There are a lot of reasons to be a pharmacist. The most important are good pay, benefits and it’s simply prestigious to be a pharmacy professional. However, there a lot of things which are pretty annoying in being a pharmacy specialist. Let’s find pros and cons, good and bad news for someone, who wishes to become a pharmacy specialist.
- Most of the pharmacists are satisfied with their work; almost 80% of all pharmacists (working in independent pharmacies and hospital pharmacies) are satisfied with the job they have, according to P&T report in 2004;
You can find out if pharmacists are satisfied with their job by reading this article.
- About 200 million U.S. residents’ benefits are administered by Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBM, for short); third-party companies that help customers and pharmacy specialist to get their discounts, mail-order services, etc; this is the great field of work for someone, who wishes to be a pharmacy specialist;
- Pharmacists is one of the best careers of 2009, according to US News and World Report; the role of pharmacist is expanding and changing with time, number of pharmacies is significant now and a number of pharmacy schools and pharmacies are continuing to grow;
- Big chain pharmacies (like Walgreen, CVS, Walmart, Rite-Aid) offer the best pricing and services for their employees and customers; good pay, parking lot for employees, discount on medications and a huge amount of pharmacies, especially in urban areas – that’s exactly what newcomer needs;
- A number of customers will grow, because of new politics of biggest pharmacy chains; now they provide customers with the most convenient and quick way to get and fill prescriptions, offering 90-day supply of some medications for incredibly low cost (about $4 or $10)
- Pharmacy specialists can make changes in their profession; some changes could be made by letters sent to American Pharmacists Association (APA), some of them are made on places: independent pharmacies choose specific ways to attract customers; pharmacy boards are also helping pharmacists in most critical issues; for the last years, the role of pharmacists became even more important (next item);
- The ability to help people in some new ways; with the expanding role of pharmacists, they have the ability to be even more important in health care system by helping patients and providing them with some information at pharmacy, consult them and increase patients’ medication adherence, consult healthcare providers such as physicians on side effects of medications;
You can read more about some new roles of pharmacists in this article.
Pros for becoming a pharmacist are pretty impressive. However, this profession is not only about benefits and good pay. Some of the negative sides of the profession should be considered as well.
So here is the list of cons:
- Independent pharmacies amount may be lower; independent pharmacists are blocked from collaboration with pharmacy benefits managers. They can sign contracts with Express Scripts, Caremark and Medco Health Solutions, but that’s it – no other options available. This leads to driving out of business;
- Only half of retail pharmacists are satisfied with their jobs, according to P&T report in 2004; now this number could be slightly different;
- Increase of technical solutions in big chain pharmacies leads to stuff amount reduction; with some time, most of the operations will be made by automated lines, so there may not be any place for pharmacy specialists; as the efficiency increase becomes more important, pharmacies are trying to be more technically-equipped, which leads to increasing of difficulty for newcomers to become pharmacists;
- As big chain pharmacies need fewer specialists than in past years, the turnover rate and un-satisfaction of newcomers with their new job is really low; long shifts, stressful situations, argues with insurance companies that represent their customer interest, complicated rules, increasing responsibility with decreasing wages – are common in big chain pharmacies. So big chain pharmacies are driving small independent out of market, especially from urban areas, so there are not that many places where a new pharmacist can start his career with great conditions;
- Upset customers; one of the most important parts of pharmacist job is work with people. Now, most of the people, who are upset with mail-order pharmacies or lack of service as the part of costs cut are going to a local store and trying to get all the answers they need. Needless to say, that working with people is a job, working with upset people Is a real challenge sometimes;
- Expanding the role of pharmacists; yes, this item is in pros list as well. But on the other hand, pharmacists need to know more about customer care and have some other specific knowledge to become the most competent specialist; so pharmacist should spend time on customer and health care professional support, consult people, manage medications, increase medication adherence, follow the rules of service, provide customers with alternative medications if needed – and it is all should be done during one shift. For some people, this type of “multitasking” can be quite difficult to handle.
Cons list may be quite frightening for those who wish to become a pharmacy specialist, but it doesn’t mean that this level cannot be reached. With effect, which pharmacists can make when something should be changed, it is a great opportunity to become pharmacist now and make the difference. Maybe even make the cons list shorter.