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.
  2. Visit  Lizbird5807 profile page

    About Lizbird5807

    Joined Jul '13; Posts: 1; Likes: 1.

    20 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  SoldierNurse22 profile page
    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.
  4. Visit  SlyFoxRN profile page
    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.
  5. Visit  anotherone profile page
    0
    Never heard of this. I have met a MD who was a pharmacist before.
  6. Visit  TBlase profile page
    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!
  7. Visit  ♪♫ in my ♥ profile page
    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.
  8. Visit  kChoRN profile page
    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.
  9. Visit  Do-over profile page
    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.
  10. Visit  RNdynamic profile page
    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.
  11. Visit  NurseDirtyBird profile page
    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.
  12. Visit  bendyprissy profile page
    0
    What a heads-up you will have over most with your med knowledge, but it seems like a step down to me. Not trying to dis RN's as I am one but man I would go another avenue unless you're thinking of anesthetics or something.
  13. Visit  SmoothKeys profile page
    1
    Quote from bendyprissy
    It seems like a step down to me. Not trying to dis RN's as I am one.
    As a former pharmacy student, there are many times I do regret leaving the field (was in 2nd year), especially when I read candid replies from actual nurses who see themselves as the bottom of the healthcare chain. Someone mentioned earlier about the debt pharmacists incur being commensurable with the over six-figure debt. While pharmacists make more money than regular RNs/BSNs, the very high salary is just not the same anymore with a lot more pharmacists and the economy.

    Like the OP, I very much wanted to be a clinical pharmacist but it was becoming more difficult realize given my subpar grades. Also, I did not like to memorize drugs. Unlike the OP, I doubt very much I'd consider leaving clinical pharmacy for nursing because there is less physical work and like someone mentioned earlier, it is more intellectual. But one still has to work with supposed colleagues with inflated egos... those who eschew patients' well-being because they want to be in command. Given the OP, I guess every job has their ups and downs, however clichéd.

    While I consider PA, DNP (though I'd have to work my way up) and PhD in science, I continue to research the nursing career because as mentioned on this forum or elsewhere, there are responsibilities. My life situation dictates that I carefully monitor my debt level. Also, the length of the school is a factor. As a clinical pharmacist, I'm sure if you decided to go the nursing route, you could land an administrative position somewhere.

    Also, while the job market is tough, the notion that there is zero job is a bit of an exaggeration. Consider my cousin who graduated last May from a BSN program with honors and subsequently passed her boards (NCLEX) on the first try. She is now commending a good salary and already is making plans for the DNP degree and she was about 22 years old. I think she finds the job a little boring though.

    Finally, I'm just not sure if I will eventually study nursing. And if I had to do it again, I most likely would stay in pharmacy (NOT RETAIL) carefully carving a niche for myself. I actually like calculating pH, learning about the cytochrome p450s that break down drugs, the pathways of drugs in biotransformation in medicial chemistry, the pharmacology and so on. Still, there are many overlaps with all healthcare profession so I should be good either way and I can still continue to learn the above mentioned for my professional maturation. The one difference I found with physiology in pharmacy is that we actually go deeper into how calcium works at the molecular level and must therefore learn second messengers.I can go on... but I'm trying to move on from my bad experience overall.

    So OP stay in clinical pharmacy if you can... or try to become a DNP (medical school might be too costly and time consuming). I, personally, hardly considered medical school. I hope you find peace in your decision.
    CNACJ likes this.
  14. Visit  amoLucia profile page
    0
    Is there any reason OP couldn't practice with both licenses? Two different fields with two different regulatory Boards?

    I know one can't practice as an LPN AND an RN.

    Thinking about it, could one practice as a nurse AND say, a dental hygienist? Again, 2 different fields with 2 different Boards?


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