ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

September 22, 2011

ASHP Midyear Back in the Big Easy

The 2011 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition returns to New Orleans bigger and
better than ever. New Orleans native son James Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, will kick off the meeting at the Opening General Session by providing their unique spin on current
events in Washington.

A focus on pharmacy practice change will be evident in this year’s educational programming. Therapeutic topics run the gamut, from infectious diseases and diabetes to hypertension, anticoagulation, and critical care.

Sessions range from basic to advanced content and last from one hour, sure to fit in a busy schedule, to an in-depth three hours. Attendees will also be able to take advantage of a six-hour learning community and full-day workshops on topics like pharmacy leadership, the Residency Learning System, and more.

Of course, no trip to an ASHP Midyear would be complete without a visit to the Exhibit Hall, where you can see exciting pharmacy innovations. And pharmacists looking to advance their careers have the opportunity to utilize CareerPharm’s Personal Placement Service or attend the Residency Showcase.

December 26, 2010

Pharmacy Job Market Changing

Richard Montgom­ery, R.Ph., MBA, administrative director of pharmacy at Florida Hospital in Orlando

newly minted pharmacists were assured of placement in their desired residencies and jobs. With a broad job market and options in hospital, health-system, and community retail pharmacy, recent graduates were offered signing bonuses by recruiters and hiring managers eager to fill open slots.

Today’s graduates, however, may need to make a few concessions if they want to be gainfully employed, particularly when it comes to location. According to figures posted by the Pharmacy Manpower Project, which compiles and analyzes data to determine the demand for pharmacists by state and geographic region, there appears to be a dip in demand for pharmacists in New England and the Mid Atlantic. Likewise, competition is heating up for hospital positions in urban areas, particularly in states where there are several pharmacy schools.

Increased Competition

Several factors are affecting the pharmacy job market, according to Richard Montgomery, R.Ph., MBA, administrative director of pharmacy at Florida Hospital in Orlando.

“We used to compete with retail chains [for pharmacists]” said Montgomery, “but now that we have multiple pharmacy schools in state, the pool of applicants has increased even as retail chains have gone to a centralized fill model requiring fewer pharmacists on staff.” Hospital cutbacks due to reduced patient volume are also complicating the picture.

Nicole Metzger, Pharm.D., BCPS, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Mercer University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Atlanta, has noticed a tightening in the market as well.

“When I graduated in 2006, there was room for salary and benefit negotiation,” Metzger said. “Qualified students who wanted to do a residency easily found programs to fit their needs. In contrast, last year many graduates in the area were struggling to find work and had to relocate to more rural areas to ensure employment.”

Metzger’s words describe a broader trend, one affecting young pharmacists and residents like Jessica B. Winter, Pharm.D., PGY1 pharmacy practice resident at UC Health–University Hospital in Cincinnati.

“I do worry about job placement after my completion of a PGY2 residency next year,” Winter said. “I’m sure I’ll have to be flexible in terms of location and salary. With seven schools of pharmacy in the state, positions in more densely populated areas like Cincinnati are harder to come by.”

Make It Work

%%sidebar%%Although there appears to be a decrease in demand in certain geographic areas, there is still plenty of work for clinical pharmacists. For those willing to go west, there are more jobs than pharmacists in the south-central region of the country (Ark., La., Okla., and Tex.) and the Pacific region (Alaska, Calif., Hawaii, Ore., and Wash.). Rural areas are another option.

Location isn’t everything, however. New practitioners can take a number of steps to appeal to recruiters and pharmacy directors, including being flexible regarding the kinds of jobs one is willing to take, according to Montgomery.

“Take a part-time or per diem job, work that odd shift, and show that you can be part of the team,” he said. “Try to find a niche; many pharmacists have built their careers by seeing an opportunity and running with it. The more creative and entrepreneurial you can be, the better your chances are.”

Taking advantage of leadership opportunities in professional associations such as ASHP is a great way to gain a foothold in a tight hiring market, according to ASHP President Diane Ginsburg, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP. “Getting involved in a large community of successful practitioners allows you to hone your leadership skills,” she said. “Tapping into that network also gives you access to some of the top leaders in health-system pharmacy.”

Finally, Metzger suggests getting involved in research or scholarly activity to work toward becoming a well-rounded professional. “The more skills you have, the more leadership positions you fill, and the more you network, the more it will set you apart,” she said.

June 1, 2010

Not Your Average Pharmacy Job

Left to right: James A. Jorgenson, M.S., Vernie R. Coleman Daniels, M.S., Laurel Kinosian, FSVHP

PRACTICING PHARMACY IN A HOSPITAL OR HEALTH SYSTEM is a challenging and exciting field with abundant career opportunities. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to pursue a nontraditional career path? Although most ASHP members practice in hospitals and health systems, some clinical pharmacists work in unexpected places.

“There are so many things pharmacists have the skill sets to do,” said Vernie R. Coleman Daniels, M.S., a research pharmacist employed by acontractor who does pharmaceutical research at Johnson Space Center in Houston. “I never would have imagined when I was in pharmacy school that I’d be doing what I’m doing today,” Daniels said, adding that opportunities for pharmacists exist in a broad range of alternative environments.

Out of This World
For Daniels, working with NASA is a path of discovery. “Medications and drug delivery systems work differently in a weightless environment,” she said. “The information in the literature about standard forms and doses may or may not be applicable. The setting is harsh.”

Zero gravity is the most obvious difference between earth and space, Daniels said, but temperature, humidity, radiation, vibration, and storage logistics are also variables that can influence a medication’s performance in space.

“We have to become creative when considering dosage forms and dosage delivery systems, which may not work the same way in the space environment as they do on earth,” Daniels said. “The blessing is that our patient population is healthy, requiring little or no pharmacotherapeutic intervention. However, should the need arise, our job is to ensure that safe and effective medication is available.”

Going for Gold
James A. Jorgenson, M.S., executive director of pharmacy at Clarian Health Methodist Hospital’s Department of Pharmacy, Indianapolis, also had the opportunity to work with patients who, though quite healthy, came with their own set of challenges: He provided pharmacy services on-site at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. At the time, he was employed at the University of Utah, whose campus served as the Olympic Village. Having played college ice hockey and being a fan of numerous sports, Jorgenson jumped at the opportunity.

From the get-go, Jorgenson and his team had to tap into their own resources of ingenuity. “We thought there would be data from previous Olympics, but there wasn’t,” he said. “We had to design the forms and create the list of banned substances from scratch. “We had to work with about 20 different pharmacopeias in addition to learning which drugs might get an athlete into trouble.”

They also worked with Pfizer Inc. to create a drug information center for the athletes, their families, and visitors from all over the world—a potential patient population of nearly 250,000 people. “Fortunately, the Olympic Committee provided interpreters,” Jorgenson said.

Although no one can be sure when the U.S. will host the Olympics next, there are opportunities to get involved in pharmacy for athletes, Jorgenson said. “There are banned substances in every major sports league, which creates an opportunity for education,” he said. “In fact, I don’t know of any league that has a good education program, so that’s something to explore.”

All Creatures Great and Small
Interpreters may have helped Jorgenson at the Olympics, but they wouldn’t be of much assistance to Laurel Kinosian, FSVHP. As a clinical instructor of pharmacy with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and president of the Society of Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists, Kinosian works with patients that bark, yip, growl, meow, squawk, hiss, or simply look at her.

Veterinary pharmacists have many of the same clinical and administrative responsibilities as their counterparts in hospital pharmacy. Compounded medications must comply with requirements of state and provincial boards of pharmacy, federal regulations, and legislative statutes, much like those created for human patients.

However, animals present a plethora of unique challenges. For one thing, many veterinarians prescribe human medications for use in animals. Because of this cross-species use, veterinary pharmacists must be research-oriented and curious, said Kinosian.

“How do I get this drug into this animal? Is there any dosing information? Is there anything in the literature about this drug in this species?” she said. “You can’t make assumptions from one species to another, and the answers aren’t necessarily written in a book somewhere.”

To that end, veterinary pharmacists often turn to one another. “Veterinary pharmacy is a smaller world than human pharmacy,” Kinosian said. “That’s one of the best parts about it for me. We all get to know each other, and everyone helps.”

Getting Started
If you are interested in exploring all the options available for pharmacists who practice within hospitals and health systems, take a look at ASHP’s CareerPharm website or the information and resources on ASHP’s website.

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