Here are my 5 pieces of advice for new pharmacists:
1. Get licensed as soon as possible.
You’ll always feel like you aren’t ready to take the NAPLEX and MPJE exams for licensure, but prolonging your exam date will only cause anxiety, so it’s best to schedule as soon as possible.
Four years of pharmacy school has prepared you for these exams, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study. Review your notes and also take the Pre-NAPLEX exam through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). It’s a 100-question, 140-minute practice exam that costs $65 each time.1
2. Stay up-to-date on CE.
Each state pharmacy board will dictate the number of continuing education (CE) hours required for your license renewal. Make sure to read the regulations for all states where you hold a license.
It’s extremely important to stay up-to-date for not only your license, but also your profession. Being a pharmacist is a lifelong-learning profession, with new medications continuously being approved and accompanied by clinical trials.
Failing to complete CE could mean disciplinary action. For that reason, I recommend creating an NABP e-Profile ID, as it provides an electronic system to keep track of your CE credits.2
3. Live by the “Oath of a Pharmacist.”
The “Oath of a Pharmacist” definitely encompasses what the pharmacy profession is all about. Always stay true to it and never change your course. Some may try to sway you, but always rise to the top of your license that you worked so hard to achieve.
4. Read a journal article whenever you can.
It can be difficult to stay up-to-date with the pharmacy profession, given the demands of your career and personal life. If you can read a clinical study once a month, you’re enhancing your clinical knowledge. If you participate in a monthly journal club with your colleagues, you can educate others about that clinical study.
Becoming a member of a professional organization like the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists can help keep you current with the profession. You’ll receive journals 1 to 2 times per month that discuss new medications and clinical studies.
5. Mentor student pharmacists.
Giving back to the profession is very rewarding. Contact your local pharmacy school to learn about opportunities to serve as a pharmacy preceptor.
Many pharmacy schools also invite alumni to serve on committees. In any case, stay connected to the pharmacy community.
I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Pre-NAPLEX. nabp.net/programs/examination/pre-naplex/. Accessed May 24, 2016.
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. CPE monitor. nabp.net/. Accessed May 24, 2016.
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSUâ€™s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriffâ€™s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriffâ€™s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2