Transition from Community Pharmacy Practice to the Health System


A smooth transition from community pharmacy to health system pharmacy practice is possible, especially for those with marketable skills.

Are you a community pharmacist looking to explore a career change? Are you curious about what the market looks like in other areas of pharmacy? Maybe you’re interested in exploring career options in the healthcare system, but don’t know where to start?

Marie-Elsie Ade, PharmD, MHA, MSBI, Director of Pharmacy at Baptist Health South Florida-Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Florida, answered all these questions during her presentation on transitioning from community pharmacy to the healthcare system. at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition1, where she reviewed tips and discussed the tools needed to help pharmacists make the career change.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the pharmacy profession – with pharmacists in particular – is seeing a 2% decline even as more jobs become available; this figure began to decline even before the pandemic.

“Why would you want to be a pharmacist or go from a community pharmacy to a health system pharmacy with such a grim outlook rather than becoming a theater makeup artist?” Ade asked. After all, she added, their salary is $106,000 and their growth prospects will increase by 37%. The pharmaceutical profession, on the other hand, does not see these numbers.

Some community pharmacists feel that pharmacists in hospitals and the healthcare system don’t have the same level of stress, and they reviewed the reasons why people believe this – some are true, from others are false. She spoke of her own experience in retail, filling an average of 200 prescriptions a day with just one cashier, who was unavailable during peak hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“Exhaustion can lead to fatigue and can lead to a high risk of stroke,” she said. “The [WHO] did a study that showed that working more than 55 hours a week would lead to [a] 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease.

Another reason to switch to pharmacy from the health care system, she noted, is higher pay. While Health System Pharmacists start at $96,000 compared to retail starting at $95,000, growth opportunities show Health System Pharmacists will end up earning $150,000 from $126,000 – and in some states the salaries are even higher.

The issue of work/life balance is also important, with the pandemic showing many that money isn’t everything, so this is another consideration that plays a big role in career choice and possible change. .

Abe added that a Flex Jobs study found that 68% of workers want better work-life balance and flexibility and will accept lower pay if it means going to work where they want or for longer periods of time. reasonable hours. “Stability is one of the reasons we might want to move from a retail community to a healthcare system,” she said. “With a health system pharmacy, you have a more stable schedule that you can do.”

If you have made the decision to leave, what are the next steps? Ade then turned his attention to this question and noted that it starts with examining your strengths, skills, perceived weaknesses, available opportunities and threats, and your ability to move on. You also have to look at why they are dissatisfied, why they want to move and the advantages and disadvantages of such a move. She suggests pharmacists keep a diary to organize all their thoughts so they can make an informed decision when moving.

“You may think you don’t have the skills for the job; however, you bring more to the table than you realize,” Ade said. ” Do not be discouraged. You have skills that hospitals and even residents don’t have, because you have real-world experience with those skills.

When discussing opportunities, Ade noted that right now the field of pharmaceutical informatics is booming and one in-demand skill set is for pharmacists who can act as translators between positions. informatics and clinics. She also suggested reading major journals to learn about the latest trends in the profession and what skills pharmacists might need in the future. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics is another great tool to learn more about available and growing pharmacy salaries and positions.

Armed with this information, pharmacists can determine where they stand and what their most marketable skills are. For example, few pharmacists are diabetes educators. “[B]Being a pharmacist and a diabetes educator will really improve your marketing,” Ade said. “There are a number of certifications you can get that can elevate you and make you competitive.”

After all, one might be competing with people who have residency and think they can’t get ahead. Ade said it doesn’t matter as much as you might think if you market yourself properly. This can mean starting a night shift or working rotating shifts – shifts that are often undesirable, but can bring a hopeful healthcare system through the door. Ade also suggested considering smaller healthcare systems to break into hospital settings.

“Barriers are achievable if you put in the work,” she said.


Ade ME. Move from community pharmacy to health system pharmacy. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition; March 18-21, 2022; San Antonio, Texas.


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