How to find satisfaction and reward in your pharmacy career


There are so many opportunities for pharmacists out there. Technology can help uncover them, and we can follow them to a fulfilling career.

Peter A. Kreckel, RPhMy first college class was in Pre-Pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1976. The class was English Comp-I, taught by the delightful and energetic Mrs. Joan Smith. When she asked us to write an essay about anything, I wrote about my grandfather Joe, a consummate storyteller. At his knee I learned the values of working hard, being faithful, and most of all, being thankful for one’s blessings.

See also: Four people, a dozen pharmacy careers

Mrs. Smith loved my essay - and the ones that followed. She always commented that my essays were so personal, she felt as though she were sitting right beside me.

I got an A in her class.

Next semester, all confident from my success, I enrolled in English Comp-II. This time I had Mr. Paul Mormack, who read a couple of my essays and wrote, “Peter, this is all bullsh*t - you are not a writer, you are a storyteller.”

He went on to say that “you can’t compose, you just write down stuff as if you were saying it.”

Looked at either way, it was pretty clear where I was headed.


Just saying

I didn’t inherit my Grandpa Joe’s blue eyes, thin frame, or the callouses on his hands, but I did inherit his ability to tell stories. I’ve written down many stories for future generations of our family; I describe them as somewhere between the whole truth and Aesop’s fables, stories meant to teach a lesson or to share the passion of the teller.

You can read the outline of my professional life in last month’s column [“Four people, a dozen pharmacy careers,” May 2016]. Basically, I’m a very regular guy who works on the bench, as we seasoned pharmacists call it.

I’ve been blessed with many opportunities throughout my career. Truth is, every opportunity has called for a large dose of self-sacrifice, which has paid off very handsomely for me, if not necessarily always in a financial way.

Can you imagine going to work every morning with a smile on your face, facing a very busy day but getting satisfaction from the fact that you have the opportunity to do your very best?

A dime for every dollar

With this column, I hope to share stories from my 35-year career. I started out as a very dissatisfied chain pharmacist. Today I have an amazing employer who makes it possible for me to work in a physician’s office; to write a weekly clinical column for our warehouse, Value Drug; to teach in a physician assistant program; and to precept students for Pitt and Duquesne. Oh, and I work for, an opportunity that grew out of my lecturing at St. Francis University. I’m blessed.


The purpose of this column is not to pontificate, or even worse brag, but to share some things I’ve learned about how we can achieve satisfaction in the profession of pharmacy, yes, even today.

There are so many opportunities out there. Technology can help us uncover them, and we can follow them to a fulfilling career.

I firmly believe that the sacrifices I have made - whether packing my student pharmacist’s lunch in the morning or writing a column like this one - have always led to personal satisfaction. I’ve found out that every time I give away a dime, I get a dollar back.

Stick around

There’s a lot I look forward to sharing. I remember all the changes and challenges this profession has seen since I turned on my IBM Selectric typewriter in 1981. I look forward to talking with you about all of them, good and bad alike.

One thing has not changed - our desire to take care of patients and to contribute to this amazing profession.

So with a nod to Mr. Mormack, the teacher who told me I’m just a storyteller, and to Mrs. Smith, who loved my stories, I look forward to beginning this round of story-telling. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Pete Kreckel practices independent community pharmacy in Altoona, Penn. He welcomes your e-mail at

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