Pharmacists, can I get a witness?


There is no testimony without tests. How are we handling ours?

Jim RawlingsEveryone who writes does it for a reason, and I am no exception. I have several reasons, most of which I will keep to myself, but I have one that makes me continue to write. Here it is.

I just like the feedback I get from older, more “seasoned” pharmacists.

Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the input and feedback I get from everyone, not only the older pharmacists. It’s just that what I hear from MY generation means the most to me. The kids have something to say for sure, but they don’t have the props the older folks do.

Many of the issues in pharmacy that the under-30 crowd is currently dealing with are not new; we Baby Boomers have been dealing with them for years. The one big exception is the current cost of a pharmacy education - and, to some extent, the definition of what that really is.

However, kiddos, let’s be honest. No one forced you to enroll in pharmacy school and absorb a tremendous amount of long-term debt.  No one is forcing you to do a residency either. Make no mistake. Mr. or Ms. Newly Graduated Pharmacist, that’s all on you. Maybe you made a bad deal and maybe you didn’t. Only time will tell. When you are 23 or 24 years old, you really don’t have a lot of perspective. A lot of your future depends on you. Nothing is a given anymore.


From the inbox

Last week I received several e-mails, and two really stood out. One, sent by an older female pharmacist, basically said, “I have always practiced pharmacy the way I thought I should.” She said that she had always counseled patients, even when management discouraged the practice. This pharmacist brought in her own chair to use for a sit-down break during long shifts, and she took a few minutes to eat her lunch.

She has had her battles with management for sure, but she did her job and stuck to her guns, and guess what? She has been continually employed and has maintained her professionalism and pride. I enjoyed hearing from someone who is coping with the pressures of pharmacy and who seems really content.

The next e-mail was from a younger correspondent, a new pharmacy-school graduate. I cannot be sure that it was legitimate, but if it was, it was disturbing. It painted a dark picture of pharmacist job offers of less than 10 bucks an hour in the New York City area and confrontations with his pharmacy school over what he is starting to see as a bad career choice. It provided a glimpse of a young man who may be out of control - a person with limited options, who might do something desperate that he would come to regret later.


How about you?

I know that most Drug Topics readers are somewhere in the middle, between these two people. You may have a well-paid job that you perform under bad working conditions. You have student loans, mortgages, and car payments. You are under a considerable amount of pressure and are concerned about your future. You just want to do your job and be recognized for what your do, because you could be doing so much more. However, you never get the chance, and you’re frustrated.

As some of my pastor friends would say, Brothers and Sisters, there is no testimony without a test.

If you have not been tested, your testimony is more part of the problem than part of the solution. Work on what you can control, and try to minimize what you can’t. Be a positive influence on the profession. Let’s support each other, even when we don’t always agree.

When you hit the front door of wherever you work every day, decide that you’re going to practice pharmacy and make a difference in the lives of all those you meet. That is what will save the profession. It is also what will save you.

To everyone who reads, please keep responding and I’ll continue to write. We’re all in this together.

Peace out,


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