I came across your blog while searching for information on how to transition into the field of Pharmacy informatics (specifically Epic Willow pharmacist). I have been doing searches (and applied with no success) for positions such as “System analyst” or “Epic analyst”, but one common thing I’ve noticed is the requirement of “x plus years of prior experience” in that field.
My background is 8+ years in retail pharmacy with 3 of those years as a pharmacist. I have Epic experience since our pharmacy uses the system for scheduling COVID testing. So my questions are:
- How do you make yourself stand out among those who have a background in healthcare technology or information systems as someone who only has a background in pharmacy?
- Are there any positions that actually hire a pharmacist as an Epic Willow Pharmacist without any Epic build experience
- What tips do you have to transition into a new field? (I feel like my experience in retail pharmacy has caused me to become “stuck” in this position and the longer I wait, the harder it will be to transition out of this role. Would it be more helpful to obtain a degree in IT first?)
Thank you for your advice!
Thank you for your questions.
Yes, I agree that it has gotten a little bit harder to break into the Epic field but it’s not impossible because folks are moving on everyday and some are retiring (eventually) but overall, turnover is quite low so opening for new positions can be hard to find nowadays.
That said, the good news is that it’s not impossible. Here are my responses to your questions:
- I would recommend that you start doing something outside of your regular pharmacy practice that will set you apart. It sounds like you already have a solid pharmacy foundation in retail, try adding something to that skillset that shows you are adaptable to technical things. Consider taking a free Coursera course in some type of computer-based class like a programming language, website building, etc. Please note, none of these thigns are relevant or required for Epic BUT doing this is simply a tactic to help you set yourself apart from the crowd of other pharmacists by showing that you have an affinity for, and the ability to learn, technical things. I hope that makes sense.
- Yes there are. In your particular situation I would recommend that you look for positions that are hiring for “Epic Willow Retail” rather than “Epic Willow Inpatient”. The retail Epic system is for outpatient pharmacy dispensing and the inpatient one is for hospital-based inpatient dispensing. Since you are in retail your experience there will be an asset for the retail Epic which is currently growing in popularity.
- Right now, the tip mentioned in my response to #1 above is huge. I believe that will really help to set you apart since many pharmacists don’t take the extra step to show that they can do other things well that are non-clinical. You do not need to get a degree in IT first. That will not necessarily benefit you really because Epic has their own training system. Additionally, the time it will take for you to complete that degree might be an additional deterrent to you making progress toward transitioning out of retail. Taking an online course as mentioned above is a much better (and faster) way to go. Getting “stuck” in retail is a real thing and yes, the sooner you can break free the better.
I hope this helps.
Thanks again for visiting my site and asking your questions. Please keep me posted on your progress!