Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane “pill-flipping” life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

8 Reasons I'm Thankful for Being a Pharmacist

NOVEMBER 16, 2015


 

Being a pharmacist is tough. The job is stressful, the hours are long, and pharmacy school isn’t easy. Many pharmacists also face staggering student loan debt that can cause financial strain for years after graduation.
 
Despite the professional challenges, I am thankful to be a pharmacist. I may not be thankful every minute, but I am thankful every day that I have had the opportunity to embark on a fulfilling career.
 
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to take some time to reflect on what, exactly, makes me so grateful.
 
Here are my 8 reasons:
 
1. The impact.
There is nothing more fulfilling than helping patients on a daily basis. I’ve had my handful of difficult patients, but there’s always that one patient who expresses gratitude and makes all the difference.
 
Although patients don’t always show their appreciation, I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I am doing my part to keep my community safe and healthy.
 
2. The opportunities.
Despite the increasing competition, every community and hospital pharmacy needs pharmacists, and there are many different care settings in which pharmacists can practice. This creates new opportunities for pharmacists who wish to make career changes without leaving the profession entirely—and for new graduates to specialize in a particular niche.
 
Although the job market is tighter than ever, pharmacists who make themselves indispensable still have favorable job prospects.
 
3. The people.
I’ve met some truly amazing people during my pharmacy journey, and I have learned valuable lessons from each of them.
 
From teachers, to bosses, to mentors, to co-workers, I feel very lucky to have been surrounded by such talented people so far, and I am excited about meeting and learning from new people in the future.
 
4. The personal growth.
The pharmacy profession brings out the best in me. I have considered quitting more than once in my career because I thought I couldn’t do my job anymore and needed a change. But, after speaking with wise mentors, I realized that I needed to change my perspective on my job.
 
If I continued to be miserable, then I would have had a miserable job. I began to change my outlook by writing 5 things I was grateful for that day at my job. This shifted my focus from “I hate my situation” to “I’m grateful for my job!”
 
Because of this shift in perspective, I have learned more, worked more efficiently, and provided better customer service than I ever thought possible. Sometimes, I wonder if my pre-pharmacy school self would even recognize me today!
 
5. The respect.
The transition from student to “doctor” was odd yet satisfying.
 
How many times have you helped a family member or friend with a pharmacy-related problem? And how many times have you received a friendly greeting from a patient when you were at the grocery store or the gas pump? A whole lot, I bet, and, I’ll bet it also made you feel good.
 
I’m grateful to have such a good personal and professional reputation, and I take care to live up to the trust that people place in me every day.
 
6. The comic relief.
I have some hilarious stories from my time in the pharmacy. I doubt there are many other professions that allow you to receive funny voicemails, hear comical patient stories, and witness the butchering of drug names.
 
Other pharmacists and pharmacy students tend to have a really good sense of humor, too—it’s practically part of the job description.
 
7. The problem solving.
I am thankful for the ability to solve problems for my patients. I really like the good feeling I get when I figure out what is causing a troubling side effect or suggest an alternative that may provide a better patient outcome.
 
8. The salary.
Although becoming a pharmacist required additional schooling—and additional student loan debt—my salary has always been sufficient to support my family and repay my loans. That is more than people in many other professions can say, especially when they first enter the job market.
 
This year, when I sit down to my turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, I will remember why I am grateful to have chosen the pharmacy profession. When you reflect on the things you are grateful for—whether it is health, family, or friends—I encourage you to take stock of the things that make you thankful to be a pharmacist.
 
As an added bonus, finding something to appreciate about your profession will help you to get through the roughest pharmacy moments in the future.



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