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Daily Schedule ?

I am a senior high school looking to go into pharmacy. #pharmacy

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Subject: Career question for you

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Anthony’s Answer

Hi Taylor,

The answer to this question depends entirely on where you work and your position. However, I see from your other questions that you are primarily interested in areas in a pharmacy outside of the retail setting. These positions usually have a much more detailed schedule than retail pharmacists. Many of these pharmacists work 9-5 jobs in a hospital or office, although they sometimes are forced to pick up additional shifts. For example, I know some clinical pharmacists in a hospital who work 9-5 Monday through Friday and pick up extra shifts in the outpatient pharmacy on the weekends.

Although your other questions point to having little interest in retail pharmacy, I did want to discuss the retail pharmacist schedule as it is not unlikely you will encounter it at some point in your career. Unfortunately, it is a bit confusing at first glance.

I work as a pharmacist in a major retail setting and work 12-hour shifts (8 am to 8 pm) during the week and 9-hour shifts (9 am to 6 pm) on the weekends. However, I do not work five days a week, and my schedule goes as follows; I work every Monday and Thursday, every other weekend, and if I work Sunday, I also work the following Wednesday. Through this schedule, I am only forced to work back-to-back 12-hour shifts once every other week, and I also have off two days in a row every other week and a three-day weekend every other week. Also, this schedule allows you to strategically request one day off and have off for five days in a row. It seems a bit confusing, but if you map it out, it looks something like this over two weeks:

Su M Tu W Th F S
Off On Off Off On Off On
On On Off On On Off Off

This schedule is very popular among retail pharmacists, especially those who only have one other pharmacist at their store. However, there is also a variation of this schedule where the pharmacists work half days every Wednesday instead of full days every other Wednesday.

I also wanted to mention the holidays briefly. Unfortunately, patients get sick year-round on every day of the year. Therefore, you will likely end up working on holidays as a pharmacist. Many organizations have policies around trading holidays throughout the years to ensure every pharmacist is not working every holiday or the same holiday repeatedly, but it is something to consider.

Best,
Anthony
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Maribel’s Answer

Hello Taylor,

My first pharmacist job was in retail and as previously mentioned, the schedule could be a bit complicated due to some 12 hour shifts, weekend and holiday coverage but that being said, since you work some weekends, you are off some weekdays which is nice. Having a day off on the a weekday gives you the opportunity to go your appointments (MD, bank, etc) without asking for a day off from your employer so you don’t use your vacation hours. I used to work every other weekend and work some holidays but not all.

After working retail, I worked for multiple specialty pharmacies and the schedule was usually Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm or 9 am to 5 pm, some close at 6 pm. I did on-call on the weekend which rotates among all the other pharmacists.

I also have a friend who does work from home prescription verification which according to her has flexible schedule.

Hope these different scenarios answered your question.

Best,
Maribel
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Sonja’s Answer

Hi Taylor,
I have worked in various hospital settings over my career span. Schedules depend on the hospital. Typically, you would work an 8 to 10 hour schedule several days a week and probably every other weekend and holiday.
In my previous post, I stated that I am in a unique setting. I work 10 hour shifts. One week Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (30 hours) and the other week Wednesday thru Sunday (50 hours). It works for me because I get 4 days off every other week. Our hospital is less than 50 beds and our outpatient is closed on the weekend. In comparison to other hospitals, our stress level is pretty low. There are many different options for pharmacists now than when I first started.
Hope this helps.
Sonja
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