Drug Topics' Voices 03-15-2014


They shot back: Responses to Goose Rawlings' "They shoot horses, don't they?"

Not shot yet

Re: “They shoot horses, don’t they?” [Jim “Goose” Rawlings, In My View, February 2014]:

I retired for 30 days at 70. It didn’t take. I’m 83 years old, working one to three days a week. Many places are very happy to have me do relief! It keeps me up on the current drugs, computers, etc. I have worked for various independents, chains, etc. I travel up to 60 miles and get paid mileage. Some of the best times of life, no bills to pay, just get paid for every hour! And no responsibility, GREAT.

I had knee surgery in July 2013 and they could hardly wait to have me back. I have plans to work to 85, all thing OK.

I’m still active in pharmacy: the Iowa Pharmacy Association, the school of pharmacy at Iowa when I can. I’m also very active on different boards in my town of Winterset, Iowa. I’m on the Madison County VA Commission, the Matura Board (a seven-county board), the Madison County Development Board, the Madison County Community Foundation Board, and the Madison County Zoning and Planning Board. I’m an active member of the American Legion and the VFW. I’m also an elder of the First Presbyterian Church. And I still do the timing of the football games.

So - never feel like a dead horse!

Hal Jackson, RPh
Winterset, Iowa


In the past year I went through a situation similar to the one described by Goose Rawlings. We had a new manager start - all of 29 years old - and she wanted all her pharmacists to be PharmDs.

I was in charge of investigational drugs for the hospital and we had over 100 studies running, but I didn’t have a PharmD so she wanted to get rid of me. She just started piling on jobs that had nothing to do with my studies, just to make it where I couldn’t get my job done. Then she would write me up when I couldn’t accomplish everything. In the first 10 months she was there, I let her give me a stress-induced heart attack. I had to get another job in order to get out of that situation.

Thank you for bringing to light the RPh’s plight. I think pharmacists have never been a unified group. I remember when I was a pharmacy student (pre-pharmD) the teachers thought they were so much greater that the BS Pharms. Then when they came up with all PharmD, I thought, how are they
going to differentiate themselves. That is when the residency was born. 

I don’t see any use for me going back to school for a PharmD or a residency.  I would practically be throwing money away. I am definitely on board with Goose; but I don’t know exactly how to make the most impact. Any suggestions?

Name withheld

Cried to see him go

My view of the older generation of pharmacists is very different from that of the student Goose described.

I am part of the younger generation of pharmacists who graduated with my PharmD and in my twenties already moved into a management role. Currently, I am still in management, probably one of the youngest managers of the team. Having that said, I want to add that I value my co-workers highly and constantly ask for feedback or advice from the more experienced managers.

Recently, we had a pharmacist who decided to retire after more than 40 years of service, and we cried when the day came. He made such a contribution to the department in so many ways that I only wish he had chosen to stay with us longer.

It is unfortunate that your student views the older generation so negatively. As you pointed out, one day she will
understand when she is in the same position. But don’t be too upset by her attitude. Many younger pharmacists appreciate the years of knowledge and experience that textbooks or residency can’t provide.

Vivian Young, PharmD
Houston, Texas



Try doing it in heels

I am a 60-year-old pharmacist and agree 100% with Goose’s article.

I have worked in hospital pharmacy for most of my career and have had both physicians and nurses snub me because I don’t have a PharmD after my name. They always asked to speak to the PharmD whenever I answered the phone.

But I have experienced something Goose hasn’t. When I first started practicing in 1976, physicians would ask for the man pharmacist when they wanted information. Think how that made a newly graduated female pharmacist feel.

Also, back then, I respected the older pharmacists and looked up to them for their guidance and expertise. These days the younger pharmacists just don’t seem to care about us, but one day, as Goose said, they will be in our place.

Sandra Propst, RPh
Eastern Shore, Maryland


Get a grip

Goose needs to get a grip. This shouldn’t be personal. Management’s job is to ensure that all staff meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the job, and to take action when they don’t. They need to be “age-blind,” “gender-blind,” and “color-blind” when they evaluate their staff. 

If the old dog pharmacist can’t physically or mentally measure up, it’s bye-bye Old Dog. If he can, then he should go ahead and show them his stuff. 

The alphabet soup after your name only gets you into the interview. After that, it’s how well you can do the job.  I’ve been a pharmacist for 43 years in June (I’ll be 68 this year). Most of those years I’ve been in hospital pharmacy. I also mentor fourth year students and don’t get a dime for it, just like Goose.  We both do it because we see the need and feel the obligation to pass on our knowledge.

We’ll know when it’s time. Good plow horses always do.

John T. Frank, PharmD
Sonora, Calif.


I worked for Rite Aid as a pharmacist and a pharmacy manager of a 24-hour pharmacy for 15 years. I stuck it out with them during those years, all of which were losing years. I was also a preceptor all of that time.  During those years I received the “usual” achievements, even “favorite pharmacist.” However, when I turned 64 years old they showed me the door.

But the way they did it is why I am telling my story. Instead of asking me to step aside so they could make room for a new graduate PharmD, they made false accusations. Rather than fight them, which I knew was fruitless, I left. 

I could have written Goose’s article,  It used to be said, “old pharmacists never die, they work the night shifts.”  Now there aren’t any night shifts. “Old pharmacists” are humiliated, their spirits broken by false accusations, so much so that the misery caused is neglected, with no shots fired.

Jim Ryan, RPh, BS Pharm
Salt Lake City, Utah



Only experience would do

Three years ago, at the age 60, I was chosen for my current position over three younger applicants because of my past experience. I have been a hospital pharmacist (when pharmacy IV production and unit-dose were just coming into vogue), a satellite/clinical pharmacist, a pharmacy owner (16 years), and a chain-store pharmacy manager. This clinic pharmacy needed to be upgraded and the hospital supervisors chose me for the job.

The Affordable Care Act has required this pharmacy to make dramatic changes, and I sometimes wonder how they would have been accomplished without guidance from someone with a broad background of experience.

Employees, budgets, and insurance issues are all important facets of modern pharmacy practice (along with clinical expertise). Asking an inexperienced manager to deal with them could result in a decline in revenue, resulting in fewer jobs for new, highly educated graduates.

I’ve yet to be intimidated by young pharmacists and I enjoy the chance to “educate” them in pharmacy’s past history and practices. Hopefully, they’ll understand that their current practice opportunities are due to past pharmacy practices, just as future pharmacy will build on current practices.

John M. Gagliardi, RPh
Reno, Nev.

McPharmDs face the future

I graduated from The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1966 and will be 71 this March. I have managed a large chain pharmacy, been a staff pharmacist in a hospital, and owned my own pharmacy for 14 years; I have a second career in real estate sales and still do part-time work in a busy independent store.

The problem quickly coming for the younger PharmD crowd is the incredible number of new pharmacists being turned out. There are twice as many pharmacy schools now as there were not too many years ago, all graduating brand-new Doctors of Pharmacy looking for those elusive “clinical” jobs they are trained for.

Most will spend their careers with CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, WalMart, etc., in what I like to call fast-food pharmacy, cranking out scripts as fast as they can.

In spite of that PharmD designation, an experienced 4- or 5-year BSc pharmacist can easily outperform many of the new breed. 

Joe Golesh, RPh 
Mechanicsburg, Penn.

Correction: In the January issue, at the end of “Pharmacy compounding and the potential impact of cGMPs,” the authors’ law firm was misidentified. The correct name of the firm is Alston & Bird. Drug Topics regrets the error.


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