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    10 reasons I’m still proud to be a pharmacist

    Kelly HowardI’m rapidly approaching my 10th year as a licensed pharmacist, and while it certainly hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, I still find deep-seated satisfaction in my chosen profession. I hold my head up high when I proudly tell people I’m a pharmacist. Here are ten reasons why you should too:

    1.     Trust us. Sure, we’ve had our scandals, but a 2013 Gallup poll ranked pharmacy second only to nurses as the most honest and ethical profession. Patients know that we put them first and that we can be trusted as medication experts.

    2.     Egalitarianism in practice. A recent study found that the disparity in pay between pharmacists at opposite ends of the earnings spectrum is the smallest seen in any healthcare profession. In addition, the pay ratio between female pharmacists and male pharmacists is currently around 0.92, which represents the lowest gender-based wage gap to be found in any healthcare profession. (Sure, I’d like this ratio to be 1:1, but I will celebrate the fact that pharmacy is well ahead of the national average).

    3.     We are family. We all know it’s tough out there, so we adhere to an unspoken code and take care of our own.

    4.     We don’t eat our young. We nurture and encourage our pharmacy students and residents as if they were our own children, challenging them to develop to their fullest potential in order to ensure the success of pharmacy’s next generation.

    5.     We go the extra mile. We stay open late for a patient caught in traffic, we deliver a maintenance medication to an elderly shut-in, and we work out payment plans for impoverished patients. We do what it takes to give our patients the very best care we are able to provide.

    Kelly Howard, BS, PharmD, BCPS
    Kelly Howard is a blogger and freelance pharmacist in Southeastern North Carolina. Contact her at [email protected] or ...


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    • RickHansen
      After 42 years of community retail practice (Revco-CVS-Bi-Lo), I'm proud to be a pharmacist. The Profession of Pharmacy is what you make it. I never encouraged by son, daughter, sister, or niece to become pharmacists, but they all have chosen pharmacy. They must seen something worth doing and that makes me really proud. They see the pharmacist and profession as an opportunity to make a difference.
    • Anonymous
      Pharmacy tough - sounds like a term to make pharmacists feel better about staying in a sick, abusive profession and rationalize that it is okay to not fix the problems. Triumphing over the hazards is not a solutiion; it is denial of the problems that have plagued the profession for decades. If this was an abused woman, would we recommend that she tough it out? I don't think so. Pharmacists are a bunch of wimps and corporate lackeys.
    • Anonymous
      Remember that you have choices in your career path. If you don't want a traditional pharmacy career in retail or hospital, look for other options...industry, managed care, ambulatory clinics, academia, consulting. You may need to develop skill sets that were not part of your formal education. Network with pharmacists who work in the settings you want to break into. Pharmacy can be a very exciting and rewarding career. Good luck to all the new grads!!
    • Anonymous
      Good luck indeed...you'll need it!
    • Anonymous
      I am sadden by the comments posted by several senior pharmacists regarding the despair they felt as a health care professional. There are ups and downs for any profession but please look back at the moments when a customer comes back to tell you how much you have helped them and how much they appreciate you. We are not here solely for our personal gain but our job is to improve our community as a pharmacist. First of all, we have to improve ourselves academically and upgrading our skills constantly before we can help others that include our patients, our co-workers, our peers and our students. Do not put too much emphasize on low reimbursement rate, government regulations and some other obstacles that we are facing each day. Instead take those issues as challenges and potential opportunity to make ourselves stronger and better. Concentrate on our customers instead keep look at our wallet and how we (pharmacists) can be a positive force in improving the health care of our patients. Reward does not just come in dollar and cents but customer satisfaction lasts forever.
    • Anonymous
      For starters, we are not healthcare professionals. We are burger chefs. Hold the pickles, extra onions, no mayo. Would you like fries with that Oxycontin? Make sure to use their name 3+ times or you will get lower scores and be fired. Furthermore, no matter how out of the way I have gone for a patient. Identify absolute contraindication missed by a doctor? No thank you either from the doctor or the patient. From the doctor, I get "Okay, is that it? Can you fill the prescription now?" From the patient, I get "What takes you so long to fill my prescription? You're just supposed to put the pills the doctor wants into a bottle." Yes, that is after I explained what could have happened if I had just filled the prescription as it was written. Deliver a prescription to a patients' house so that they could have their medications before a long holiday weekend? Even though it was far out of my way, I get "What took you so long? We should have gotten those this morning!" It's a thankless crappy job, and we will all be replaced with vending machines soon enough.
    • Anonymous
      It IS sad, 40 years of abuse by customers (Patients), doctors and even RN's in doctors offices. I started to go into engineering to be a civil engineer and build things...but didn't...my what could have been...
    • Anonymous
      I am into my 40th year as a pharmacist. I am amazed that you can find 10 reasons to be proud to be a pharmacist! Give yourself 30 more yrs and take another look at it. Any one that asks me about pharmacy I tell them to become an APRN, you can do more. I have to call APRN's for refills all the time. I remember when I was newly out of school and would make a suggestion to a Dr, was not a pleasant response. I learned quickly to keep my mouth shut. A patient, customer, once told me to stick to counting and pouring that he would ask a dr for medical advice, it is called counseling now. I could go on but what's the use, 2 more yrs of this and I'm OUT!!!
    • Anonymous
      I'm not sure why all pharmacists wouldn't be proud to be a pharmacist !!!!
    • Anonymous
      I certainly am not nor have I ever really been proud to be a pharmacist. We are mostly just pointless middle men who will soon enough be replaced by vending machines. This profession was always a means to an end. Even in clinical situations at the hospital I saw the view of pharmacists by the rest of the healthcare industry. When making a recommendation to a doctor, the response is that of the caterpillar to Alice "Who are you?" Outside of the clinical setting, all you hear is "What do you know? You're not the doctor!" or, when the doctor is unavailable evenings and weekends, you hear from the very same patient "You're supposed to know more about drugs than the doctor!" We are a largely antiquated and useless profession. I just hope that we won't be replaced by vending machines before I accumulate either enough money to retire or go back to school for something useful. Seriously, if they even paid 80% of my salary to sweep floors, I would happily sweep floors than do my current job.