Retail Pharmacist to Hospital Pharmacy Job

hospital pharmacyPharmacists are increasingly switching from retail to hospital pharmacy settings over the past five to ten years according to both the US Department of Labor statistics and numerous industry experts. With the COVID-19 pandemic still currently raging out of control in the United States, a the forecast of “doom and gloom” that’s projecting a very scary winter season this year for the pandemic, many healthcare professionals  are “calling it quits” or switching to less stressful jobs according to a new article released by the New York Times yesterday. 

How are US Healthcare Workers Responding to the COVID Pandemic?

Many healthcare workers are simply calling it quits. As an example, thousands of medical offices and practices have closed during the pandemic, according to a survey released by the non-profit group known as the Physicians Foundation.  In a July survey of approximately thirty-five hundred US physicians, eight percent of the doctors reported closing their offices already. An additional four percent responded to the survey saying that they planned to shut their practices down within the next six to twelve months.

The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic On Healthcare Professionals

Many healthcare professionals such as doctors, pharmacists and nurses are retiring early, taking leaves of absence, or simply quitting their jobs. A majority of them worry about their own health because of their age or a medical condition that puts them at high risk, but many are afraid of contracting the virus at work and then spreading it to their family, loved ones and neighbors. Some practitioners stopped practicing during the worst of the outbreaks and now state that they simply don’t have the energy required to start practicing again. Many just needed a break from the stress and death toll that the pandemic has taken among their ranks and their patients.
Another revealing study just released by the  non-profit group Primary Care Collaborative (at the Larry A, Green Center), reported similar results and patterns. Nearly twenty percent of US primary care clinicians surveyed in September reported that someone in their practice plans to retire early or has already retired because of Covid-19, and fifteen percent said that someone has left or has plans to leave the practice.
Pharmacists also painted a grim picture of their lives, as the pandemic entered into a new and robust period resulting in record cases in the United States on a daily basis. Already mentally exhausted, many pharmacists are worried that retail settings may not offer the best solution to their  current and/or future job needs.

Switching From Retail to Hospital Pharmacy

Many retail pharmacists have already switched to hospital pharmacy jobs recently. Hospital pharmacists decades ago were paid salaries that were lower compared to salaries for retail, community , independent and chain store pharmacists. Now studies show that the reverse of this is true. Taking into consideration longevity of being in a position, geographical considerations and the nature of the pharmacy position and duties being performed by the pharmacist on staff, hospital pharmacy salaries now surpass those of most retail positions. Additionally, hospital pharmacies offer a wide range of possibilities for advancement that cannot be found in most community retail pharmacy environments.

Are you a retail or community pharmacist thinking about switching to a hospital pharmacy position? Healthcare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing can help you! Hospital pharmacy positions comprise between 15 -20% of all available practicing pharmacy jobs these days, but making the switch can be challenging. Transferring from being a retail or community druggist to a position in a hospital setting can be a major challenge even for well qualified pharmacists. Hospital pharmacy has become a very competitive portion of pharmacy staffing positions and transferring from the retail community pharmacy environment to the hospital sector can therefore present numerous challenges for pharmacists. Mary Evans, Chief Pharmacist at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, is involved in the recruitment of senior hospital Pharmacy staff, and has seen the process change over the years. “If you go back ten years or so, most hospitals had some pharmacists in dispensing roles, so community pharmacists could move more easily into a dispensary pharmacist or dispensary manager role,” she says, “but now that route no longer exists because dispensing has become more technician-led.” Keep in mind that as a community pharmacist you do possess skills that many hospital pharmacists lack. These are basically patient centered consultation and customer oriented experience that many hospital pharmacists do not have. Customer service skills and consulting with patients regarding their medications and needs are being valued as important skills in a hospital pharmacy role and most community pharmacists have the experience and skill set required. As noted in The Pharmaceutical Journal, “Hospital pharmacists tend not to be as good at those skills, especially those in junior roles. Hospital pharmacists can get distracted by drug charts, patient notes and so on, and can avoid talking to patients if they are nervous of it, so can lack patient-facing experience, which community pharmacists do have. Confidence is the thing”.

Tips for Transitioning to Hospital Pharmacy From Retail

A “quick” list of some tips and things that a pharmacist should consider before making the Retail to Hospital Pharmacist transition include:

  1. Hospital Pharmacy is a “fast paced environment”. It may not be the slow paced environment that many of us remember from the “old days”.
  2. Although you may not have to deal with “difficult” customers, keep in mind that doctors and nurses can also sometimes be difficult to deal with.
  3. Compounding medications is a skill that is taxing on an individual. Many pharmacists do not realize the physical nature of mixing injectables in a Laminar Flow Hood. Pharmacists with back problems may find this a major negative.
  4. The hours can be a negative (especially if you are the “newbie” and hired for the infamous “graveyard shift”). Hospitals never close, even on holidays. That means 24/7/365!
  5. Keeping up on your clinical knowledge is a must! Changes in hospital pharmacy occur more quickly than elsewhere. It is essential that the hospital pharmacist continuously read clinical journals and articles on a regular basis.

Who Can Help You Switch From Retail to Hospital Pharmacy?

If you are seriously considering making the change from retail or community pharmacy to hospital 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 is sometimes easy to overlook the fact the we are one of the nation’s most successful and respected Pharmacy staffing and placement firms in the pharmacy employment area. Pharmacy staffing and job placement are our primary business now for over 31+ years now. If you are a pharmacist looking for a new position, we urge you to talk with us. With placement positions immediately available, contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started.


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