Hi Dr. Reevers,
My name is Javier and I am interested in pursuing a career in IT Pharmacy. I’ve been perusing your website and you make a great point about becoming a willow pharmacist. Also, I am a 2nd year pharmacy student and would like to know what I can do as of now to pursue IT Pharmacy, especially becoming Epic certified if possible before I enter the labor pool after finishing school.
Things that I am doing: I am consulting and scheduling interviews with clinical and IT pharmacists at my teaching hospital as of today to get a first person opinion on the matter.
So far, I’ve gathered that if I wanted to be epic certified, I need to be sponsored by a hospital that works with epic or work directly for epic.
But since my research has just begun, I am wondering if you were a 2nd year pharmacy student again, what would you do differently/better to get to where you are as of now?
Thank you and have a great day,
It’s so great that you’re already thinking about what you want your career path as a pharmacist to look like. I know in my second year of pharmacy school I wasn’t quite as forward-thinking.
Unfortunately, most pharmacy schools run very thin in the IT pharmacy education realm. it’s quite unfortunate because in 2018, with technology seriously taking a permanent place in healthcare (don’t even get me started on what I think pharmacy will look like now that Amazon has thrown its hat in our ring), pharmacy schools are lagging so far behind when it comes to preparing future pharmacists for the future of pharmacy.
Okay… I’ll dismount from my high horse now 🙂
Talking to pharmacist that are doing what you want to do in the future is a great starting point. I’ll be honest with you, getting the job you really want is all about networking and by you starting to do that now, you’re setting yourself up for success if you do it the right way. I plan to write a post about this topic this week so your timing is perfect.
Here’s what I would do differently as a 2nd-year pharmacy student, knowing now what I know:
- Network… When attending pharmacy conferences, I would look at them as less of a vacation from school and place to get free swag from the pharma companies (I mean seriously, how many free pens and BPA-free plastic water bottles will you actually use?) and I’d actually spend time talking with the people at the booths in the exhibit hall.
- I’d pick their brains by asking them questions about their companies and how to get employed there.
- I’d collect their business cards and follow up immediately with “Thank You” cards (yes, handwritten cards sent via snail mail… Believe it or not, those are actually getting read more nowadays than email) and check in with them at the beginning of each Spring Semester to ask about summer internship opportunities.
- Rather than spending my summer working an intern position in a pharmacy setting I already know I don’t want to work in as a pharmacist, I would take a coding class or some other IT course that I could parlay into a future position (remember, healthcare is going high tech). Courses I’d consider are SQL, Java, or Python…
- And I would be smart about it, I wouldn’t enroll in a class that would be heavy on theory and light on actual coding, I’d look into doing a course with on Codecadamy or Khan Academy or even a General Assembly bootcamp (but these are really pricey…
- I’d be willing to work a “fun job” over the summer to pay for one these… Again, this is the second year pharmacy student me 😉 )
Javier, I hope that helps to get the wheels turning for you and if you have any additional questions for me, please feel free to leave them in the Comments section below.
Thanks a lot for your useful response!
As you remember, 2nd year is intense, but I am trying to get moving on this endeavor. If I hit any major roadblocks, I may need a bit more advice!
Also, I am very intrigued by your comment that healthcare is going high tech, is there a way that you could elaborate any further? And, I hear that Amazon is trying to get into the pharmacy market.. I will begin doing some reading on that subject..
Hi Again Javier!
Yes, you’re in a very busy phase of pharmacy school right now and I totally get that. Definitely let me know if you hit any roadblocks and need help getting unstuck. I know how it can be 🙂
Examples of healthcare going high-tech are all around us, starting with the mandate from CMS (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) for the industry to go from paper to electronic health records by offering incentive programs to early adopters. This started way back in 2011… To learn more about this check out this article
When you think about healthcare going high tech, think outside the box of pharmacy… Think of how physicians are using technology to communicate with patients, think about how drug and device companies are using tech to develop groundbreaking treatments for diseases like cancer and for post-surgery patients.
And then there’s Amazon… They aren’t just trying to get into the pharmacy market, they’re already right here with us (they bought pillPack a few months ago). Read more about it here.