Pharmacists Have the Best Job in the World

The claim that is made by the title of this article refers to a study by a company called “CareerCast” who are a specialist employment agency in the US medical field.
For the first time that I can remember they are featuring pharmacists as being in the “must have” job.
But they lost my vote in the first sentence of their announcement:

“Consider pharmacists.
While you may not consider their role to be critical, anyone who has ever desperately needed a prescription filled knows just how significant their work is—and they are handsomely rewarded for it with an average annual salary of $116,670.”

So we are not “critical” only “significant”.

And while we are paid handsomely, the inference hints that maybe we are overpaid?
I find that remark offensive by an employment agency that chose to use those words solely for pharmacists.
They were not used when referring to podiatrists and physiotherapists, two other contenders for the best jobs in US healthcare (or any other healthcare professional category).

What is it about pharmacy that almost guarantees a non-stop campaign by the medical profession and their followers that always seems to show pharmacists in a lesser light?
Given the medical profession’s lofty words contained in Codes of Conduct, why are they always seen in breach?

Perhaps the clue lies in the next sentence of the media release”

“Of course, getting started as a pharmacist requires a significant educational investment of both time and money. Erin Albert, a pharmacist in Indianapolis, says that residencies and apprenticeships for aspiring pharmacists after they’ve completed pharmacy school are competitive and often take years to complete.
Because postgraduate work is a serious undertaking, Albert recommends getting a feel for the career before diving in.”

They had to rely on a quote from a “living and breathing pharmacist” rather than draw from the research base you would expect a specialist employment service to rely on?
And suddenly they have realised that there is real substance underpinning pharmacy and maybe it is fear of competition that drives the litany of derogatory statements that appear so frequently in the mainstream press.

Our job is different, it requires a high degree of focus and multi-tasking, and we do it well.
It is not an easy job that most of our critics imply, but observed to be easy because of the professional ease employed by a skilled pharmacist.
Australian pharmacists may not do as well as their US counterparts in terms of annual salaries, possibly because the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has had more years of industrial experience than the pharmacist union, Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA).
A gap does seem to exist despite that, but the ability of Australian pharmacies to support a higher wage has reduced because of price transparency issues in the PBS system.
However, 2015 will be a better year according to a white paper produced by Price Waterhouse Cooper and we are on the upswing of a new pharmacy cycle here in Australia.
Pressure to generate new revenue streams will push pharmacists to provide clinical services because dispensing will flat line or continue to drop into the immediate future.

CareerCast, a nine-year-old job search website in Carlsbad, California, just released a list of the 10 jobs it deems to be the best in health care.

“These jobs don’t pay in the mid-six figures commanded by, say, a heart surgeon, but the top jobs like pharmacist and podiatrist pay more than $100,000, and they don’t involve excessive stress or harsh working conditions, according to CareerCast.”

Here again CareerCast displays ignorance because owning a pharmacy is a very stressful job, and here in Australia every other business or profession seems to want a bit of the action because, they too, think its an easy add-on for their circumstances.

The prediction for growth in US pharmacist jobs is at rate of 14% by 2022.
That rate will not be achieved in Australia, but there should be some positive growth towards the end of 2015 as general business conditions begin to improve

Other comments by CareerCast inclued:

“Pharmacists must complete a four-year “PharmD” program after getting a bachelor’s or associate’s degree with undergraduate coursework in physics, chemistry, biology and calculus. While the pharmacists at my local Duane Reade appear to toil under fluorescent lights on their feet for eight-hour shifts while demanding and sometimes desperate customers plead for medication advice to help them with constipation and sleeplessness, Lee insists that most pharmacists get satisfaction from helping patients, and have “a lot of freedom and flexibility in the job.” He says the vast majority of pharmacists work in hospitals, which are not as stressful as drugstore chains, though I wonder about that too, having waited in long lines for drugs at pressured hospital pharmacy counters.”

I wonder how this journalist would feel if I disparaged him in the same terms. Not too good, I imagine.
Attrition rates increased over 2014 as some pharmacies went “under water” and were bankrupted or sold.
Some of our best and brightest left pharmacy ranks completely because they could not find a job.
I think the PPA needs to develop better arguments, including parity with pharmacist salaries in OECD economies.

Governments will always fight to keep PBS dispensing fees at the lowest common denominator hence they too exert pressure on the PGA using different strategies.
Sometimes it seems that the PGA is too compromised by government and must be frustrated by having to juggle so many balls in the air, with each ball representing a potential conflict of interest.
It is clear that power sharing needs to be distributed more evenly and it is time for PSA to step up to the mark and become a bit more assertive.
They (PSA) are not giving value for the fees charged and they are in urgent need of a renewal of their programs to continue to remain in contention.


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