I’ve fallen and I can’t get up !

I suspect that there are few Pharmacists alive that can remember when  “good jobs” were not readily available.  I can remember when Walgreen’s cancelled all their agreements with their “Walgreen’s Agency Stores”… basically a competitor to those indy Rexall Stores.. and Walgreens had a near term goal of having 1000  company stores… NATIONALLY.

Our profession – until the intervention of the PBM’s – has been mostly based on entrepreneurship. Individual entrepreneurship seems to  have peaked in the 80’s. Today we have around HALF the number of  indys that we had in the 70’s and before.

I heard/read RPH after RPH stating that they have not worked in a couple years.. and/or they are not being provided full time employment… or they are being forced to “float” and drive for hours every week.. just to keep a job that they hate or could care less about.

Perhaps we have had a mono-focus on where our professional opportunities lies. Maybe we need to take our blinders off and return to our entrepreneurial roots. NO, I am not suggesting that everyone goes out and opens their own pharmacies. Let the big boys give away free antibiotics, charge $4 for Rxs that cost $3.50 and accept pennies from the PBM for filling a prescription.

No matter how this election turns out… some form of Obamacare will happen… 10,000 baby boomers turns 65 every day and the youngest baby boomer is now approaching their 50’s.  When is the last time you read something about the cost of healthcare that doesn’t include the phrase “lowering the cost”

We are losing two general practitioners to retirement for every one that is coming out of school…. and if Obamacare is fully implemented… we have a large number of GP’s in their late 50’s + that claim they are going to take their shingle down… not to mention the 30 to 50 million patients that are going to  have some sort of  health insurance with untold, unmet healthcare needs that may not have been addressed for years.

There are ways to help physicians in their practice increase revenue per patient to help afford your assistance in their practice… some may be willing to let you show them what you can do.. on a revenue sharing basis…Physician practices are having just as hard a time paying their overhead as pharmacy/Pharmacists are.

Tell them you will help them manage patient on a volunteer basis.. one day a week for a few months… make yourself … a valuable part of their team… make yourself .. indispensable to their practice and their patients…  Even if you are still working at that USRX slave ship… do that one day a week at a practitioner’s office…  if you are worth your salt… you will be having other practitioners calling you to come and work in their practice… and you can tell your corporate employer where they can stick their spatula.

If you are 50+… even if you have a PharmD degree… unless you are living or willing to move somewhere out in the boonies … you know what your chances of getting a full time job is.. bad and declining… if you are collecting unemployment.. what are you going to do when that ends?  Volunteer in a practitioner’s office to prove your salt and improve/polish up your skills… while you are still collecting unemployment… and/or you can only get part time work…

A few years ago, I opened a “apothecary” in a out patient mental health facility for a particular company.. It was the first time that this facility had a in house pharmacy…  in the bldg I had a ARNP and a adolescent shrink in the bldg… After a couple of months there.. the ARNP pulled me aside one day and told me that when the pharmacy coming into the bldg was first being discussed….she was ADAMANT about the pharmacy NOT BEING IN THE BUILDING… she was now GLAD THAT WE WERE THERE… a couple of months later.. she told me the WORSE THING THAT COULD HAPPEN…. IF THEY TOOK ME AWAY !  This was a non-profit mental health entity and most of the patients were  on a sliding scale and/or HMO Medicaid… after about six months there… the practitioners gave me a key to their “sample closet” and told me that if I could not get the patient’s medication paid for …and they were not around… to take care of the patient from the samples .. until an alternate source could be found.

Collectively, we have been spoiled… historically… get your degree… pass your boards… and you have a job waiting for you.. those days are seemingly gone… We have the possibilities of ACO’s forming on the horizon… we have the potential of accreditation on the horizon… we have the possibility of a increased number of legend drugs going to a special OTC category on the horizon.

The single road that we have collectively traveled for several decades.. can no longer accommodate all of us… the road is either too narrow or there are too many of us …or both…

I see multiple other paths that we can take… some of them not so wide and others very narrow…  the first ones on the path.. will be the ones that remain on these paths… if they can prove their worth that they belong on the path… they will be the Pharmacist pioneers…

If you have fallen off the “normal path” or just gotten pushed off… get your ass up… use your brain.. the one that you stuffed all that knowledge into during pharmacy school. You may not make that six figure salary at first… may never get back to that figure… but.. that job you have now or don’t have now… is not going to keep paying you that six figure salary either.

Don’t expect your future job/employment to send you a email, tweet you and/or “like” you on Facebook.. AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN..

One Response

  1. I agree that we have been spoiled. Get a degree and come out of pharmacy school to a good paying job. Those days do appear to be on the wane. With the declining number of physicians, there may be an opening for pharmacists. But, pharmacists will have to take a leap and take some risks. In the past, nurses and nurse practitioners have jumped at new opportunities in the medical field. Pharmacists have not made that leap. If there are not enough docs to take care of these baby boomers, then who will? Nurse practitioners have been rushing into this field.

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