12 steps to a rewarding career in pharmacy


Have a plan, know where you're going, do what it takes to get there. But if you want a rewarding career and a satisfying life, don't forget the bigger picture.

Oluwole WilliamsSound academic knowledge alone may not translate into a successful career in pharmacy. The choices we make and the way we approach our responsibilities are also important factors. As new graduates endeavor to find their footing in the swirling tide of the world’s uncertainties, guidance from experienced colleagues can be invaluable. What follows are some pointers learned from life.

http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drug-topics/news/job-tips-pharmacy-grads-2015See also: Job tips for pharmacy grads, 2015


1. Put your commitment to public service ahead of your desire to make money. As a healthcare professional, you have people’s lives, health, and medication needs in your hands. Your intentions and the spirit behind them will influence your actions and their outcomes.

See also: 10 pieces of unsolicited advice for new pharmacy graduates

2. Do not judge yourself by your GPA. Whether or not it was everything you hoped it would be, it is now behind you. Look toward the opportunities awaiting you in the years ahead and know that with hard work, careful planning, and a consistent professional focus you can achieve your dreams.

3. If your goals are worthy, the sky’s the limit. Rather than engage in workplace competition and occupational attrition, think of what you can do to improve your calling and advance your profession. It will make a difference in where you go and how you get there.


4. Identify a distinct area of pharmacy in which to develop your skills and work toward future goals. Opportunities exists in drug manufacturing; pharmaceuticals wholesaling; overseas career services through organizations such as the WHO; corporate management positions in global companies and in local hospital/community pharmacy services; and medical writing, journalism, academic teaching, and research.

5. Draw up a five-year professional life plan. Some pharmacists with additional degrees in law, medicine, or information management sciences are enjoying their career choices and excelling in their work. Research opportunities abound in the pharmaceuticals industry today, and many schools of pharmacy have research grants for interested faculty members who are willing to work and teach. If you desire a career in community pharmacy practice, consider acquiring clinical certifications in diabetes care, MTM, or anticoagulation therapy consult; or pursue a board certification in ambulatory care pharmacy (BCPS). Choose your goals, set your sights on them, and start moving.

6. Remember that planning is crucial to future success. Choose to keep improving yourself and developing your skills even as you serve the public and take care of its health needs.



7. Choose an employment schedule that gives you the opportunity to think creatively and allows you time for self-development and family involvement. If you choose to pursue an MBA or other degree, part-time positions in the week or week-end-only shifts are a great advantage.

8. Clinical provider services are an increasing part of the work of today’s pharmacists. Be ready to deliver such services as child immunizations, prescribing service in warfarin clinics, and toxicology consults.

9. Watch your spending and invest your income in self-development until your economic circumstances have stabilized.

10. Pay attention to the pharmacy practice laws of your state. Practice regulations vary from state to state. If you work in a mail-order establishment, you also will have to be familiar with laws in the other states where your company does business.

11. Be conversant with PHI and controlled substance regulations. Some things to bear in mind:

  • Controlled substances records must be kept on site for two years.

  • Patient health information should be kept for 10 years.

  • Prescriptions returns for expired C-2 drugs must be forwarded to the local DEA office, with the brown-paper copy 3 retained in the pharmacy inventory records.

  • After consultation with prescribers on Rx scripts for C-2 drugs, pharmacists may legally make certain changes, such as drug strength, quantity, directions for use, and dosage form. Refer to your state law if unsure.

12. As a pharmacy manager you are expected to be honest, trustworthy, and fair in your dealings with staff, suppliers, and members of the public. It is unethical to run down your colleague or disparage any member of your community. Be the type of manager you would want to work with.

Congratulations, and best of luck in your career! You have earned it.

Oluwole Williamspractices pharmacy in the Philadelpha, Penn., area. Contact him at pharmwillie@yahoo.co.uk.

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