Please Help!!!!!!

Nurses General Nursing


Hi everyone! I'm Brittnee, a 2nd year student at the University of Texas at Austin. I have been studying pharmacy since I got here, but now I am considering changing to Nursing (BSN/RN) and then possibly entering a family, neonatal, or pediatric nurse practitioner program, or maybe Physician's Assistant. I am struggling inside right now trying to make a decision about a career path, and would greatly appreciate any advice or experiences you have to offer me. I'll try to make it breif.

I have worked as a pharmacy tech at Walgreen's since I was 16, and I love my job. There are many things I love about pharmacy. It is challenging, a science related field, always something new to learn, fast pace, good pay, clean surroundings (except the occasional cough in my direction, haha), friendly co-workers who respect each other, opportunity for part-time work, and most of all helping patients who come in to get their meds. I love helping people so much, and often times someone will come, and we will end up talking for 20 minutes. I love that. Probably the biggest complaint the pharmacy staff has is lack of one-on-one time with the patients. Maybe it's because I work for a retail chain and they try to cram as much workload per person, but often times we get so busy I feel like a factory worker "Just count out as many pills as you can". That takes away the most rewarding part of my job, and I hear the pharmacists sometimes say the same thing. They are expected to have so many prescriptions ready in a certain time frame that they rarely have time to counsel patients properly on their medications (which is what they went to school for 6 years to do anyway!) Yesterday, for example, we had so many prescriptions that we had to tell people it was going to take 3 hours to get their medicine ready. We don't want them to have to wait that long, but we physically don't have enough manpower or staff to get it done sooner. It feels so wrong to make somebody wait that long for their medicine when you know they need it right away. I started thinking about nursing because I thought it would allow me to form closer relationships with people, make a connection with them, and feel like I genuinely helped them. I have always been a people person, and without a personal connection to someone my life feels meaningless. That's what gets me going. There are so many times I am at the checkout counter with someone for 30 seconds, talking to them as I ring up their medication, thinking to myself how amazing it would be to have a person-to-person conversation with them - about anything. I just wish there was more interaction with people. I brought up my thoughts of changing to nursing at work the other day, and one of the pharmacists said "Don't DO IT!!! Bad idea, we don't have time to talk about it now but just whatever you do, don't do it. Nurses are overworked and underpaid." Is this true?

I came to college so certain I wanted to study pharmacy and become a pharmacist someday, but now I have started to question my innermost self as to why I even want to do it. I think mostly it just made sense, because I already "had my foot in the door". But, I went over to the nursing building today and walked around, just to get a feel for the environment and types of students/faculty. I don't know how much intuitive feelings should play a part in my decision, but I have to say that whenever I was walking around in there peering into the classrooms, I felt like I belonged there. Everyone I passed in the hallway smiled at me, genuinely, and asked how I was doing. I felt such a positive radiance in the air. This might sound silly. But that's my point! All these mixed feelings are making me crazy! And I really need to make the decision soon because I am supposed to start pharmacy school in the fall and if I want to make a change it's pretty much now or never since I have to send in applications soon.

I talked to my cousin earlier today (whose parents are head of the respitory therapy department for 25+ years) and she was basically telling me to think about the pay. She was saying that in the end when I have my own family I am going to want to job with the best pay for my hours so I can have more time for my family. It just is hard to keep my own judgment straight when I've got friends and family on different sides of the fence.

What do you all think? Do you think the rewards of nursing are also found in pharmacy, but it is just my job that doesn't let me see that aspect of pharmacy? Do you think the complaints I have about pharmacy are also found in nursing? What do you love/dislike about nursing? What are the best nurse jobs? Are you paid fairly for your work? Which nurse specialties seem to be the most rewarding? Comments from anyone are welcome, and I would especially love to hear advice or past experiences from some nurses out there.


630 Posts

Specializes in OB, Telephone Triage, Chart Review/Code.

Hey Brit...I'm sure you could find a lot of answers to your questions just from reading other threads on the board.

I am sure that most jobs entail dissatisfaction anywhere you go. Mostly it is what you can put up with.

You most likely have a good knowledge base of pharmacology and this could help you in nursing school. I'm sure you also have some problem-solving skills that would be put to good use.

In nursing, there are a lot of areas that you could get into if you are not satisfied with where you currently are.

For me, it is the challenge. I know I don't like or accept the way things are done in nursing, but I accept the choice I made and do all I can to make sure my patients get the very best care from me. That is what drives me.


2,719 Posts

Nurses do not have enough time for their patients. We do not have the needed time to educate them.

You mentioned that you liked the clean enviorment of the pharmacy (except for an occasional cough) Nursing is not clean. It is one of the dirtiest areas of health care.

I am not trying to discourage you from nursing. Just trying to give you the info you requested.

Perhaps you need to step back and maybe take a break from school. Don't make a decision just yet.

Go out and get a job as a CNA. Shadow a nurse, shadow an APN, a PA, and anthing else you are thinking about. Don't limit your shadowing to one or two days. That would give too distorted a view of any field. Shadow for a week.

Some hospitals offer programs where you can follow different disaplines like this.

Talk to people in the professions that you are considering. Maybe you need to get a general science degree and make a decision later. Perhaps you degree should not focus on just one specific profession, because it sounds like you are not ready to make such an irreversable decision at this time in your life.

It sounds like you are quite young and it is natural for young people to feel they must make a decision today. You can take a break from school you can take the time. Nothing bad will happen the world and your "chance" will not pass you by. Imagine spending years studying for one specific profession and the money spent only to discover it is completely wrong for you. But you no longer have the resources to change direction because you used them up.

Take the time now. Go work in the world. Life is a great educator.


415 Posts

Can't believe I'm writing this but, stay in pharmacy.

1. There are more options for employment. You can work in a hospital, retail, or sales. Heck you can even be your own boss and own a drug store.

2. The money and hours are better. Pharmacists are one of the highest paid hospital employees. And if you go to work in sales for a pharm. company you get stock options and great retirement.

3. Pharmacists are considered professionals because of their required college degree and advanced study.

4. Pharmacists don't have the health related job injuries that nurses do -- limited heavy lifting, limited exposure to disease, etc.

5. It's a profession that is always in demand and not because those who are pharmacists drop out of the profession after a few years of practice as with nursing.

If I knew 25 years ago what I know today I would have gone to pharmacy school or bought Microsoft when it was $10 a share.


221 Posts

picking a career because you feel like you belong with those

doing the job

is how I picked nursing

maybe you could check with your school's career center

and take some vocational tests of your interests, values, skills, and personality

best of luck

Specializes in ER - trauma/cardiac/burns. IV start spec.

Pharmacy is a good practice, it offers many rewards that nursing cannot. Do not jump into nursing or NP or PA school until to talk to many people already in those fields. If I had known 10 years ago all that I have learned since I would have at least not stopped until I had my NP.

You are still young. I know that statements like that tend to drive you nuts but the current average age of new nurses is 35+. I was 40 when I graduated and have mentored many new nurses in their 20's. I cannot remember but 1 that stayed in nursing. Nursing is hard, dirty (including body wastes), stressful, often no chance for advancement. Hospitals currently do not have the commitment to make nursing better. If you work on a floor you may be caring for 10+ patients. How much time can you spend one on one that way? In critical care you might have 2 or 3. Can't develop much with the patient but maybe you can with the families. Then of course there will be the family that argues about every procedure done for the patient and they won't leave you alone long enough to care for your pt. Perhaps Emergency would interest you. You might see as few as 40 or as many as 80 patients in 12 hours. How much one on one time can you spend with the pts.? :confused:

Every job comes with trade offs. In our area there is a pharmacy that specializes in customer service. They are not a national chain and many o us thought that it would close but instead it has 4 or 5 locations in our tricounty area. It only sells RX and related medical supplies. The pharmicist will spend as much time as needed with each customer.

You have to others and not family!!!!!!

Good luck...........


77 Posts

Hi Britnee

I sort of know how you are feeling. I left a job in social services to return to nursing school. Prior to that I had also considered becoming a radiation therapist but chose nursing because of the unlimited posibilities. once i beging working, if i decide to move to another area of nursing i can. i couldnt do that with radiation therapy. the career options with nursing are very diverse..but some of the complaints you have about pharmacy are also present in nursing.. have you thought about the different areas you could practice pharmacy? at the hospital i do a rotation at they have pharmacists who are very involved in patient care and they do lots of explaining and interacting with staff some more research before you make the big decision...try to arrange a shadow type experience with a nurse and read up on the threads on these message boards.. i have found that in nursing school you hear a lot about the ideals but then when you get into practice you need to make some adjustments because the ideals just cant be attained..good luck with your decision


2,719 Posts

I once knew a pharm tech who had worked with many pharmasist and stated she did not know one who was happy with being a pharmisist.

I have worked very closely with several and gotten to know them well. In most cases the distaste for their choice of professions was very obvious once I got to really know them.

Listen to nurses talk about pharmace and we see $$$$ and an "easy job" However, once I developed this close relationship and I heard and saw what when on in the pharmacy I would not call it an easy nor stress free job. Granted the pharmasist I knew were hospital not retail.

Don't ask nuses about pharmacy and don't ask pharmisist about nursing.

Do your own checking and deside for yourself.

No job is easy. You have to find your nitch and do what you love.

Your desire to connect with people may lead you to somthing not at all related to health care. Give yourself time to explore and find your place.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X