Hospital jobs and positions for pharmacists in clinical settings are becoming lucrative opportunities as a clearer job market future emerges in the pharmacy profession. As discussed previously, the most current pharmacist job statistics clearly indicate that there will be a shift over the next decade from retail to hospital employment opportunities for pharmacists, plus a significant surge in the demand for RPh’s in all hospital, clinical and institutional settings.
As documented by the US Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics), currently around fifty eight percent (58%) of all pharmacists work in a retail job or community drug store environment. Approximately thirty percent (30%) of all US pharmacists work in jobs that are located in a hospital, clinical or home health settings. Yet this is going to change pretty dramatically and the shift will be towards an increasing percentage of new jobs for the hospital sector and its practitioners. The latest USDL statistics reported that there will be a very minimal increase in the expansion of retail pharmacy jobs seen over the next ten year period (estimated at less than 1%), and that the retail job market for pharmacists will become rather stagnant. On the “flip side” is the the prediction that there will be well over a ten percent (10%) expansion in the number of hospital jobs for pharmacists seen over the next decade. Several medical employment and staffing experts are even predicting that a thirteen to fifteen percent (13-15%) increase is not unrealistic.
Why The Shift From Retail to Hospital Pharmacy Jobs?
Hospital pharmacists historically were paid salaries that were lower (sometimes significantly) when compared to the salaries for retail, community, independent and chain store pharmacy positions. Now the reverse of this is being seen. Factoring in various parameters such as the longevity of being in a position, the skills required for the position and the duties being performed by the pharmacist on staff, plus certain geographical considerations, hospital pharmacist salaries now surpass those of most retail pharmacist jobs. Plus, hospital pharmacies also offer a wide range of areas for both advancement and growth that simply cannot be found in the retail pharmacy business environment.
Basically it is simply a matter of the old economic rule of supply and demand. While the total supply of pharmacists is increasing, the demand is shifting to skilled hospital RPh’s and jobs in specialized positions. The increase in supply is due in part to both the increased number of students graduating with RPh degrees, plus the decreased number of active pharmacists retiring. The number of pharmacy graduates has significantly increased as the number of pharmacy schools has increased. In the late 1980’s there were a total of only 72 accredited pharmacy schools in the nation. As reported by the AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy) there now exists a total of 130 accredited pharmacy schools offering a B. S. in Pharmacy degree in the United States. Additionally, as the average age of retirement continues to increase (from previously about 62 years of age to over 70 years old now), fewer vacant job positions and openings are becoming available to be filled.
If YOU Are Considering Switching From Retail To Hospital Pharmacy
If you are currently thinking about your own future in the pharmacy profession and considering a switch or transition from a retail to a hospital setting, please take a moment to consider the following:
– In some states additional licensure requirements are required for certain hospital, clinical and nursing home positions. Using Florida as an example, to become the Director of Pharmacy in a hospital or work as a consulting pharmacist in a nursing home, a Consulting Pharmacist licence is additionally required. In Florida, as specified in Rule 64B16-26.301, an RPh must successfully pass an exam after taking an approved twelve hour course, plus then must work under a preceptor for three consecutive months to be evaluated and assessed (within one year of passing the exam). Additionally, the pharmacist must obtain a minimum of forty training hours, of which sixty percent (60%) must take place onsite at an institutional or hospital pharmacy holding a permit.
– The hospital pharmacy environment is not the “slow paced” job that many of us as pharmacists remember from the “good old days”. Perhaps it really never was. Today’s hospital pharmacy positions are conversely a fast paced work environment that require a high energy level and extended periods of concentration and focus.
– Hospital hours can be a major negative to many RPh’s lifestyles. This is especially true for new employees that are typically hired to work on the “graveyard shift” in order to get a position at a hospital (in order to get their “foot in the door”). Remember that a hospital never closes, even on major holidays (although this is also true for many large chain drug stores as well these days).
– Although you may think that switching from a retail pharmacy job means no longer having to deal with sick patients and difficult customers who are always in a hurry to get their prescriptions, keep in mind that doctors, nurses and other various members of the hospital’s health care team can also sometimes be extremely difficult to deal with.
– Certain hospital pharmacy activities (such as preparing IV solutions, infusions and other sterile medications in a Laminar-Flow Hood) can be very taxing on an individual. Pharmacists who have back pain or problems sometimes find that positions like this are extremely hard to work at for long periods of time.
– Keeping current is hard in clinical settings. Changes in hospital pharmacy occur more quickly than elsewhere. It is essential that the hospital pharmacist continuously read clinical journals, articles and continue getting education and training on a regular basis.
How Can You Prepare To Switch From A Retail To Hospital Pharmacy Job?
For a more in depth discussion of how to get yourself ready to switch from a retail to a hospital pharmacy career, please visit our previous post on Tips for Pharmacists Switching Jobs. Here are some of suggestions that you may want to consider trying:
1. Take or attend a Continuing Education class that covers information in the areas of hospital or clinical settings that may be of interest to you.
2. Attend a hospital pharmacy conference. There are numerous national and state hospital pharmacy organizations that offer annual conferences. Examples include the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP).
3. Do some job “shadowing”. “Test drive” the job before you make a decision to actually switch. Find pharmacists in your area who practice in a hospital setting. See if job “shadowing” is allowed and perhaps spend some time at their place of work to experience what a typical day can look like at their job.
4. Read. Sometimes simply reading about a particular job setting or environment can help you get a better picture of what the job really is all about.
Who Can Help You Make A Switch?
If you are seriously considering making the change from retail or community pharmacy to hospital or institutional pharmacy, HCC can help you to “boost” your chances for success. Healthcare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has been known as a full service pharmacy staffing company since 1989. With all the services that we provide to both pharmacies and pharmacists, it it sometimes easy to overlook the fact the we are one of the nation’s most successful and respected pharmacy staffing, pharmacist recruitment and direct hire firms in the pharmacy employment area. Pharmacy staffing and job placement have been our primary business now for over 28 years. If you are a pharmacist looking to switch to a new position or area of practice, we urge you to talk with us. With positions immediately available, contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started.