Pharmacist-turned-RN?

  1. 1
    I'm a residency-trained hospital clinical pharmacist, and in general I like my job, but I've always been curious how I'd like the nursing field. Some of the nurses I've had the pleasure to work with over the years have been simply amazing in terms of the compassionate care they give patients, and while arguing with doctors/residents about medication therapy has its up-sides, I feel like nursing care is a more meaningful job.

    I came onto allnurses to see if anyone has made the pharmacist-to-RN transition, and how/why? There's tons of information out there about RN's-turned-pharmacists (? maybe because of the money?), but virtually nothing in the other direction.
    priorities2 likes this.
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  4. 20 Comments so far...

  5. 8
    Quite honestly, I've never heard of a pharmacist coming into the nursing field. That's not to say you can't do it, but I'd imagine it isn't very common.

    PS--don't put away your negotiating skills--you will still be arguing with docs about medications.
    gonzo1, Quit Floating Me, KelRN215, and 5 others like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from Lizbird5807
    I'm a residency-trained hospital clinical pharmacist, and in general I like my job, but I've always been curious how I'd like the nursing field. Some of the nurses I've had the pleasure to work with over the years have been simply amazing in terms of the compassionate care they give patients, and while arguing with doctors/residents about medication therapy has its up-sides, I feel like nursing care is a more meaningful job.

    I came onto allnurses to see if anyone has made the pharmacist-to-RN transition, and how/why? There's tons of information out there about RN's-turned-pharmacists (? maybe because of the money?), but virtually nothing in the other direction.
    I think your skills and education would be a great asset..but I think you might want to try becoming an NP or PA instead. As a staff nurse, your knowledge of medications will be useful but there are so many other things a nurse has to do you will rarely get to even use that knowledge.
    KimberlyRN89 likes this.
  7. 0
    Never heard of this. I have met a MD who was a pharmacist before.
  8. 0
    The starting pay for retail pharmacists is well over 100K. The length of time to complete the degree, and the debt values, match the starting salaries. But I have l have always wondered how anyone can stand such a dull job, big bucks, or not. My father was a pharmacist, but back then it was wildy different. Now, today, they stand in the back and monitor the techs, might consult with the patients, but really? What does the job involve? In a hospital, it may be more exciting- if there is any compounding to be done, for example, but surely the pay is far lower. If you are bored out of your head, I understand. But there are 'zero' nursing jobs anywhere, keep that in mind!
  9. 3
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    PS--don't put away your negotiating skills--you will still be arguing with docs about medications.
    Yep... s/he'll just get less consideration when doing it as an RN than as an RPh.
    gonzo1, KelRN215, and SoldierNurse22 like this.
  10. 8
    Liz,

    I don't have to tell you how many times you have saved the MD/DOs butts and the RNs about the administer a medication. The nurse's gut feeling that something isn't quite right is either confirmed or their fears allayed by the PharmD on the floor.

    One of my favorite physicians is also a PharmD. That background has helped him greatly as an allopathic medical provider. You're on a nursing board, so I would presume most of us are biased towards our field, but I think you could serve patients in a greater capacity by becoming a Physician. I have met some incredibly caring docs that have the bedside manner of the best nurse, but their scope enables them to do so much more than the RN at the bedside.

    I think it is wonderful that you are considering becoming a nurse, but you'd have to be willing to take a huge pay cut and your relative "scope" would decrease. I think as a Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, or Physician, you would be much more comfortable with the pay, the responsibility, and the ability to do some great good for people in need. Rather than arguing with docs on what to order, you'd be doing the ordering. As a floor nurse, you'd still be arguing and likely with less of a leg to stand-on unless they knew you were also a pharmacist.

    As a floor nurse, I know the days are tough, but you can really make a difference. So, at the end of the day, if that is what your heart desires, I say go for it . Bottom line is that your pharmacist background will only make you better at whatever you do.

    Best wishes with your decision.
    PresentPotion, gonzo1, CNACJ, and 5 others like this.
  11. 1
    I hope you don't underestimate the importance of excellent, compassionate pharmacists. I truly appreciate the pharmacists I work with and rely on them for advice, information, etc. So do the patients and doctors.
    gonzo1 likes this.
  12. 0
    Not to be negative, but compassion really does not seem like an essential quality to be looking for in pharmacists. People will turn around and tell you about how they want compassionate nurses and compassionate physicians caring for them. I've never anyone laud the "compassionate pharmacists" at the hospital or drug store though. It's a position in which brains are really all you need.
  13. 0
    I'm going to go with the others and say your skills and knowledge would be put to better use with prescriptive authority. Nurses have a lot of knowledge about the medications pertaining to their specialties, but don't have the autonomy to do much more than argue with/persuade doctors to make changes they find necessary.
    A big part of a nurse's job (for now) is educating patients. Just think of the education you'd be able to provide your patients about the medications you'd prescribe if you were an NP, PA or MD. I've had questions about my medications, side effects and reactions with other medications, and while I have had doctors who were great and would actually call a pharmacist themselves to ask, I've had others to tell me to just ask the pharmacist when I pick it up. What a boon you'd be to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers! And should anything ever have to (God forbid) go to court, you'd have a superior ability to articulate your rationale.

    Unless you're totally sick of being a pharmacist and really want to clean up poop and puke and provide wound care, and not get a job for two years after you graduate because there aren't any. Then go for it.


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