Pharmacy at uni? Career prospects? What should I do? Watch

meganadele1505
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I applied for pharmacy this year and have firmed my offer for pharmacy at Nottingham but I was reading all these people on here saying that pharmacy is a dead end. I don't know how I didn't realise this and if it's actually true. I am now confused and stressed out because I don't know what to do, since I have already replied and firmed my offer.
I really like the sound of the course and the sound of the job and was excited but I want to have a job at the end of it.
I do Biology, Chemistry and Physics and am predicted AAA what should I do.
Any help would be appreciated.
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marinade
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(Original post by meganadele1505)
I applied for pharmacy this year and have firmed my offer for pharmacy at Nottingham but I was reading all these people on here saying that pharmacy is a dead end. I don't know how I didn't realise this and if it's actually true. I am now confused and stressed out because I don't know what to do, since I have already replied and firmed my offer.
I really like the sound of the course and the sound of the job and was excited but I want to have a job at the end of it.
I do Biology, Chemistry and Physics and am predicted AAA what should I do.
Any help would be appreciated.
Before I worked in pharmacy I thought it was better than it was. The reason for this is that most careers/advice you get off other people is generally a few years out of date. I realise with hindsight that advice I received was how pharmacy was in the nineties mostly. You might say well how come advice with pharmacy in the media/society is so out of date? Easy, how much pharmacy stuff do you actually see on the media on the news channels, news websites, social media? Apart from recent naughtiness from Boots, pretty much nothing, right? Chemist and druggist is about the best you get and who reads that outside pharmacy and a lot of the stuff on there is mildly radical don't-rock-the-boat sanitized writing for happy drone workers with regular bits of propaganda for the big companies, DoH, GPhC.

You will get a job at the end of it. There are some big 'ah yes' caveats though. You may have to be mobile and travel 30 miles in each direction. You may have to consider locumming. You may have to consider being a relief pharmacist for Boots/Lloyds. You may have to consider relocating. You may have to consider working as early as 6:30am in the morning or as late as midnight. You may have to work Saturdays and Sundays.

The average pharmacist earns £42k a year. Top end hospital pharmacists earn £80k, £90k, £100k. This is rare. Most jobs are in community. My manager at a big chain (experienced pharmacist) earned £37,000 a year. Many newly qualified or 2nd pharmacists in second chains earn low thirties or even high £20,000s. At independents or more enlightened chains a pharmacist might, might earn £50k or £60k.

Money is not everything. How stimulating is it being a community pharmacist? If you work for a chain, can your pay grow? Are the terms and conditions good, are workplaces nice places to work? I would argue that in community pharmacy, but particularly retail pharmacy, the job is very repetitive and most of your time is taken up by non-pharmacy duties. Oh I'm not using my degree etc.

One thing I found that some pharmacists really dislike is the number of hours a day stood up. The modern world isn't set up for community pharmacy how it sees itself. Very few pharmacies close for dinner and pharmacists are rarely allowed out for dinner. Breaks by staff/pharmacists are regularly not taken for fear of complaints.

What you make of that is up to you, but depends on your background and expectations and what you are comparing it to. I would say that in the world of 2019 that considering that to be a pharmacist requires a standard science undergraduate degree that pay is very good indeed. If someone compares themselves to dentists and doctors, they are forever going to be disappointed on that front.

The 3.5 years I worked in pharmacy hours were cut, closures happened.

In my humble opinion the funding model for community pharmacy is completely unsustainable.

And then there's the future...
Last edited by marinade; 9 months ago
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Claremont4ever
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The first responder is not a pharmacist, be wary of his 'advice'.

I'm a pharmacist. If money and a good job are your main drivers for choosing pharmacy, you will get tons of it if you are hardworking and are prepared to put in the hours and mileage. Ultimately, your main focus is to make patients happy, do your job well and the money will come. I can only speak for community pharmacy as that is the area I work and happy in.

I will tell you my story. I only qualified last year and joined one of the major multiples as a relief manager. I negotiated a good wage which if prorated with my sign on bonus and relocation bonus probably puts my yearly salary at circa £65,000/year. I spent 3 months as a relief, and jumped on an opportunity to become a pharmacist manager for one of the flagship branches of the multiple with a 20% increase in pay. My working hours is such that I have 4 days off every week to locum if I want. If I choose to locum and my locum pay factored into my earnings, I probably will earn just under £90,000/year.

The reason I always post about my earnings is because this forum is littered with sob tales about pharmacist earning a pittance bla bla bla... and it's always the same usernames posting the same negative drivel. I know of my colleagues working around me who earn even higher than I do, so my earnings isn't just isolated to just me.

I'm 110% happy in my current role in meeting the healthcare needs of patients, and I'm even happier in being paid a Member of Parliament's salary whilst doing so. I know some people find community pharmacy boring and stressful, but personally, I like the boredom and I like the stress!
Last edited by Claremont4ever; 9 months ago
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Hoganballs
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Give the last poster 5 years in the job, I absolutely guarantee you they’ll be fed up with Pharmacy by that stage and ready for a career change. Community Pharmacy nowadays is nothing more than an unadulterated slog and rather humiliating to be perfectly honest.

From a Pharmacy graduate of a Russell group University, who’s in their mid thirties, who has been there and done it and bought the t shirt.
Last edited by Hoganballs; 8 months ago
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0895
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
The first responder is not a pharmacist, be wary of his 'advice'.

I'm a pharmacist. If money and a good job are your main drivers for choosing pharmacy, you will get tons of it if you are hardworking and are prepared to put in the hours and mileage. Ultimately, your main focus is to make patients happy, do your job well and the money will come. I can only speak for community pharmacy as that is the area I work and happy in.

I will tell you my story. I only qualified last year and joined one of the major multiples as a relief manager. I negotiated a good wage which if prorated with my sign on bonus and relocation bonus probably puts my yearly salary at circa £65,000/year. I spent 3 months as a relief, and jumped on an opportunity to become a pharmacist manager for one of the flagship branches of the multiple with a 20% increase in pay. My working hours is such that I have 4 days off every week to locum if I want. If I choose to locum and my locum pay factored into my earnings, I probably will earn just under £90,000/year.

The reason I always post about my earnings is because this forum is littered with sob tales about pharmacist earning a pittance bla bla bla... and it's always the same usernames posting the same negative drivel. I know of my colleagues working around me who earn even higher than I do, so my earnings isn't just isolated to just me.

I'm 110% happy in my current role in meeting the healthcare needs of patients, and I'm even happier in being paid a Member of Parliament's salary whilst doing so. I know some people find community pharmacy boring and stressful, but personally, I like the boredom and I like the stress!
According to Chemist and Druggist website, the average community pharmacist earns £36k per year.
You probably do lots of overtime, or work in a 7-11 store and do all your 39hrs in 3 days, then locum on your days off to earn that kind of money.
Please expand on your hours, etc. Do you even have a day off a week?
You are a very unique pharmacist in how you structure your work. Most pharmacists work 39 or 45 hrs for 36-45k. Which is not very good for the work level, lack of staff, stress, and responsibility.
I would imagine you are working 60+ hour weeks to earn the figures you quote. Some people may wish to work 4 days 39 hrs, and have a life too.
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Claremont4ever
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(Original post by 0895)
According to Chemist and Druggist website, the average community pharmacist earns £36k per year.
You probably do lots of overtime, or work in a 7-11 store and do all your 39hrs in 3 days, then locum on your days off to earn that kind of money.
Please expand on your hours, etc. Do you even have a day off a week?
You are a very unique pharmacist in how you structure your work. Most pharmacists work 39 or 45 hrs for 36-45k. Which is not very good for the work level, lack of staff, stress, and responsibility.
I would imagine you are working 60+ hour weeks to earn the figures you quote. Some people may wish to work 4 days 39 hrs, and have a life too.
I work 48 hours a week spread over 3 working days. I have 4 days off per week. It's honestly not my business whether you believe me or not.
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Hoganballs
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
I work 48 hours a week spread over 3 working days. I have 4 days off per week. It's honestly not my business whether you believe me or not.
Nearly 50 hours a week in a stuffy community Pharmacy isn’t a life for me...I’d rather pick grapes for a living, at least you get some fresh air!
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adiooyo
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I'll be honest when I first qualified I was a bit like Claremont4ever. Full of energy, pharmacy is great, big money to be earnt zzzzzz. 3 years later I am more like Hoganballs and realise that there is no future in this profession and truely believe there are people working hard behind the scenes to obliterate community pharmacist pay. Make of that what you will. I am 26 years old and qualified for 3 years, been working in community for 4 years

With time you will realise and regret doing pharmacy. Spoken to too many young disillusioned pharmacists who are 3-4 years in and look fed up already.

One thing I've noticed is that there aren't too many 50 year old pharmacist left working daily 5 days a week as managers. They may work part time or do other jobs etc. Just goes to show how multiples treat their pharmacists and gives you an idea if being a pharmacist for life is realistic. I think not.

OP.

Firming your offer doesn't mean you have started your course. I would contact your university and ask if you can withdraw. I'd consider an alternative career. If you were a family member or friend I would strongly advise optometry. I would describe it as a proper healthcare profession- what pharmacy should be like. You get realistic workload, you are treated like a professional and there is job satisfaction. Look into it as an alternative.

A lot has changed in pharmacy in a very short time and I would put money on it changing even more when you qualify and I would put even more money on the change being mostly negative, if I was a betting man.
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IAMedicine
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Medicine > Pharmacy. Most love their job, it’s prestigious and pay is decent too. If u have the grades and experience you should try and apply
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0895
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You should also mention to the OP that you qualified abroad and did OSPAP, from your previous posts and work in the North East and chose to do so for a shortage of pharmacists and hence the much higher wages on offer. You are trying to make out everyone can earn 80k a year which is simply false.
You have a strong work ethic that native UK kids don't have. Most want an easy life and doing as little as possible to get by. As I said the Chemist and Druggist said the average community pharmacist on 39hrs earns around 36k p.a.
You also mention sign-on bonus and relocation bonus which will be one-offs. The average pharmacist earns no where near 65k per year. You are filling 6th formers heads with candy floss figures !!

Your local Lidl/Aldi manager is probably on nearly 10k more than 36k plus car.

DON'T do pharmacy kids, this person if you look at her/his previous posts is obsessed with money.
There's more to life than money as Hoganballs points out. It's called a life!
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
I work 48 hours a week spread over 3 working days. I have 4 days off per week. It's honestly not my business whether you believe me or not.
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Claremont4ever
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I know what you mean, and I have a few colleagues of mine who feel the same way as you. I think it might be best if you look into upskilling like getting clinical pharmacy and IP quals. They are the best route out of community pharmacy at the moment. I start a part-time MSc in Clinical Pharmacy with an IP addon in October. I don't plan on being in the community at the end of my present work contract in 3 years time. Until then, my focus is to upskill and pay down my mortgage as much as possible!

The problem with all the glossy roles I have seen being advertised for pharmacists is that they do not pay as much as community pharmacy. I see roles being advertised for Practice pharmacists, CCG pharmacists etc with salaries of only £50,000/year. It will be foolhardy for me to take a pay cut and leave the community simply because I want a glossy title.

Community pharmacy has its challenges and I will be the first to acknowledge that. It's might not be as rosy as I paint it, but it's not all doom and gloom. I know of a few senior experienced colleagues who have being in it for years and they simply love the daily face to face interaction with patients. Personally, i have started my career as a community pharmacist, but I fully intend to explore the whole breath of pharmacy as long as the pay offered is greater than what I currently earn.

(Original post by adiooyo)
I'll be honest when I first qualified I was a bit like Claremont4ever. Full of energy, pharmacy is great, big money to be earnt zzzzzz. 3 years later I am more like Hoganballs and realise that there is no future in this profession and truely believe there are people working hard behind the scenes to obliterate community pharmacist pay. Make of that what you will. I am 26 years old and qualified for 3 years, been working in community for 4 years

With time you will realise and regret doing pharmacy. Spoken to too many young disillusioned pharmacists who are 3-4 years in and look fed up already.

One thing I've noticed is that there aren't too many 50 year old pharmacist left working daily 5 days a week as managers. They may work part time or do other jobs etc. Just goes to show how multiples treat their pharmacists and gives you an idea if being a pharmacist for life is realistic. I think not.

OP.

Firming your offer doesn't mean you have started your course. I would contact your university and ask if you can withdraw. I'd consider an alternative career. If you were a family member or friend I would strongly advise optometry. I would describe it as a proper healthcare profession- what pharmacy should be like. You get realistic workload, you are treated like a professional and there is job satisfaction. Look into it as an alternative.

A lot has changed in pharmacy in a very short time and I would put money on it changing even more when you qualify and I would put even more money on the change being mostly negative, if I was a betting man.
Last edited by Claremont4ever; 7 months ago
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Hoganballs
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The thing with community Pharmacy is, it wears you down very quickly. I've yet to come across a 50 year old Pharmacist who skips to work every day and who is buzzing at the thought of another 9 hours on their feet all day most probably without a lunch break. Added into the fact that a sizeable minority of the public treat you with zero respect, it's easy to see why Pharmacists detest their own profession. You've also got a regulator who is in the pocket of the Multiples, will bend over backwards to accommodate them and their every needs no matter how unscrupulous (think the MUR scandal a number of years ago) while at the same time coming down like a ton on bricks on the individual Pharmacist, who in the course of their professional duty happens to make a genuine mistake.

It's a farce.
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Hoganballs
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(Original post by IAMedicine)
Medicine > Pharmacy. Most love their job, it’s prestigious and pay is decent too. If u have the grades and experience you should try and apply
Have you talked to many Doctors with 10/20/30 years experience before arriving at that conclusion that most love their job?
Medicine ain't a bed of roses either pal. I agree that Doctors get a lot more respect than pharmacists but it's a very highly pressurised job. I once asked a GP what they thought of their job, her response was "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy".
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adiooyo
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I’m beginning to think you are a lecturer or an academic or someone trying to flog a dead hoarse dead hoarse being MPharm. You seem to have an interest in encouraging more people to study pharmacy. If you are a genuine pharmacist working in community u would know more pharmacist =less pay and working conditions sand therefore be discouraging students. It is only logical. But you seem to be doing the opposite?Why?
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