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Considering a career change from Pharmacist to Nurse (and eventually NP.. hopefully)

thisaintnoregularhcp specializes in pharmacy.

Hey everyone - just looking to gather some of your valued thoughts and opinions.

I'm a Canadian pharmacist who has been working in retail pharmacy for about 4 years at the management level. I feel like I'm getting very bored with my job due to the repetition and lack of ability to make meaningful changes in patients' lives (especially when you're owned by corporate and "script count" is all that matters). In addition, I have this thirst for knowledge that is not satisfying me by working in a retail pharmacy. There's so much to know but I feel like I'm rotting away just working my retail 9-5 job.

I'm wondering if I should apply to a 2-year accelerated BSN degree, work for 2-3 years in a high acuity ward and then apply for a Masters (nurse practitioner). What appeals to me about being a family nurse practitioner is the ability to physically assess your patients and have a deep understanding of their medical history. In addition, I really admire the level of autonomy and responsibility of this profession. I currently work alongside several NPs as the retail pharmacy I work at is next to a primary care clinic.

I do have a couple concerns though:

Being an RN and NP seem so different.. I'm not sure if I would like the bedside part of being an RN, however, I think I would enjoy an area such as the ER or ICU because there's so much to learn, do, and see.

Cost: I don't have much savings, I can work on weekends as a pharmacist though to help cover the cost of tuition/living expenses. I would obviously be taking a pay cut from my current salary of ~100k (just finished paying off student loans for 6 years of school).

Age: I am almost 30 years old. That means at the earliest I would be an NP at 36 years old.

Difficulty of getting into a masters program - what kind of grades do I need?

Other considerations were to:

Apply to medicine (low chance - GPA is about 80%, decent extracurriculars though, can consider applying after completing BSN to bump GPA up?)

Consider a 2-year comp sci degree (I am interested in computers and have been as a child but have always avoided this path as I didn't want to turn my "fun/interest" into "work".)

Do a pharmacy residency or graduate Doctor of Pharmacy degree

Get out of school altogether and do a trade or become a police officer (both something I'm interested in.)

Has anyone done this or know of anyone who has done this? I haven't made the jump or applied yet but I am strongly considering. Am I just having an early mid-life crisis?

Thanks for reading!

tl;Dr - want to quit job as pharmacist and become NP, looking for insight

Have you considered being a CRNA? Your background would really help. 

thisaintnoregularhcp specializes in pharmacy.

22 minutes ago, damianus said:

Have you considered being a CRNA? Your background would really help. 

We don't have CRNA's in Canada unfortunately.

I’d go md then. Your background would be an amazing help in certain specialties and might help get you through the gate at admissions interviews as a non-traditional medical student. You have nothing to lose by trying. It seems NP is too long of a haul in Canada for the return. You can become an NP in the states in about 3 years with an accelerated BSN/MSN followed by a post masters FNP cert. That quick it makes sense. 
 

if you want a total change of pace become a pharmaceutical sales rep. High pay and you would hold more clout convincing people to switch to your company’s new wonder drug of the week. $$$

Edited by damianus

TriciaJ specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I think your best bet would be to talk to an advisor at the nearest university to map out an algorithm.  It doesn't strike me as worthwhile to get a BSN and then go into medicine.  You would likely be better off going directly into medicine, after you find out which of your previous credits will transfer.

Do not go into law enforcement, except maybe on a volunteer basis as a sideline.  Way too big a paycut for someone who has just paid off student loans.  Not to mention probably rotating shifts, lots of disrespect and being thrown under the bus by your management.  Most people would be begging to get their retail pharmacy job back.

You're still plenty young enough to make career changes and recoup lost wages.  Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

thisaintnoregularhcp specializes in pharmacy.

Thanks TriciaJ,

Only reason for not applying to med is that my grades are not competitive enough. I would have to do a second degree to bring my GPA up.

It appears that the general consensus is that going from a pharmacist to an RN is considered a "step backward".

1 hour ago, thisaintnoregularhcp said:

Thanks TriciaJ,

Only reason for not applying to med is that my grades are not competitive enough. I would have to do a second degree to bring my GPA up.

It appears that the general consensus is that going from a pharmacist to an RN is considered a "step backward".

You are a Pharmacist, yes? You are a non-traditional student. Your maturity, management experience, and education are compensating factors. They very likely would give you a shot just because you are a unique candidate. You have nothing to lose by trying. 

10 hours ago, damianus said:

You are a Pharmacist, yes? You are a non-traditional student. Your maturity, management experience, and education are compensating factors. They very likely would give you a shot just because you are a unique candidate. You have nothing to lose by trying. 

Ditto.  From what I understand, well-rounded candidates with purpose, and backgrounds other than just pre-med are more valuable than just straight “As”.  I was shocked when I read that you are willing to take a 100k pay cut.  I would personally invest in some exciting hobbies to add meaning to my life before I take that pay cut, LOL.

thisaintnoregularhcp specializes in pharmacy.

It would be about a 30k paycut. Currently making ~100k.

My stats are barely above cutoff to even be considered for med. I may have to take a 2 year degree anyways. I guess I'll never find out until I apply.

Thank you all for the advice. I think the message is I'm looking to become a doctor and I figured that being a nurse practitioner would be a shortcut when it obviously is not.

Could you do PharmD and work inpatient? That would seem much more interesting.

What about clinical pharmacist roles? I've always thought that sounded like it would be very mentally stimulating work.

I would not leave a well-paying pharmacy career to get into anything nursing, but I understand that we all have a different set of individual life experiences that form our sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction and our thoughts about what else we might like to do in life.

Good luck with your investigations of your options and finding something that appeals to you ~

Your concern for med school is your grades but they (and your pharm experience) might get you into a foreign med school in the Caribbean.  A friend went many many years ago to one in the Dominican Republic, she easily got a US residency slot and is a pediatrician now.  

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