A career in hospital pharmacy is rewarding, but competition is intense. This article will give you an idea of what the job entails and what you can do to increase your chances of landing the coveted staff pharmacist position.
Hospital pharmacists work with healthcare professionals to provide the best treatment options for patients. The pharmacist checks orders for drugs for potential side effects and drug interactions and dispenses the medications. Hospital pharmacists may also prepare IV bags and TPN solutions for infusion, oral syringes with specific doses, and creams or ointments, but in many cases the hospital pharmacist supervises pharmacy technicians for drug preparation and checks the finished product prior to dispensing to patients. At some hospitals, pharmacists also make home visits to provide patient counseling to patients that have been discharged from the hospital with medications to ensure proper use.
In the United States, hospital pharmacists can make over $53.00 per hour with an annual salary over $110,000 a year. To become a hospital pharmacist, you need a pharmacist license for the state that the hospital is located in. Licensure information for each state can be found in this list. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.
In addition to getting a pharmacist license, it is helpful to go through a 2 year residency program after pharmacy school to get a job at a hospital. Not only will this give you additional hands on experience, but it will also let you network with other healthcare professionals. It is also beneficial to work as a pharmacy technician during school and to learn as much about the hospital pharmacy as you can before applying for a job.
Hospital pharmacists can advance to a pharmacist in charge (PIC) position or a director of pharmacy position to take on additional responsibilities.