A Career Beyond the Counter:

A Career Beyond the Counter:

My experience transitioning from retail pharmacy to the corporate world

 

By Ursula Chizhik VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, FLAVORx

 

I was a retail pharmacist for 11 years before joining the FLAVORx team.  Never in my life did I envision myself working in a corporate setting, where I would be sitting in my very own office, wearing a nice outfit with high heel shoes, taking a lunch break, and working less than 12 hours standing on my feet! I was so used to a lab coat, my comfortable Clarks clogs, eating quickly while standing, and arriving and leaving the pharmacy when it was dark outside- That’s simply what I thought the life of a retail pharmacist was destined to be.  But that all changed when I called FLAVORx out of the blue and asked if they needed a pharmacist on staff.

There was no job posting, only my desire to seek out a new opportunity and my familiarity with the company name, since I used to flavor prescriptions when I was a pharmacist. I was ready for a change and while I didn’t know exactly what I had to offer to FLAVORx, I knew I was a dedicated pharmacist with a lot of experience and, surely, I could bring something valuable to the table.

Fast forward 7 years and I can tell you I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  I love my job and the fact that I can integrate my many years of practical pharmacy experience to bring an element of “real world pharmacy” to the company I work for and the people I work with.  I know what it’s like to be a pharmacy student.  I have experienced the peaks and valleys of being a pharmacist behind the counter.  I tap into those experiences every day as we discuss effective ways to reach out to pharmacy students, encourage technicians, and connect with pharmacists and other health care providers.

Working for a small business, I feel especially valued and valuable for the credentials I’ve earned and the experiences I’ve gained, which is tremendously rewarding and a big difference from some of the retail pharmacy jobs I held.

As some of you may be considering a career move at some point in your future, I thought it would be helpful to share a few things that I learned after getting out from behind the counter:

Time management-

This was probably the biggest adjustment for me during my transition from retail pharmacist to business person.  In the pharmacy setting, everything has a sense of urgency. We need to get prescriptions ready quickly and patients out the door as soon as possible, if we want to keep customers happy. This fast pace was simply an integral part of the job.  On the contrary, in the office setting, I feel like you are constantly waiting for someone to respond to an email, a unanimous decision to be made, a delivery to arrive, a colleague to do their job.  This waiting game is quite different from the constant scrambling and running around at the pharmacy, but most of the time this is a welcome change.

Meetings-

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Business people like to spend a lot of time talking about ideas- collaborating or brainstorming as they call it. While in theory it seems like a great idea to get a group of bright people in a room to determine the next big thing for your company, the next direction, the next initiative, there is generally more discussion than decision-making!  Although if you have a meeting that runs into lunchtime, there will likely be a free food!

Personalities-

Just like in every work environment, you must learn to deal with many different personalities. Although, behind the counter you are typically dealing with people of the same educational background- all pharmacists and technicians who speak the pharmacy language. In a business setting, you are dealing with a variety of people from broad educational backgrounds that do not speak the same language.  At any given moment, you may find yourself working with the sales team, the marketing team, the finance team, the engineering team, and maybe even the CEO. Needless to say, every individual or team has their own perspective and priorities, which don’t always align. I’ve learned that you can’t always make everyone happy, so its best to stay in your lane, but remain open minded and flexible.

My role at FLAVORx has evolved over the years, and with every passing year, I have taken on more responsibilities and have truly enjoyed the opportunity to create such a unique, flexible, and rewarding job that works for me and my family. Best of all, working at a company like FLAVORx allows me to still be part of the pharmacy world, even though I am no longer in a traditional pharmacy setting. If anyone is considering a career beyond the pharmacy counter, I would be more than happy to give you some advice. Feel free to email me or connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

A Day In the Life of an Academic Pharmacist

A Day In the Life of an Academic Pharmacist

I recall sitting in a therapeutics lecture as a pharmacy student thinking my professor had it easy.  She showed up to lecture for a few hours each week, a handful of weeks each year—she could spend the rest of her time preparing lectures. I honestly thought that was all she did until I completed an APPE rotation with her and realized she had a practice site with responsibilities to the site, committee work, research, service, student mentoring and teaching outside of the College of Pharmacy.

 

She stayed busy, but seemed fulfilled by her career and autonomy. This experience influenced my decision to pursue academia as a career after I completed my PGY1/PGY2 Pharmacotherapy residency training. I stayed with Idaho State University in Pocatello, taking a clinical assistant professor position with dual appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the College of Pharmacy.

 

My position is somewhat of a unicorn in the academia world because I primarily train physician and pharmacy residents on our inpatient medicine service as opposed to focused teaching of pharmacy students. Though residents are my main learners, I do take students on APPE rotations, facilitate labs, case studies and small group discussions and lecture to other learners across campus.

 

Here’s a glimpse into my typical day:

 

5:50 am: Alarm goes off. Let’s be honest, I’ll snooze until at least 6:00. Shower, get dressed, do my hair (top knot or pony) and makeup. Dry shampoo is my best friend! Husband leaves for work around 6:15 today. He’s a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery, so his surgery days are my solo mornings.

 

6:40 am: Eat breakfast and get the girls (3 year-old and 9 month-old) up and dressed. Pack my bags—pump bag, computer bag, lunch bag, diapers and wipes for the baby and swimsuit and towel for the 3 year old’s water day. It’s a miracle I don’t forget anything.

 

7:30 am: Leave the house. My girls go to two different daycare facilities because of age restrictions. Can’t wait until the baby is one! Drop-offs go smoothly so I make it to work by 8 am.

 

8:00 am – 9:15 am: Spend an hour answering emails—So. Many. Emails!  Questions from a speaker for the Idaho Society of Health-System Pharmacist’s Fall Conference (I’m the Education Chair), set up an appointment with my research student, and then address a conflict with the residents schedules. Finally, I take a few minutes to update my ever-expanding to-do list. Sometimes I wish I could start all over with a brand-new email address. And share it selectively.

 

9:15 am: Pump break—I’m lucky enough to have a designated room with a comfy chair, a sink to clean my supplies and freezer to store the loot.

 

9:30 am: Drive to the hospital to precept patient care plans with the pharmacy resident.

 

9:40 am: Take the stairs to the 4th floor—have to fit exercise in somewhere!

 

9:45 am: Catch my breath enough to precept patients with the PGY1 resident. He presents a brief subjective and objective history followed by assessment and plan for relevant medication related problems. We discuss his plan for the most critical patients. I ask questions and assign readings.

 

10:30 am: Rounds start (mostly) on time today. I make a point to listen closely and review patient charts as we go because—brand new medical interns. Need I say more? Although I start to wonder if it’s the third-year medical residents I need to worry about after this interaction:

 

Dr. U (R3): “Problem number one sepsis, secondary to cellulitis of the leg. Patient also has a hematoma of the same leg from a recent fall.”

 

Me: “What is your plan for the patients’ antibiotics? She currently has daptomycin and vancomycin ordered.”

 

Dr. U (R3): **Looking lost** “Uhhhhh”

 

Me: “Would you like to continue both the vancomycin and the daptomycin?”

 

Me: *in my mind* Please say no, please say no, please sa—

 

Dr. U: “Yes! Because it will be awhile before the vancomycin level is therapeutic so I’d like to make sure patient is covered with the daptomycin in the meantime.”

 

Me: *long blink* “Okaaaay. Well, let’s pause there for a second. Help me understand this infection a little better.”

 

I fire off questions about the patient such as…”She has a cellulitis? How big is the cellulitis? Do you suspect infection in the proximal hematoma—like an abscess? No? Okay, do you think this isn’t a strep cellulitis? How’s her renal function? Do you suspect MRSA?”

 

Me: “Okay, so you don’t have any reason to believe this is MRSA. What regimen would you send this patient home on, maybe that will help us narrow our coverage?”

 

Dr. U (R3)- “Well I’d just keep the IV vanco and continue oral vanco when she goes home.”

 

Me: *loooooong blink* try not to laugh, yell or cry. “Okay, let’s talk about that for a minute…”

 

11:20 am: We pause rounds so my PGY1 resident can teach the team about anticoagulation—his first team teaching moment of the residency year. The sympathy nerves get to me and I spend the first 30 seconds freaking out for him—totally unwarranted because he nails it. Relevant information and an engaging teaching style—tough skills to teach. I almost cry happy tears. The residency year just got a lot easier!

 

11:26 am: Phone vibrates with this message from our attending physician—“Your resident is a fantastic teacher!

 

11:40 am- Leave rounds a little early to swing by daycare and nurse the baby before her nap. So glad I live and work in a 10-minute radius.

 

12:05 pm- Head back to my office on campus. I’m teaching at the Noon Conference—Prescribing Pearls—to the family medicine residents today. I target my content towards our new family medicine interns. Many have never written a prescription…or learned how to write one in medical school, for that matter. To put it kindly—they’re clueless. I cover the basics of prescription writing—legal requirements versus good practice, ISMP abbreviations to avoid, etc. I also share prescribing tips like asking about refills at each appointment, canceling old prescriptions with the pharmacy, and including an indication as part of the sig.

 

I love giving this didactic every year. I get to teach them the basics of the pharmacy world and feel like a genius because it’s all “new” to them. Conversation surrounding our last topic of the hour—legal and ethical considerations of prescribing for self, family and friends—gets heated. This is my first year including this subject and I’m shocked by some of the reactions. When the presentation is over, I take notes on how it went and changes needed for next year.

 

1:15 pm: Eat a quick lunch—leftover burrito bowls from dinner the night before—while I answer a few more emails.

 

1:30 pm: Meet with a P3 pharmacy student doing a research elective with me. We plan to survey community health workers about how they help with medications and their training to do so. This student is a Rockstar. She owns her project. I spend the hour helping her edit the survey. We make a few changes to our Institutional Review Board form before submitting.

 

2:30 pm: Try to tackle a few items on the to-do list. I make it through what feels like never-ending resident evaluations in PharmAcademic, update my lecture for the following week, and coordinate with speakers for the ISHP Fall Meeting.

 

3:30 pm: Another pump break.

 

3:50 pm: Back to work on the to-do list.

 

4:10 pm: One of my PGY2 Pharmacotherapy residents drops by to discuss a patient case. The patient was bridged with enoxaparin perioperatively and just saw her surgeon complaining of calf pain.  My poor resident is devastated that the patient may have a clot. Another preceptor and I review the course of therapy with the resident and determine there was nothing that should’ve been done differently. We explain that medicine isn’t foolproof, secondary prevention isn’t guaranteed and sometimes the worst outcome happens even when we do everything correctly.

 

4:40 pm: Engage in a philosophical discussion on the future of the pharmacy with my office mate—an almost daily occurrence for us. We ponder the effects of Amazon’s purchase of Pillpack on community pharmacy, whether I should encourage or discourage my brother from pursuing pharmacy, and if provider status is really necessary (sacrilege, I know!).

 

5:00 pm: Leave to get the girls from daycare. I pick up the 3 year old first. I’ve inadvertently trained her to ask “what you brought me?” when I pick her up every day, and today is no different. I let her choose a fruit leather flavor and she asks me to open it, which I do. She cries because I didn’t open it the “right way like daddy does it”. It’s a no-win situation.

 

5:30 pm: Arrive at home to an apron-clad husband pulling salmon off the Traeger. Dinner is ready! I love it when he beats me home.

 

6:30 pm: Clean up dinner, bathe the babes, jammies, prayers and bedtime stories. Husband takes the three year-old while I put the baby to sleep.

 

7:30 pm: Crack open the email from our ASHP Accreditation Site Surveyor and get to work on collecting documents for our upcoming site visit. I try not to work at home when I can help it. I’m successful most nights—tonight isn’t one of them.

 

9:00 pm: Think about exercising, but go for a bowl of sherbet instead. Veg on the couch reading a book.

 

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed and hit the hay so I can do it all over again tomorrow!

 

I’ve discovered many hidden rewards in teaching—and encountered so many challenges. Some days I feel like a well-paid babysitter. I hate those days! Some days seeing my learners succeed makes me proud enough to share their success with the mailman. I love those days! Most days fall somewhere in between. Each one varies—different learners, different responsibilities, different challenges and different successes. And that’s why I love it!

 

 

Kasidy McKay, PharmD, BCPS

Clinical Assistant Professor

Idaho State University

mckakasi@isu.edu

 

Happy Women Pharmacist Day! #womenpharmacistday

 

In 2013, Harvard Economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz published a paper which showed that the pharmacy profession was one of the few healthcare professions to have an equal representation of men and women. Gardner and Stowe reported that in 1992-93, female pharmacists comprised only 26% of faculty at pharmacy schools. Today women make up the majority of faculty, students and practicing pharmacists.  Remember that scene in the movie “‘Dead Poets Society’ where Robin Williams shows the students photos of past graduates from decades earlier. It reminded me when I was a student, walking down the halls of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy and seeing the rows and rows of photographs of UIC alumni who had once been in my shoes. But unlike the students in the movie, I couldn’t see myself in all of the photos specifically because the early ones were mostly men. Things have certainly changed.

 

October 12, 2018 will be the first time we celebrate and recognize #WomenPharmacistDay (WPD).  WPD is about honoring and acknowledging the strides we have made as women in pharmacy. It is also a day to remember the pioneers in the field that paved the way.  Women like Elizabeth Gooking Greenleaf, who is recognized as the first female pharmacist in the US who had 12 children (hence October 12)! Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi who was the first woman to graduate from a school of pharmacy in the US, and Margaret Cornelius “Cora” Dow who was the first female pharmacist to own a chain of pharmacies (11 in total). Zada Mary Cooper is known as the “grand and glorious lady of pharmacy”, and Mary Munson Runge was the first female president of a national pharmacy organization. Each and everyday women pharmacists help advance the practice of pharmacy and science and as a result, change lives. WPD is about recognizing what we as women have accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

 

Today, I encourage everyone to celebrate Women Pharmacists! The celebration is long overdue, and I am so happy that it is finally here. Thank you to all of the pharmacy influencers and to our corporate sponsor, Cardinal Health, for supporting WPD and making this day possible.

 

HAPPY FIRST WOMEN PHARMACIST DAY TO MY TRIBE #RXMOMS AND TO ALL WOMEN PHARMACISTS!

 

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS

Founder, Pharmacist Moms Group

www.pharmacistmomsgroup.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pharmacistmomsgroup/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suzyatpharmacistmoms/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smsoliman1

3 Fun Activities for your Kids that are Budget Friendly

3 Fun Activities for your Kids that are Budget Friendly

By Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

Freelance writer

 

Whether you are a new or seasoned Mom, it can sometimes be a daunting task to find fun, budget friendly activities for your kids.  I’d like to provide some useful tips and activity ideas for different weather situations that can be fun for the whole family.  These tips are great for both working and stay at home Moms, as there are events during the week and weekends.

Here are 3 fun activities for your kids that are budget friendly:

  1. Library events

One of the best places to find events is right at your local library!  Libraries also have great activities in the children’s section including puzzles, books, and computer games.  It is a great way to stay active during the hot summer or cold weather.  Check out the events online or on their Facebook page to find out the latest happenings.  These free events are great for the whole family.  With Halloween coming up, many libraries have costume parties, special themed story times, and trick-or- treating.  Story time activities are great, and libraries generally have them for different age groups ranging from newborn through preschool age.  Other library events include board games, open play, music and dance programs, and writing classes.  Sometimes pre-registration with your library card is required prior to the events.

 

  1. Parks

Check out your local parks when the weather is nice for outdoor activities!  With slides and more these are great free activities for your kids that will help keep them active.  Many parks also have splash areas for the kids to enjoy so feel free to bring your bathing suits!  Like the Facebook pages to check out different park events.  There may be holiday themed events that are free or have a nominal fee.  Some parks also have community centers with science museums and theaters that have great family shows.  Food trucks have become the latest trend at parks, so you can make it a family night out and not have to worry about dinner.  Food truck prices generally range from $5-$10 per food item or you can bring your own snacks to enjoy at the park.  Many parks also have free concerts with great music during the food truck events.

 

  1. Indoor playgrounds and gyms

Indoor playgrounds and gyms have become the latest trend for kids.  This is a great way for kids to stay active when outdoor activities are out of the question due to bad weather.  The fee is generally $10-$20 per child with a discount for siblings, and adults are usually free.  Many facilities have wrist bands for the adults and children with numbers that match and are checked upon leaving for added security.  Indoor playgrounds will usually include access for the full day so you can stay for 1 hour or until closing!  The facilities may also have mommy and me classes.  Take it from me if you have little ones the adults will feel more tired than the kids after leaving!  Adults can have fun too and participate in all of the activities with their kids, and there are also areas to sit and relax.  These facilities usually have shoes off and socks on policies so be sure to pack socks for you and your kids!  Ask about discounts for teachers, healthcare professionals, and military as many offer special deals.  Also, you may be able to purchase a package of admissions at a discount that can also include free sessions if you plan to go frequently.  Be sure to also like the Facebook page, as some places offer discounts on certain days if you provide a special code or word of the day.

 

Good luck on your search for activities!

Keto Diet…What It Is and Benefits

The ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

When you’re body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which become the main energy source for the body.The ketogenic diet is also referred to as keto (key-toe) diet, low carb diet, and low carb high fat (LCHF).


So why is it so popular and taking the world by storm?
Because it completely reverses how your body functions (in a good way) along with changing how you view nutrition.It’s based around the premise that your body was designed to run more efficiently as a fat burner than a sugar burner.

Fat Burner vs Sugar Burner
When you eat something that is high in carbs (that yummy donut), your body will produce glucose and insulin.Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that is why it’s the preferred energy source for your body.Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by transporting it around your body.


This sounds pretty efficient, right? The problem with this is that when glucose is used as a primary energy source, fats are not needed for energy and therefore are stored.With the MAD (modern American diet)  glucose is the main energy source.This initially doesn’t seem like a problem until you realize that the body can’t store that much glucose. This becomes an issue because the extra glucose gets converted into fat which is then stored.

Because your body uses glucose as its main energy source the glucose that is converted into fat doesn’t get used.When your body runs out of glucose it tells your brain you need more so you end up reaching for a quick snack like a candy bar or some chips.You can begin to see how this cycle leads to building up a body that you don’t really want.

The alternative is to become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.When you lower your intake of carbs, the body begins to look for an alternative energy source and your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis.Ketosis is a natural process and makes perfect sense when you think about the human body.

 

You’ve probably heard of the fact that you can go weeks without food but only a couple of days without water.The reason for this is ketosis. Most people have enough fat stored on them to fuel their body for a while.When your body is in a state of ketosis, it produces ketones. Ketones occur from the breakdown of fat in the liver.


You might be thinking why isn’t the body constantly breakdown fats in the liver? Well, when your body is producing insulin, the insulin prevents the fat cells from entering the bloodstream so they stay stored in the body.When you lower your carb intake, glucose levels, along with blood sugar levels, drop which in turn lowers insulin levels.This allows the fat cells to release the water they are storing (it’s why you first see a drop in water weight) and then the fat cells are able to enter the bloodstream and head to the liver.This is the end goal of the keto diet. You don’t enter ketosis by starving your body. You enter ketosis by starving your body of carbohydrates.

When your body is producing optimal ketone levels you begin to notice many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.


Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

When people say that the keto diet changed their life they are not exaggerating. I personally have not only released a significant amount of weight but my A1C decreased from 8.6 to 7.0 in 4 months! I have been able to share this information with some of my patients that have also helped to benefit their health. That is what is so exciting to me!


When you decide to switch over to the ketogenic diet, you quickly realize that it is more than just a diet.It’s a completely new lifestyle that offers numerous benefits which could include the following:

  • Weight Loss
  • Control Blood Sugar
  • Mental Focus
  • Increase in Energy
  • Better Appetite control
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • Acne reduction

 

In this series of articles we will discuss in detail how these benefits are derived from the Ketogenic diet, what the Ketogenic lifestyle is not and the basics of eating for the Ketogenic lifestyle, how do you start the Ketogenic lifestyle, and the Ketogenic lifestyle and Intermittent fasting.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me

 

Angela Orr

207-468-3475

 

Why in the World Would a Pharmacist Join a MLM Company?

Why in the World Would a Pharmacist Join a MLM Company? 

By Jessica Jones

I have been asked often by colleagues why I decided to join a Multilevel Marketing Company (MLM) after earning a doctorate in pharmacy. To many of my pharmacy friends, it seems silly knowing how hard we have worked and how many hours we gave up by studying for so many years to become a pharmacist. I was actually one of the ones that thought it was silly before I realized how smart of a business plan MLM really is.

 

I remember rolling my eyes and thinking I was too good to join a MLM business as my friend was telling me about how it had changed her life. To be honest, I thought MLM was a “bad word” associated with a pyramid scheme. That was such a crazy assumption, and I was uneducated at the time on just how MLM works and how smart it is if you want to make an extra stream of income or BIG money!

 

I decided to look into it because I never turn down any opportunity without knowing what I’m saying no to. We are pharmacist, we like to do our research, right? I also read an article on the tax write offs you have if filing a 1099 compared to a W2! Have you ever looked at how many deductions you can take from having your own business? It’s pretty fantastic! I do not have enough time to write about it here, but you HAVE to look it up! After my extensive research, I decided to join the MLM business my friend had been so excited about!! Initially, it was for the extensive tax write offs and a discount on the products that I already absolutely loved! I soon realized that others loved the products too, and so my little side business started to grow.

 

I had no intention to stop working as a full-time pharmacist. I LOVE being a pharmacist! My intentions were to make an extra stream of income to pay off student loans early, go on more vacations, buy a bigger and safer car and start a college fund for my twins. That sounds like a pretty good goal, right?

 

However, just a couple of weeks after joining the business, I found out the pharmacy I was working for full time was going to close down and I would need to look for another job.  At that time, I had already received my very first 2 paychecks from my new MLM business and paid my mortgage payment with that! I was surprised to say the least! With that in mind, I decided to stay home and only work 2 days a week (12 hours total) as a Consulting MTM Pharmacist and work my new MLM business the rest of the time around my 2-year-old twins.

 

 

Our life looks so much different from when I began my journey! I have been home with my babies for over a year now and I am so very grateful! I am grateful that I stopped rolling my eyes and thinking I was too good for this incredibly smart business which opened up so many more opportunities for me.

I decided to write on this subject because I know so many others that think the same way I did before and could definitely benefit from the extra paycheck each month. If you want an extra stream of income to pay off student loans early, go on more vacations, buy a car, pay for soccer lessons, dance lessons or daycare, then don’t roll your eyes like I did and open your mind. 🙂 It really is a smart business decision!

Jess

http://jessicajones1.com/

Tiny Changes That Can Make You a More Fulfilled Pharmacist

Pharmacy students, I love them!! They have such a joy about them as they look forward to graduation and becoming pharmacists. They look forward to the patient interaction, making a difference in patient’s lives and empowering patients to lead healthier lifestyles. I have had the pleasure of being a preceptor for many years now. After graduation, there is sometimes a slow shift from the attitude of joy to frustration.

While most pharmacists still love their career, it is not unusual to hear chatter about insurance claims, grumpy patients and irresponsible doctor’s offices. When and how does this shift happen? Pharmacists have demanding jobs and one can easily get caught up in the the busy work of the profession and let it consume our day. One way to get through a difficult day is to turn your thoughts around. Go from thinking how tired you are on your twelve hour shift to how you brought a smile to Mrs. Smith’s face and brightened her morning. Do not concentrate on how frustrated you are with a prior authorization claim but think about how you taught Mr. Smith how to organize his medications. Now he is more compliant and having better outcomes with his medications. Turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts can be the difference between having a good day or a bad day.

When you can’t change a certain situation, the best thing to change is a certain someone. Yourself! The attributes that you want to be known for in the pharmacy are often the characteristics you want to be known for in your everyday life. What qualities do you want to be known for as a pharmacist? You can be kind, friendly, resourceful, content, caring, inspiring. Of course we are pharmacists, but the title is so much more. What standards represent you and would make you feel more complete and satisfied with your day in the pharmacy? What would you like to be known for from your patients, coworkers and other pharmacy staff? You can be whomever you choose to be! So just go out and be YOU!

As pharmacists, we are constantly giving to others. We are also required to multitask frequently throughout the day. The career not only requires physical stamina for the long shifts but complete focus on error prevention. Take time for yourself on your days off. There is no need to feel guilty about self-care. You can”t give from an empty vessel and that includes not only giving back to your patients but also to your family and friends. Be sure to take time to rest, take a walk, meditate, read a book, get fresh air, write in a gratitude journal. Taking care of yourself allows for change to manifest in your life. Take care of yourself because although this may sound cliché, you are worth it!

While pharmacy can be a very difficult and trying career it is also a very fulfilling career. When you take the time to turn your thoughts around, be all you want to be and fit in occasions for self-care you will feel more satisfied with your days at the pharmacy. These are all factors that contribute to having the rewarding pharmacy career that you deserve!

 

Written by: Lisa King, RPh

The Importance of a Pharmacist’s Resume

 

We have all heard the stories of the current oversaturation of pharmacists. This is due to multiple
reasons including; the opening of more pharmacy schools each year, increasing pharmacy class
sizes, and chain pharmacies cutting hours due to poor reimbursement rates. One thing is for sure-
its a tough market if you are on a job hunt. Long gone are the days of being hired from a phone
interview alone or the large sign-on bonuses. It’s simply a supply and demand issue, and
pharmacists are no longer in the driver’s seat.

In my opinion, there are two ways to get a job: 1) know someone or 2) have an incredible resume.
The best way to get a job is to know someone through networking where you can get an internal
referral. You still need a resume or a CV, but your referral from a trusted employee is going to mean
more than your resume, and your resume becomes a formality. Now if you don’t know someone, you
better have an amazing resume so you can get that interview. If you don’t have either, your chances
are pretty slim.

So, what makes a great resume? Glad you asked. There are lots of opinions and ‘experts’ on this
subject. What isn’t so commonly covered is what makes a great pharmacist resume? There are
three major components that make a pharmacist’s resume great: content, organization, and format. I
will discuss each of them.

Let’s start with content. Pharmacists have many achievements and accomplishments. What I
typically see in a resume is responsibilities. “Responsible for…” is a very passive phrase and doesn’t
show what you have achieved while being responsible. For instance, you are ‘responsible for’
maintaining inventory as a pharmacy manager. I bet you are constantly monitoring your inventory
and trying to reduce your carrying costs. By writing “Reduced pharmacy inventory from a 5 week
supply to a 2 week supply,” it paints a much larger picture of what you actually did. It also leads to
some great conversations during an interview. Remember that you not only want to leave a lasting
impression on the hiring manager, but you also want to make them realize that you can solve their
problems. Show the problems you have solved at your positions, and they will believe that you can
do that for them in the future. You are creating value for yourself as an employee. You are saying,
“Hire me! I can reduce your inventory and improve your bottom line.” You can do this for every point
on your resume. Use numbers and metrics where you can, and don’t be vague.

Work backwards. When you find a position that you want to apply for. Read the job posting and
description carefully. Read between the lines. What is important to the company? Can you figure out
what the main purpose of the position is? Now, is your resume aligned to match up with that
position? I frequently see pharmacists leaving off mundane day to day duties such as dispensing,
counseling, collaborating with prescribers, and supervising technicians. Just because it’s obvious
doesn’t mean you need to leave that off your resume. You want to make it through the ATS
(Applicant Tracking System) to get you to the interview. When companies use ATS, the software
program helps organize, weed out, and suggest potential candidates for an interview. If your resume
lacks the key words needed for the position, you will fall well below the threshold to even be
considered a good candidate.

 

Organization is also very important in a resume. We see so many pharmacists who put sections of
their resume in wrong places on the document. Even if you make it through the ATS, a real person
doesn’t actually spend much time scanning each resume for candidacy, so information placement is
key. Real estate is all about location, location, location and your resume real estate is no different.
You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention, the most important information should be
top, front, and center. The following sections, in this order, should follow: a brief professional
summary with strengths and passions, skills with possible keywords for ATS, jobs in reverse
chronological order, education, professional trainings and licenses/certifications, and finally
professional affiliations and/or community involvement. By following this order, hiring managers will
see exactly the information they need to know in a well-organized manner while understanding your
professional experience and your life outside of pharmacy. It is valuable to show that you have a life
outside pharmacy and are invested in your community.

My favorite part about writing a resume is the formatting. Each and every one I create is different
with similarities between them. It should be the most formal document you create. Afterall, it is a
doctoral profession, so leave all the graphics out of your resume. It is certainly personal preference,
but here are some of my favorite formatting suggestions:

1. Pick a font and size and be consistent. Use a font most similar to Times New Roman.
2. Bold your position title, not the company name. You are the highlight, not the company you
work for.
3. Use a simple footer with your name, title, and page number.
4. Place a page break in a reasonable spot. Do not break in the middle of a job description.
5. Use margins to adjust how everything fits on a page.
6. Always save your resume as Your Name Resume Year (example: John Smith Resume
2018) and always send to an employer as an attachment in the application program or in an
email as a PDF to preserve formatting.

I don’t know anyone besides myself who likes to make a resume. It is time consuming, daunting, and
confusing. There are few good resources for pharmacists specifically and a ton of terrible resources
and advice available on the internet. So when do you do it yourself versus hiring a professional?
That’s a great question. I would say that if the above information I have given you is making you
anxious, it’s time to hire someone. I would also say that if you have been applying left and right and
aren’t getting any interviews or communication, it’s time to hire someone. After all, it’s a small price
to pay to get you in the right position. If you can’t hire someone to do the writing, make sure you
have a peer review it critically to give you feedback.

The last bit of advice I have is that you should constantly update your resume. Make time to update
it twice a year. Even if you are perfectly satisfied with your job and are not job hunting, it is so much
easier to take 15 minutes twice a year to add in your projects, promotions, presentations, and
achievements than it is to try to remember information from five years ago. Be ready to jump on an
opportunity when it arises. In this market, they won’t come up too often, so it is best to be prepared
and ready to go.

Ashley Gulyas, PharmD
Founder & Senior Pharmacy Resume Editor

Just a Pharmacist

By: Lisa King, RPh, Amazon Best Selling Author

 

I recently read about a speech that the American Pharmaceutical Association president gave about how many times we find ourselves as pharmacists saying ‘I’m just a pharmacist, community pharmacist, staff pharmacist.’ I never really thought about this as I was always proud to be a pharmacist. I had heard so many women in the past say to me ‘I’m just a mom or other title” when I told them about my career. I never thought I was one of those people who referred to myself as “Just A” but when it came to my career as a retail, staff pharmacist, I was guilty as charged. I married my high school sweetheart, graduated from pharmacy school, and soon started having children. I was alway just a mom and a pharmacist. I have always loved caring for my patients at the pharmacy and know everything about their families. It was always my goal to share a smile with a patient. I love to comfort a new mom and tell her I had been there when it came to sleepless nights. I enjoy sharing nutrition tips regarding the diet and exercise portion of a diagnosis. We all love to dream big and many pharmacy moms have a side hustle that helps them feel more complete. At times, we become frustrated that the pharmacy is taking us away from what we feel is our true life’s purpose. That may be an additional income stream or it may be just staying home with our children. Sometimes, you have to step back in gratitude and reflect on one of the main roles in your life as a pharmacist. I challenge you to take out a piece of paper and write down everything that you feel grateful for in your career. Think about what the career actually does for you and your family. Is it financial freedom to go to the movies, buy a new outfit, contribute to a college fund? Is it the ability to feel that you are actually changing people’s lives, whether that be your patients, interns or technicians? I guarantee you your heart will be warmed by doing this exercise on what you are grateful for in your pharmacy career. We all want to live the life that we desire, to live our life’s purpose and be the best version of ourselves. That life can be many things, and I want that life for myself as well. I love sharing information on health and wellbeing. However; at this time in my life, I am happy to include all of those things as part of who I am. This includes not being “just a pharmacist” but a pharmacist!

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

By Laura Challen

As pharmacists, we pledge to devote ourselves to a lifetime of service to others… to ensure optimal outcomes for our patients. But what happens when the tables are turned and we become the patient? What happens when we become the patient that goes through the “unmentionable”? This wasn’t on my radar at all… and I’ll never forget the moment my role switched.

It was a cool morning in November and I had been busy at work all morning. I took an early lunch break to quickly make my 16 week OB checkup and felt annoyed when the appointments were running late. I sat in the waiting room, frantically checking email to see what I missed. Why was I even there? I had two beautiful sons at home, had “passed” the genetic screen a few weeks before, had received the “all clear” after the 12 week appointment, and had announced the pregnancy on social media after our gender reveal. I didn’t drink alcohol, watched my caffeine intake, tried to eat balanced meals… this was just another check box. Go to the 16 week checkup and rush back to work. I finally made it into the exam room and was chatting with my doctor. We continued chatting while she put the fetal Doppler on my stomach to find baby’s heartbeat. After what seemed like forever of her trying to find the heartbeat, I asked her “Should I freak out yet?” She calmly said, “No… I bet he’s just super active and I can’t find him… he just won himself an ultrasound”. It took 30 minutes for me to get the ultrasound. I sat quietly alone in the waiting room, debating if I call my husband. Why should I call and worry him? The doctor told me not to freak out … everything was “probably” fine… it had always been fine before. It was my turn and I slowly made my way onto the ultrasound table. The technician finally announced “OK, I’m going to light up the blood flow now”. I’ll never forget how on the monitor all around the baby lit up, but baby remained dark. I calmly asked, “He’s supposed to light up… isn’t he?”… and all the technician could say was “I’m so sorry”. My world stopped, my heart skipped several beats, and it felt like the walls started closing in. Little did I know that I was now the patient that needed caring for and was no longer the one providing care and answers. I had never appreciated the small touch, the kind words and the need for privacy so much as those first moments. Once I had called my husband, completely broke down and then slightly gathered myself, the technician ushered me through back doors and back hallways to see the doctor again. I’ve never appreciated bypassing a busy, happy OB waiting room more than that moment. The nurse put me in an empty exam room and my doctor rushed in. She too looked devastated and shocked. Her sincerity and honesty struck me. I was now asking questions I had never thought of before… this wasn’t something I had studied or mastered in school… this wasn’t something that anyone talks about. I looked to my doctor to provide guidance and steer me on the best path. Later, when I broke down crying in the parking lot, I’ve never felt so much gratitude to the kind stranger that stopped to see if I needed help. I’m not normally one to hug strangers, but when she asked permission to hug me, I immediately agreed and almost felt relief.

I vaguely remember both the doctor and technician estimating that baby had died three weeks prior to my ultrasound, and since my body had not started to pass him naturally, I had to either be admitted or have a surgical procedure to remove him. After weighing my options, I chose to deliver the baby instead of enduring a procedure. A big factor in this decision was choosing the option that would help the most with my closure. Prior to this experience, I had never asked if my hospital was equipped to handle this type of situation, after all, pregnancy loss isn’t talked about. This was and still is such a taboo topic—even though 1 in 4 pregnancies are lost. I had no idea that my hospital had an entire program that focused just on pregnancy and infant loss. They provided me with a counselor, followed me closely during my hospital admission, and provided much needed emotional support. Small little touches, like putting a red leaf on my hospital door to alert staff that baby was no longer alive, made a long lasting impression. My labor and delivery took a total of 32 long hours and my total hospital stay lasted 5 days. I was continuously amazed at how kind and gentle the hospital staff treated me at every encounter, even when I felt like I was requiring much more care than most. I quickly learned that there wasn’t a script or protocol for pregnancy loss. Everyone’s loss is different, and what works is making decisions that are best for your family and situation. One example of this was whether or not to hold baby after delivery. My hospital counselor shared that she had “never met a mother that regretted holding her baby”. As hard as that moment was… she was right. I’ll never regret holding and admiring baby Connor. To me, he was perfect.

Days, weeks and months have now passed. It was the small gestures from family, friends, and coworkers that carried us through those first few weeks. Cards, meals, keepsakes helped, but looking back—allowing me to say Connor’s name out loud helped the most. As cliché as it sounds, I’ve learned that time does help lessen the pain… but a heart never forgets. I hope that you are never in this situation… but if you are: know that you aren’t alone.