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Nursing School vs. Pharmacy School

Pre-Nursing   (65,570 Views 32 Comments)
by Pumpkin1621 Pumpkin1621 (Member)

4,129 Profile Views; 179 Posts

I was hoping you guys could tell me what you would do in my situation. I know that I am the one who must decide, but I'm looking for advice.

I have just found out that I could complete pharmacy school in 6 years. My ultimate career goal is a six figure salary. I am a people person and that is what attracted me to nursing. I was interested in being a CRNA. It would take me about 7.5-8 years to be a CRNA if they accepted me in the school with minimum work experience. I am a single parent and I want to be able to support both of us with a good salary, but I also want to have decent work hours. I have heard that pharmacists work 40 hour weeks, have good pay, and can still have the patient contact that I feel I need in a career... I always had the misunderstanding that Pharmacists stood behind the counter counting pills all day (boring!). I have good grades and I am good at Chemistry. I'm just not quite sure what to do. How should I make my decision? Thanks

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144 Posts; 3,168 Profile Views

I was hoping you guys could tell me what you would do in my situation. I know that I am the one who must decide, but I'm looking for advice.

I have just found out that I could complete pharmacy school in 6 years. My ultimate career goal is a six figure salary. I am a people person and that is what attracted me to nursing. I was interested in being a CRNA. It would take me about 7.5-8 years to be a CRNA if they accepted me in the school with minimum work experience. I am a single parent and I want to be able to support both of us with a good salary, but I also want to have decent work hours. I have heard that pharmacists work 40 hour weeks, have good pay, and can still have the patient contact that I feel I need in a career... I always had the misunderstanding that Pharmacists stood behind the counter counting pills all day (boring!). I have good grades and I am good at Chemistry. I'm just not quite sure what to do. How should I make my decision? Thanks

Hi,

My sister is actually in Pharmacy school now. The PharmD program is actually 4 years long and 2 years of prereqs. When she is done she will be making at min. 80k. I think most Pharmacists make atleast 50 dollars an hour. Nevertheless, there are many career options and not just in retail pharmacy. I can tell you though it is an extremely hard job and high stress. You really have to be academically on top of it from the get-go.

This year I will be starting a MSN program and that will offer different challeges. I know however Pharmacy school is a lot more competitive to get into. They seem to require a lot more than nursing. My sister had to take University level chem and bio classes (which are premed classes). You also have to have awesome grades. Nursing school just requires you take classes from any college. You also have to take the PCAT (somewhat like the MCAT).

My sister also has to do the same medical stuff as med students. She has worked with cavadavers, worked on a live operation of a rabbit and ANP class that is 2x as hard as most ANP classes. She also has done a lot to get in. She literally spent three years of her life devoted to getting in.

dont get me wrong, I think Nursing is ideal for me because I love the speciality that I will be starting. Both careers are challenging and competitive. My sister loves Pharmacy, but she is always saying that her salary at the end of it will not be worth it because of what she has gone through in school. Therefore, she isnt doing the program for the money. Patient contact in Pharmacy is not as much as in nursing however.

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kstec has 1 years experience as a LPN and specializes in Geriatrics/Family Practice.

483 Posts; 8,380 Profile Views

GO THE PHARMACIST ROUTE!!!!!! More money and less B.S. I know a pharmacy manager at a small clinic with a small pharmacy and he makes appx. $150,000/year. If I had to do it all over again and was alot younger I'd definitely do the pharmacist route. Most pharmacist don't burn out nearly as much as nurses do.

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226 Posts; 2,877 Profile Views

Best of luck in all that you do.

Some may choose to slam you because of the $$$ element of the post, but that's why we work if not we would all be volunteering. :)

Some people work for the money, schedule or benefits, and I am one of them too. I've thought about Pharmacy as well.

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541 Posts; 6,109 Profile Views

I was in your exact situation five years ago. I was accepted into an accelerated PharmD program and I would be finishing next year if I had gone through with it. I have regretted my decision to become a nurse many times, but life takes many twists and turns and I believe that there is a reason that I became a nurse instead. Both nursing and pharmacy hold a lot of opportunities, but the jobs are quite different. I would recommend taking time to shadow both pharmacists and nurses in different settings.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being concerned with salary, I would not choose a career based on salary alone. I have found out the hard way that money matters very little if you dislike a job. Noone could offer me enough money to go back to staff nursing. Even if it were a six-figure job! Please do some very thorough research before making a final decision.

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114 Posts; 1,784 Profile Views

Honey, if there is ANYTHING you can see yourself being happy doing for a career...do that. Nursing is a great career, but the stress and heartache and sweat and neurosis that goes into it just isn't worth it if you can be happy doing something else.

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2,441 Posts; 14,298 Profile Views

I think the keyword there is Pharmacy Manager, and he is probably over other stores.l...years of experience, etc.

Many states have bumped up Pharmacy to a doctorate-only level.

$80 to $90K is about right when you get out of school and are new. Pharmacy school is also about $26K a year.

If you are good at Chemistry, etc...why not med school? Same amount of time.

I'm going for my NNP..it will take me 7 years from today to finish everything...I could have completed med-school in the same amount of time, but alas, Chemistry is my weak point.

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2,801 Posts; 13,325 Profile Views

If you're a people person, CRNA doesn't sound like a line of work you'd be interested in. After all, the patients are under most of the time. Also, do some research into pharmacy as well. It seems that they're more likely be behind the scenes, though there are signs that the pharmacist role might be expanding somewhat in the retail arena. Keep in mind that RNs can come to demand a pretty good wage depending on experience, specialty and geographic area. Also, have you looked into the NP role? You're not as likely to get six figures but it should be enough to support a family on.

You'd probably do well to see if you could find and interview some people working in the areas you're considering.

Good luck!

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179 Posts; 4,129 Profile Views

I think the keyword there is Pharmacy Manager, and he is probably over other stores.l...years of experience, etc.

Many states have bumped up Pharmacy to a doctorate-only level.

$80 to $90K is about right when you get out of school and are new. Pharmacy school is also about $26K a year.

If you are good at Chemistry, etc...why not med school? Same amount of time.

I'm going for my NNP..it will take me 7 years from today to finish everything...I could have completed med-school in the same amount of time, but alas, Chemistry is my weak point.

Starting salary for Pharmacists where I live is 90-100k, and the average salary for those with experience is anywhere from 110k-120k. Like I said earlier it would take me 6 years to get a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy), and the 40 hour work weeks are very appealing. It would take me 3 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, and a minimum 3 years of residency to be a doctor. That is 10 years, and they work a lot more than 40 hours a week.

I have asked about shadowing a pharmacist, and I am supposed to hear back from her on Wednesday. She said she has to make sure that it won't violate HIPPA laws.

I called an aunt of mine and told her my choices. I had no idea, but I have 3 cousins who are pharmacists. So she gave me their phone numbers in case I had any questions.

I love hearing responses from those who have made a decision similar to mine and what factored into the decision they made.

Thanks for all the replys.

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MikeyJ is a RN and specializes in Peds, PICU, Home health, Dialysis.

1,124 Posts; 9,290 Profile Views

O.k. I have shadowed in a hospital pharmacy and a retail pharmacy -- one word comes to mind regarding the pharmacists job... BORING!! If you can forsee yourself sitting in a pharmacy all day long and counting medications, double checking the pharmacy technicians work and putting in orders, then go for it.

My uncle is a pharmacist at a Wal-Greens and he absolutely despises the entire profession. There is almost no contact with the clients (except those who want the pharmacist to explain the drug they are taking) and he said the job requires very little "skill" or "knowledge" anymore because there are so many new drugs coming out and everything is computerized. He makes amazing money but he always wishes he would have gone with a career with patient contact.

And secondly, after studying pharmacology in nursing school, I couldn't imagine studying that material for 4 years! :barf01:

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MikeyJ is a RN and specializes in Peds, PICU, Home health, Dialysis.

1,124 Posts; 9,290 Profile Views

I think the keyword there is Pharmacy Manager, and he is probably over other stores.l...years of experience, etc.

Many states have bumped up Pharmacy to a doctorate-only level.

$80 to $90K is about right when you get out of school and are new. Pharmacy school is also about $26K a year.

If you are good at Chemistry, etc...why not med school? Same amount of time.

I'm going for my NNP..it will take me 7 years from today to finish everything...I could have completed med-school in the same amount of time, but alas, Chemistry is my weak point.

Hopefull -- 7 years would not get you through the medicine route. 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, and minimum of 3 years of residency (11+ years).

Also, a weakness in chemistry wouldn't at all predict how someone would do in medical school. Very little chemistry in med school with the exception of a biochemistry class.

Kind of off topic but I know of a 2nd year OB/GYN resident who was telling me that she is a former nurse. She told me that she found nursing school to be far more difficult than med school. Surely, medical school was far more time consuming, but medical school is basically memorizing a plethra of information and spitting it back out on an exam. She was telling me that in nursing school she had to think! haha.. it was kind of funny..

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2,801 Posts; 13,325 Profile Views

Also, a weakness in chemistry wouldn't at all predict how someone would do in medical school. Very little chemistry in med school with the exception of a biochemistry class.

But a weakness in chemistry could keep one from getting into med school to begin with. If one's not too strong in it, it might bring their GPA down making them less competitive for a spot in med school.

Kind of off topic but I know of a 2nd year OB/GYN resident who was telling me that she is a former nurse. She told me that she found nursing school to be far more difficult than med school. Surely, medical school was far more time consuming, but medical school is basically memorizing a plethra of information and spitting it back out on an exam. She was telling me that in nursing school she had to think! haha.. it was kind of funny..

It think it depends on the type of learning a person is used to as well as their specific school and instructors. To me, nursing school and nursing pre-reqs felt like a lot more like memorization than the pre-med pre-reqs I took when I was a bio major. I can't compare my experience to medical school as I haven't been! I could imagine that more the heavily emphasized psychsocial components of a nursing education might be a welcome change of thought processing from a medical education.

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