After graduation, the pressure was on.
1. Study for the boards, and start early.
After graduation the pressure was on. My class was told repeatedly by the dean about the importance of passing boards and also about the decreasing pass rate of the new NAPLEX format. I was able to pass both of my boards on the first try after studying for many hours. My advice to all the new graduates out there is to study, study, study. The NAPLEX is not something you can cram for and although it is possible for some people, it is not the right decision in the long run. You have to realize that what you are preparing for, or really what you HAVE been preparing for these last few years was not solely to pass a test but so that you can be the best pharmacist that you could possibly be. Pay attention to the lectures if you still are in school and make sure to start preparing for boards early because you will not regret it in the long run.
2. Ask questions as an intern.
The first day as a licensed pharmacist may be scary. You now run the show. Everything you verify is now on you and there is no one standing behind you to supervise you or answer any questions that you might have. That’s why as an intern, especially a grad intern, it is very important to ask questions. Do not be afraid to look stupid or don’t even start to think for a second that you are asking too many questions. Always remember that you are there to learn. This is something I had to remind myself to do not only while on rotations but working as an intern at my place of employment. If you have to, bring a notebook, take notes and write everything down you need to know that you feel would help you on the job. It’s really important to know what to do if any errors occur, what forms to fill out, and what procedures you take with emergency situations. Also as you know there are certain jobs that only the pharmacist can do and this is your time to try to master them before being put out to work on your own.
3. Purchase liability insurance.
Many pharmacists I have worked with have liability insurance and have advised me to purchase a plan as well, which I will be doing ASAP. The company you work for will only cover you if you followed procedure exactly and in most cases in the event of a mistake, something may have gone wrong that didn’t exactly fall under their protocol. These situations may place you in some boiling water. In the event of an error, it is good to have complete coverage for yourself. It’s always better safe than sorry.
4. Go above and beyond.
Don’t think of the job as a job. You are a pharmacist and you have the ability to impact a persons life each day that they come into your pharmacy. Remember to have that friendly attitude, offer to counsel on their prescriptions, educate them about smoking cessation and encourage patients to get vaccinated. As a pharmacist you can truly make a difference, so do it.