7 Tips to Re-energize Your Pharmacy Career

When that same ole, same ole" feeling starts to kick in, look for opportunities to expand what you know.

The role of a pharmacist is often underestimated. In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to try a range of pharmacy jobs, including hospital, retail, infusion, and compounding. Each was a terrific new challenge.

But eventually, that “same ole, same ole” feeling starts to kick in, and that’s when I look for opportunities to expand what I know.

Here are 7 tips to re-energize your pharmacy career:

1. Read or listen.

If you don’t love words on a page or screen, this might not be your thing, but for others, it might do the trick.

Find a book that challenges you to understand the clinical side of pharmacy, or opt for a self-improvement book that’ll help you better interact with patients. Definitely pick something that’ll inspire you to reinvest in your day-to-day role.

Maybe you love pharmacology and want to read up on the latest research, or maybe you’re a history buff and you’d like to know the roots of your practice. Whatever your interest, there’s a book or article out there for you.

If you’re running low on time, opt for audio books. Podcasts are another great way to listen to the latest and greatest in the field.

2. Take a class.

Continuing education (CE) classes are offered year-round. Choose a traditional classroom or online setting, whichever your schedule allows. Learn about something that excites you and will boost your confidence back at work.

If you don’t want to take pharmacy-specific CE classes but want to hone other skills, try an improv class to work on your charisma. Or, check out some business classes and get a better understanding about the profitability of your pharmacy.

3. Go to conferences.

They’re not only a great opportunity to learn new things, but they also help you meet new faces. Take time at your next conference to chat up 5 individuals you don’t know and learn what makes their job unique. Compare tips on how to be a better pharmacist and learn about other opportunities in our field.

While you’re there, take advantage of sessions that pique your interest, not just ones that offer CE credits. Check out the booths and learn about other companies and how they support our industry—and, of course, fill your swag bag until it overflows.

4. Pick up extra shifts or fill in at a local pharmacy.

Try your hands at different styles of pharmacy by networking and building relationships in your community. While still working as a hospital pharmacist (my first job), I picked up retail shifts and can honestly say I enjoyed a different setting and pace. Hospital pharmacists occasionally get to work directly in the room with the patient, but the human interaction at a retail space is a whole different experience. Different is often a fun break from your regular gig and a good way to build quality relationships.

5. Network with local pharmacists.

Find pharmacists in your area who are up for dinner or drinks on occasion. Maybe schedule a monthly pub quiz visit. Whatever you do, find like-minded professionals interested in learning more about the industry, and take time to talk through your experiences. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from others.

Some of my closest friends are pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Some I’ve worked with and others I’ve met picking up shifts for fellow pharmacists. At the end of the day, I have a network in the pharma community. We often plan to attend some of the same meetings and conferences, which can be challenging if you work for the same facility. We also plan other activities because we enjoy spending time together outside of the pharmacy.

6. Consider your options.

If you’re truly burnt out and ready to move on, dust off your resume and give applications a go. Take time to learn what you’re looking for in the culture of a new company or the tasks of a new role. Consider trying a different type of career. Pharmacists have many options—especially if you’re willing to get a little creative.

For example, I offer social media assistance to pharmacists who want that extra edge in the community. It keeps me excited about the evolving engagement tools at our disposal and is a great supplement to my day job.

7. Talk it out.

Before you make any major decisions, take the time to discuss your options with a close friend or family member. Schedule a lunch with your boss and discuss opportunities to grow in your current role. Make sure she or he is aware of your challenges and interests so you can plan your path forward together.

If you have a mentor or perhaps a professor who once had your confidence, reach out. Discuss possibilities with these influential contacts and explore leads.

Above all, find something that excites you and make your professional life better, because only you have the tools and understanding to improve your current situation.