It is officially 3 years since I graduated from Pharmacy School. It is crazy how fast time passes by once you start working. When I was in school it felt like an eternity. Every single day I dreamed of the day I would finally graduate and start working. Given the amount of hours I put in at work, my experience level is close to that of a 5 year veteran pharmacist. There have been ups and downs along the way. Learning from my mistakes and failures I want to share tips for a new pharmacist graduate:

Tips for a New Pharmacist Graduate

  1. Fear of making a mistake. This is a huge concern for all pharmacists and especially a lot of the new pharmacists. Having fear is good. It keeps you in check. It motivates you to put patient safety as your number one priority. However, there has to be a balance of fear and productivity. If fear paralyzes you and causes inability to complete your work, ultimately this can cause patient harm by delaying patient care. Find what works best for you, learn from others to be more proficient, and always continue to improve.
  2. It is OKAY if you “don’t know” the answer. One of my fears when i first started as a pharmacy intern was not knowing the answer to doctor or nurses questions. In the retail setting I would be afraid of not knowing the answer for customers. I learned over time it really does not matter as long as you know where to find the answer! Instead of lying or making things up, simply explain that you do not remember off the top of your head and you will find out and get back to them. That was simple right?
  3. Avoid Work Gossip. Okay I have to admit, I love work gossip. I have been burned in the past and learned to just keep my mouth shut. It is fine to listen to others gossiping. Just try not to put in your own opinion. You never know who you can trust. Soon enough it will come around and bite you in the ass. Trust me, it is not worth it and unless you love drama in your life, just zip it.
  4. Work E-mail Etiquette. Luckily, I have not been part of any e-mail scandals. Be careful who you include in the e-mail, how you respond, and when you click “reply” vs “reply all” can make a big difference. Remember, what is written can be interpreted differently than if it were to be spoken. E-mails are permanent records that can be used against you now or in the future. Thus, I would not recommend writing any e-mails when you are frustrated or angry.
  5. Treat everyone with Respect. It does not matter if you are a pharmacist, a technician, a assistant, nurse, or secretary. ALWAYS treat everyone with respect. In elementary school you were taught “treat others how you want to be treated.” It is quite simple, but I have seen so many pharmacists belittle other people or be extremely condescending. Guess what, other people are watching. Do you really think they will have a good impression of you? Why would they ever want to recommend you to another employer? You never know if that person will one day be a deciding factor for you and a job.
  6. Part-Time or Per-Diem Positions. It can be tough coming out of school to find a full time jobs at times. Especially, if you do not have much experience. Swallow your pride and just get any work experience. A great way to start out is to find part-time work or per-diem positions (that’s how I started out). Not only will you have more work experience in different settings but you will meet a lot of people along the way.

What are some tips you would share working as a pharmacist?

I hope the recommendations above will help guide, motivate, and inspire you to achieve your goals. Follow my blog for more tips and advice on finances and being a pharmacist. What are your experiences? Please comment below and share your thoughts.