately
lax some are.

My entire purpose for posting? It is insulting to believe a computer can integrate new knowledge as fast as a human, has the ability to ignore some DI but triggers after a threshold dose, will detect lack of testing or the myriad of other issues that 'good' pharmacists regularly detect.

If corporate thinks Rx drugs are simply a commodity and a pharmacist's responsibility only involves stuffing the right drug into the right bottle, let them be fore warned. There are many pharmacists who will testify to corporate's pattern and practice of interference with a professional's ability do their job, thus putting the patient at risk.

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MichaelPharmD in New Jersey

17 months ago

Catherine in Buffalo, New York said: Why did you choose nursing over Physician Assistant studies? Just curious in your decision-making process there. Thanks ahead for your response.

Catherine,

Nursing has endless opportunities. A PA can only be a PA. A nurse can be a hospital administrator, NP, floor nurse, etc.

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Catherine in Buffalo, New York

17 months ago

MichaelPharmD in New Jersey said: Catherine,

Nursing has endless opportunities. A PA can only be a PA. A nurse can be a hospital administrator, NP, floor nurse, etc.

I have read much of the PA versus NP decision debates. Againt NP, one has to choose a speciality in which to train, where as PA can work in any practice type without having to train in separate specialities as NPs do. PAs are trained in the physician model, NPs in the nursing model. Do you still consider the NP route better over PA, for pharmacists wanting to gain entry as mid-level practitioners?

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

17 months ago

Another option I mentioned in a much earlier post is medical or dental school paid for by military via a Health Professions Scholarship. During my last year of Pharmacy School
I decided I could not work my whole life in a drug store. It just was not for me. I applied to the Navy and received a four year scholarship for dental school after I had been accepted by Marquette college of dentistry. They paid all costs plus a stipend for living expenses. These scholarships are more numerous and easier to get for medical school because the need if greater for MD's. I served my four years to pay back scholarship and with my previous four years of enlisted time in the Air force I stayed in reserves and retired as a Navy Captain with a very good pension that began at age 60
(four years ago). I have turned my Pharmacist and dental license in and no longer work.
During my reserve days I traveled the world for the navy filling in on several short term assignments at navy shore based dental clinics. I had a small dental practice and worked part-time at a local hospital as stsff pharmacist. If you are nearing or recently graduated ask yourself if you want to work for some chain under terrible working conditions for the next 40 years assuming you are one of the lucky ones to get hired.

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CAO in Pennsauken, New Jersey

17 months ago

MichaelPharmD in New Jersey said: Catherine,

Nursing has endless opportunities. A PA can only be a PA. A nurse can be a hospital administrator, NP, floor nurse, etc.

Michael, thanks SO much for your input. I thought that I was going crazy. I lost my job over 2 years ago and haven't been able to find anything. I guess that it's time to find something else to do.

That's the reality. I was VERY good at what I did. Thanks again to everyone for sharing stories.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

17 months ago

Rx Veteran in Maryland said: "Tell me a busy hospital or retail pharmacist verifying orders or scrips by the hundreds each day, with many patients on 10 or more drugs are going to catch more than the most basic of drug interactions"

Also responding to the CFO and legal department.

That is exactly what I used to do. That's why I refer to myself as a clinical dispensing pharmacist. My discussion to corporate would revolve around legal liability. Legal action reduction is the reason to allow a modicum of time for me to inhale the entire patient's profile. It is in corporate's benefit to reduce legal liability. Liability is reduced by clinical analysis of each profile. Analogous to a spill no one cleans up.

Example. Our LTC Rx contracted to develop a wing for high risk pregnancies. Told the operations manager we were bound to be sued. Was assured a neonatologist would be writing the orders. Not 2 weeks later, caught a filled secobarbital rx waiting to go out. The cleft palate or whatever would have constituted a huge liability. I take comfort that a 17 year old kid doesn't have defects affecting their dating/self image.

I am not giving up. I am not buckling under. Corporate will realize the hard way, if a missed clinical situation results in a multi million dollar law suit. This is my corporate angle, legal liability reduction. My personal angle is still my fiduciary duty to my patients.

The business is sued and they then sue the employee. Isn't that usually how it goes?

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

17 months ago

mvd in Godfrey, Illinois said: The business is sued and they then sue the employee. Isn't that usually how it goes?

Yes and no. Always had my own liability insurance. In addition to the former corporate perk of pharmacy practice insurance. Don't believe I would be sued. Would be a witness for the plaintiff. Printed/archived all the emails ever sent to corporate, documenting lack of help as a risk factor.

Example.
Lawyer called about a pt from many years ago. Said couldn't discuss that pt, but would discuss my professional routine of warning patients.

Have a pattern and practice of documenting verbal/written warnings.
Showed lawyer current scribbled note on misoprostol. "Verbal Warned abortifacient". Don't remember warning that specific pt. I am sure I did. Never heard another thing about it. Remember legally, misfills require pt harm to generate lawsuits.
Every professional needs to develop a routine of intervention and documentation and never vary from it. It will save you one day.

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Kaycee in Stone Mountain, Georgia

17 months ago

Just turned 43 and enrolled in pre-pharm program at a local community college.
I have a wife and 4 kids. Should I right now switch programs, to what program do you
recommend. I'm taking your advice on the current situation with the pharmacy job market very seriously.
Please advice.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

Find your a very busy pharmacy in town and just stand in front of the counter for 12 hours on a Monday and watch and listen. You will never think about pharmacy again.

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

17 months ago

Kaycee in Stone Mountain, Georgia said: Just turned 43 and enrolled in pre-pharm program at a local community college.

Pre-Pharmacy is very similar to any other pre-courses. (Med, Nursing, Dental) All require the same basic knowledge set.

Suggestion. If your hands are smaller and you have good dexterity go to Dental Hygiene school. It's only two years and currently appears to have a good market and income stream. My friend is a hygienist. But don't think Hygiene school is a cake walk. I helped her study. The amount of rote memorization is on the order of other professions.

Consider trying it first..Become a dental assistant. Believe there is on the job training. AVOID PHARMACY at all costs. Good luck

BTY, anyone consider flipping houses, Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity first. Then you will understand the massive amount of knowledge needed.

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realisticrph in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

I would not recommend pharmacy for anyone. If you are 43 and expect to be a pharmacist in 8 years, you will be 51. The age discrimination going on today is horrible. Employers want blind pups they can manipulate into spinning faster and faster on the gerbil wheel for less and less money.
The risk is too high for you Kaycee. Perhaps you have an edge we don't know about? An uncle with a few independent stores? History of strong management skills? Skin like a rhino?

We have not seen the worst of the new school glut yet. It will be like a zombie movie.

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Thomas Carrigan in Denver, Colorado

17 months ago

Part One
I love pharmacy, but…

I'll share my story. Graduated in 2008. Mom was proud. Got a hospital job, just per diem, cause I didn't have the experience. I worked hard, did a great job. Per diem status was ok, because I was working about 4 days a week. Then I was ready to move onto fulltime work, got licensed in a total of five states spread out across the USA. The market shifted, my hours were cut slowly, then eventually I was entirely eliminated. Not that it matters, but I worked without health insurance the whole time, and never got a raise.

I have 5 years experience in a hospital - which sounds perfect. I have applied to about twenty jobs that sound like they were created with me in mind. I have the experience and the state license. But I rarely get any sort of response. When I do, the one question they ask is whether I'm working now. When I say no, they seem to lose all interest. I have NOT sent out hundreds of applications, but it's been three months now with no interviews, so I am starting to apply to anything, really -- retail even tho I have no retail experience, and to states I don't have licenses in.

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Thomas Carrigan in Denver, Colorado

17 months ago

Part Two
I made mistakes: I stayed per diem in the first three years of work when I had the chance to go full-time. I became comfortable, an expert at a few functions, instead of taking the challenge and learning ALL aspects / skills of the job. I didn't put effort into making contacts/friends.

It hurts when I keep reading the BLS prediction that 69,700 new pharmacist positions will be created this decade. They don’t mention that 140,000 students are graduating during the same period.

I know a student, class of 2013, who had no experience and got a retail job at $120k in a cool city on the coast. There ARE jobs out there, but getting one is like winning the lottery.

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Scared for Rx in Brooklyn, New York

17 months ago

@ Kaycee

I graduated this past May. If you are in a major metropolitan city, you will have to MOVE unless you have the patience of a saint and wait it out in the metropolis for a job to open up. Be prepared to travel anywhere from 1-2 hrs. from the city to work. And be prepared to deal with fickle recruiters and hiring managers.

One thing you need to consider: by the time you graduate, more schools would have graduated their 1st, 2nd, 3rd classes across the nation. That will be your competition for not only internships but pharmacist jobs as well. As a recent graduate I can tell you that many rural areas are now saturated due to the spillover from the cities. If you have connections on the executive end then you will be fine........

The next 1-5 years in the world of pharmacy is going to be a tough one not only for new graduates but for seasoned pharmacists with years of experience under their belt. The schools, the boards of pharmacy, retail giants and hospitals BLEW it. Not only that, but you are going to have to deal with foreign trained pharmacists as well. It's a nightmare. I live in NYC and can't relocate due to circumstances beyond my control. Trust me when I say NYC is scorched earth. Actually all of the east coast is a fight. With the job market this tight, don't count on your classmates as they are all fighting for the same position. Think the pharmacy version of "The Hunger Games". I kid you not.

I saw the writing on the wall as I was doing my final year rotations. That's when I started to freak. Hospitals are cracking down on their limited budgets. Retail is like a water balloon about to pop. Seriously, if you decide to go through with pharmacy you need a serious game plan before you enroll in pharmacy school.

My advice to you Kaycee: do not go to pharmacy school.

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flrph in miami, Florida

17 months ago

Florida has few RPh jobs to offer. If you're over 50yo you have outlived your BS degree and will be extremely lucky to get any job. The job market changed about 10 years ago. Walgreens went to central fill and downsized putting a lot of RPh on the curb looking for work. This was combined about the same time with new schools releasing the first grads. Overnight there were 10 applicants for every job. It's worse now.
Example: Making $116k/yr in 2004 CVS gave me $20k to take a store in the Fl. Keys for 2 years. In 2006 they gave me another $20k to stay in that store. In 2008 they said we don't offer incentives anymore. In 2010 I was terminated along with 8 other RPhs (7 stores) within 18 months just in the Fl. Keys and Homestead. Fl area. All of us 45-65 yo. We were replaced by new grads being paid 25% less and no incentives. BYE BYE AMERICAN PIE! The pharmacy party is OVER.
Today I work for a BIG BOX store at the same hourly rate as in 2006 BUT full time hours are not assigned. EVER! I average about 32 hours a week after 18 months on the job. I'm lucky to get those. Some only get 15-20. The company relocates folks from up north with promise of full time then screws them when they get here.
DO NOT GO TO PHARMACY SCHOOL unless its for some education other than to dispense. Industry maybe. Otherwise engineering is where the money is now.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

It is great to see so many of explaining the horrific conditions we face, we need to get the word out to the general public. It is very hard to explain are work to anybody that's not a pharmacist. We need to contact major news to ask them to run special show on this, ex. 20/20 dateline talk shows. Write to any and all to get are voices heard. We now know that every pharmacy organization and college is just as bad as the retail giants. Let's turn this ship around. Even the government job outlook handbook has the prediction of pharmacists needed wrong. Keep posting here, but write to major news outlets even if you do as anonymous

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

Hi everyone!

I agree with the spirit of this conversation in that the new colleges of pharmacy, expanding class sizes, and addition of satellites are constricting our job market even further and our new graduates do not have the opportunities to find work. The purpose of ACPE, ASHP, APhA, and other organizations is not to police this, however, as much as they may be opposed to it, as evidenced by the 2011 statement quoted by Jonathan. I know that pharmacists at the national level are very concerned with this growth, as evidenced by the numerous open forum and house of delegates discussions on this topic over the past years, but as long as these new colleges are able to show that they can provide quality education and have IPPE/APPE sites for their students, ACPE's accreditation standards have been met.

As disheartening as this is, I think Jackie's point is well-made. We need to use this expanding workforce to help expand our role in the healthcare system. Jobs in hospitals are constricted, yes, and they will likely not expand to include more opportunities for us in the future, so we need to focus our efforts and the interest of our new grads to other opportunities. Ambulatory care is expanding and community health is changing. The role of the pharmacist is becoming further removed from dispensing and community pharmacy residencies are expanding to meet this new niche. This was discussed in depth at ASHP's policy week last year, and I believe that a stronger push is coming to encourage increasing accountability for patient care in the retail arena.

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

Additionally, although there are concerns with these new colleges of pharmacy, they do provide further faculty positions for practicing pharmacists. As was pointed out above, the positions available may be outside of a large city. I receive a number of emails each month from my alma mater regarding open positions for pharmacists in rural areas.

Yes, there is a saturated job market and, yes, the new colleges are not hel

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

Yes, there is a saturated job market and, yes, the new colleges are not helping the situation, but there is not a single entity that has the right to tell the schools that they cannot open, unless there is proof that accreditation standards will not be met. Therefore, we as the workforce should attempt to expand our role as clinical pharmacists and increase the number of jobs available by exploring new avenues for patient care, expanding current practice, and encouraging new graduates to be open-minded about pursuing opportunities in areas with greater demand - be that geographically or in relation to the job description.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

Nicole, you right, this is a free market to open up as many schools as you want. What we are asking is that the truth of the current market conditions be told to the public. These students and parents paying large amounts of money need to know what to expect. As for expanding the role of pharmacist, that is great but we have been trying to do that for 30 years. Would be nice if we just had the time to safely do our current job

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

17 months ago

We have been talking about expanded roles for pharmacists for 30 to 40 years. There are
many academic models for how this will work and students leave pharmacy school expecting their job to be clinical in nature. A few days at CVS or any chain brings them the reality of true pharmacy practice. Now they are responsible for filling 3 to 4 hundred or more scripts and council patients, give flu shots etc. The missing part of the equation is the fact that no one is willing to pay for the service. With the financial pressures facing healthcare it is unlikely to change for the better.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

Great response!

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Rx Veteran in Maryland

17 months ago

"we need to get the word out to the general public. It is very hard to explain are work to anybody that's not a pharmacist. We need to contact major news to ask them to run special show on this, ex. 20/20 dateline talk shows."

I agree we need a sting type operation. Go to twenty pharmacies with a proventil/propranolol rx... See how many stop it. The highlight the entire lack of patient care focus and how people will die.

Should be interesting.

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

Who said Retail wasn't doing much to expand on pharmaceutical care? Just hot from the press:

MinuteClinic, Baptist Health Care form clinical affiliation

SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 | BY ANTOINETTE ALEXANDER
Related Content

WOONSOCKET, R.I. and PENSACOLA, Fla. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic and Baptist Health Care, the largest healthcare network in northwest Florida with a staff of more than 600 physicians, has entered into a clinical affiliation to enhance access to healthcare services in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

Under the agreement, Baptist Health Care physicians will serve as medical directors for four MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in Cantonment, Crestview, Gulf Breeze and Niceville, and any future locations in the region. In addition, MinuteClinic and Baptist will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offer.

"Through this affiliation, we can build on Baptist Health Care's 60-year tradition of compassionate care in Northwest Florida by creating more convenient access to high quality medical services in the community," stated Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer at CVS Caremark. "We look forward to having Baptist Health Care physicians collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners to provide quality oversight, teaching and back-up so MinuteClinic can provide the best care at the lowest overall cost for patients and employers."

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

"At Baptist Health Care, we continuously explore opportunities to better serve patients by providing easy-to-access quality care in our community," added Brian Matson, Baptist Health Care SVP and chief strategy and business development officer. "Our affiliation with CVS helps us achieve that. We are pleased to be able to form affiliations with well-respected national organizations to improve the quality of health for those we serve while remaining the area's only locally-owned not-for-profit healthcare system."

MinuteClinic and Baptist Health Care will begin to work toward fully integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual's care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other Baptist Health Care locations in northwest Florida. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

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retail8 in take a guess, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

@Nicole, I have been to Minute Clinics and have not had a great experience. Sick as a dog, waited over 1/2 hour just for four people (an entire family) to check in to the computer (didn't speak English). By the time it was my turn, the NP loudly announced she was going on lunch for an hour (it was 11:50 am) and to come back in 2 hours. I told her I was going to the local express doctor center (staffed only by doctors not NPs) and did so. I was waited on promptly and got meds too. My only other experience was taking a friend to Minute Clinic who had the flu at the time. The NP there said that she had something else and refused to give my friend medicine even for the nasty cough they had. That friend went to a doctor, got medicine and felt better. Minute Clinics are a joke. Oh, and there are still no jobs out there in the East unless someone dies or you know someone on a first name basis. Do not go for a PharmD degree unless you want to graduate without a job.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

Nicole, do you really think cvs cares about anything but money? What is your experience as a pharmacist? In the pharmacy world, if it don't make money it don't make sense.

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Nicole Grimmer in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

I see your point. I will reconsider and say many retail pharmacists would prefer not to get involved in enhancing their clinical role in patient care and take on more accountability. I have worked in the retail setting both as a pharmacist and technician in many different pharmacies throughout the country (mostly as relief RPh). I could tell within an hour whether the regular pharmacist at that store was engaged or not. Many were not. I say let's look at those who are engaged. Why were they? Where were they? What states? What cities? Who did they work for? How has the board helped? Did MTM get adopted? Could any of it be translated to the inpatient side?

MD and RN support is awesome and I am proud of what many of us have accomplished. I believe, though, that patients are still an untapped and more fruitful area for improvement. Senior admin (and the government) is focusing more and more on patient satisfaction surveys. Where are we on those surveys? How can we be a part of those surveys? What if the patient expected a pharmacist be present for their care in the hospital. What if they listed us (or the lack of) on their survey. The CFOs, not the MDs or RNs, have the money and the C-suite would move if patients' expectations changed. Remember that right now, your job is determined, in the CFO's mind, by number of prescriptions filled/hour.

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ddsrph in Tullahoma, Tennessee

17 months ago

Until we can define and quantify "clinical pharmacy", or "Pharmaceutical Care" and get
patients and payers (insurance companies) to accept and pay for it doesn't really exist.
Suppose every busy chain had a dispensing team of highly trained tech's and at the
end of the line a pharmacist would give that final check and then offer the extra value
that we all talk about of "Pharmaceutical care" for say 5 dollars (inaddition to the
rx price or co-pay). I doubt patients would want that and it would make us think about
just how much value this really has. Now we can give it for free all day long. Who can
blame the chain CEO for putting more value on the number of scripts we fill than knowledge we impart to the patient. Our basic responsibility is to get the right drug in
the bottle and to hopefully detect any drug interactions or improper doses. What else
is there that we could expect to charge for? I am not a enemy of pharmacy. I worked at a great part-time hospital job for 25 years with a great boss. Pharmacist would be good at running diabetic, or hypertension support clinics but so would nurses or PA's. That can't be the answer for employment of all these excess pharmacist being churned out today.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

17 months ago

I have been a hospital pharmacist for many years. The hospital setting is starting and will continue to shrink. I have always thought that pharmacist would be really good at basically doing what dedicated clinical pharmacists do but it would involve having access to all patient data (MD notes, vitals, labs, diagnostic test results, etc...) There is no one better to take all of this data to determine more cost effective therapies and to measure outcomes and compliance. This is what I did everyday. I had an average of >$120.00/hr cost saving/avoidance. If patients had comprehensive medication reviews(similar to LTC) at least monthly and could be shown improvement in symptoms, number of meds, cost of meds, quality of life, etc...The pharmacist would be removed from the dispensing function and have a purely clinical role. Hospitals are starting to partner with community pharmacist to ensure their patients are not readmitted for exacerbations of chronic conditions for at least 31 days. Pharmacists are perfectly positioned to fulfill the roles. The healthcare model is trending toward massive outpatient care and patient's medical home (integrated care). It is my hope, once this goes mainstream, that community pharmacists will have complete access to patient medical information to make informed interventions and improve quality and decrease cost of care.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

17 months ago

I just was contacted by a recruiter for a lead clinical position in the Quad cities (is that Iowa?). Anyone interested? They are looking for solid clinical experience and/or a residency. If interested the recruiter's email is crjsearch@sbcglobal.net and his name is Mark Marshall

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new grad 13 in tampa, Florida

17 months ago

I just graduated in 2013, all these stories are true, actually they are exponentially worse. My hours that were agreed at my retail employer were cut the day i was licensed. I have been with this giant 3 letter red company for years. I float now. They company expected me to be licensed to immunize right out the door, since it took 3 weeks, i was told i would be taken off the schedule till i could immunize. I work at good stores and bad stores, good help and bad help. Im 6 figures in debt with no solution but to work as hard as i can and live as cheaply as possible to be debt free. Many speak of working 80 hour weeks but that is not possible any more, there are no hours, no part time jobs, I really dont know what is going to happen to new grads. My district manager has told me he has stopped hiring interns and in parts of the state they have refused to promote interns to pharmacists. i can truelly say the $hit has hit the fan people,

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retail8 in take a guess, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

new grad 13 in tampa, Florida said: I just graduated in 2013, all these stories are true, actually they are exponentially worse. My hours that were agreed at my retail employer were cut the day i was licensed. I have been with this giant 3 letter red company for years. I float now. They company expected me to be licensed to immunize right out the door, since it took 3 weeks, i was told i would be taken off the schedule till i could immunize. I work at good stores and bad stores, good help and bad help. Im 6 figures in debt with no solution but to work as hard as i can and live as cheaply as possible to be debt free. Many speak of working 80 hour weeks but that is not possible any more, there are no hours, no part time jobs, I really dont know what is going to happen to new grads. My district manager has told me he has stopped hiring interns and in parts of the state they have refused to promote interns to pharmacists. i can truelly say the $hit has hit the fan people,

I am sorry about your situation. Words of advice...you have a job and from I've seen, most new grads are made floaters or overnight rphs. The help sucks pretty much everywhere and some of them will try to get you fired. I lost my job in the beginning of the year. Only one interview, no job. It is very very bad out there. Hang onto the job and get yourself some connections to try to get into pharma or medical writing or even consider hospital pharmacy. I cannot relocate due to family issues but there are jobs in remote areas. Job openings exist but they are not published. I have found out about one yesterday via word of mouth. When you call for copies, ask the pharmacist about openings and for their DM's email. Good luck and I am praying for all the underemployed and unemployed individuals out there. It is going to get worse.

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Jenny in Bradenton, Florida

17 months ago

Why don't we pharmacists Unionize? Chicago is not going through this. They are in the Union and this BS wouldn't fly there.

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Jay Michaels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

I agree unions are the only way to go now

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Jenny in Bradenton, Florida

17 months ago

You would think with Unions enrollment down, they would be jumping on this. I don't think there are too many Pharmacists that wouldn't jump at the chance to join.

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Thomas Carrigan in Denver, Colorado

17 months ago

new grad 13 in tampa, Florida said: I just graduated in 2013 ... My hours ... were cut. I float now.

Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you're a retail parttime floater. I know that's not what you wanted, but it's a stepping stone to where you want to be. Enjoy your days off. And position yourself to move onto something better. As a floater you'll get to network with more pharmacists. I agree with everything 'retail8' said four posts above mine. And it would be nice to have an update from you in a couple months... Good luck.

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mvd in Godfrey, Illinois

17 months ago

Really, pharmacists are unionized in Chicago? I need to find out about that. More info needed.

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Scared for Rx in New York, New York

17 months ago

I am a recent graduate and I feel confident enough to say it seems that pharmacy is always years behind the other health professions. Nurses have been unionized since forever. Pharmacists that work in hospitals in NYC were ahead of the times by demanding to join a union. Retail is another monster altogether. It will take the strength of Jesus and all the saints in heaven for retail pharmacists to join together to demand unionization.

Why?

Over the last 2 decades many pharmacists got extremely "cushy" with their 6 figure salaries. Which is well and good. But during that time frame I am positive many pharmacists saw the trend of what was taking place but said "Oh well, as long as I have my checks and my house(s). I don't care." Some pharmacists that found niche markets outside of retail/hospital have developed a rather "elitist" attitude (I am so great nothing can phase me b/c I made it out of retail/hospital).

Guess what honeys, pharmacy like all other markets MUST follow the law of supply & demand.

Unions are the way to go. But unfortunately, pharmacy, as a whole, is extremely disjointed. Hospital pharmacists have a tendency to scoff at retail pharmacists and vice versa. Residency trained pharmacists scoff at staff pharmacists. Retail pharmacists scoff at interns trying to make it. During my 6th year rotations, this was not the case with medical doctors, nurses, and PAs (those guys stick together and network with each other!) It was my experience that everyone in my class have thrown somebody under the bus at some point.

The only way this corrects itself is with the eventual closing of schools. I think I read somewhere on this forum that dentistry went through the same thing pharmacy is going through back in the 1970s. The market eventually corrected itself and the ADA too steps to regulate supply and demand.

I wish everyone the best of luck with everything.

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