5 Career Tips for New Pharmacy School Graduates

MAY 10, 2016
As a member of the Class of 2016, you deserve props for successfully completing the long and arduous journey through pharmacy school and rotations. That’s no easy feat, and I’m sure there were times when you felt like the work would never end.

But here you are at the finish line. Your career as a pharmacy student has come to an end, and your career as a pharmacist is about to begin.

All through school, someone else led the way. You were told what classes to take, what rotations to do, and what to study.

Of course, this instruction came at a heavy cost. But, for the most part, someone was pointing you in the right direction and keeping you moving along the path to graduation.

From this point on, though, you most likely won’t hear someone say “Here’s the next goal and your next move.” This may be a daunting, if not terrifying, realization for you.

Your career direction is now almost entirely up to you. You’ve been a passenger (albeit a hard-working one) being driven along the highway of pharmacy education, but now, you’re in the driver’s seat. The steering wheel is in your hands, and your foot is on the gas pedal.  

You’ll soon discover there are some wrong turns you can make. Like streets, careers have dead ends, wrong ways, and “under construction” signs. Without even realizing it, you could drive your career in the wrong direction for a long time.

I can’t tell you where to go with respect to your pharmacy future. The map is in your head and the path is only limited by your dreams and determination. No one else can give you a compass to navigate the winding path of your career.

Still, I can share a few suggestions. I’ve been pharmacist for more than 20 years, nearly half of which I’ve worked with students. Here are some things I wish someone had told me at the start of my own pharmacy career.

Jason Poquette
Jason Poquette
Jason Poquette, RPh, is a 1993 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. For most of his career, he has held retail pharmacy management positions. He also spent 7 years working in health plan formulary analysis and research. He currently works for Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions (PHS) as manager of an outpatient hospital pharmacy, developing programs to improve utilization of the pharmacy and transitional care for patients.