I’m saddened for some of my friends and colleagues who’ve recently lost their job. The recent move by HealthPartners in my own state hits close to home. HealthPartners is closing up 30 retail pharmacies and this means further tightening of the saturated job market. If you are looking at the traditional pharmacy workforce, the 2020 pharmacist job market outlook is gloomy at best.
The closing of pharmacies has been going on for quite some time in rural America. My small hometown lost their pharmacy in the late ’90s. As reimbursement for prescriptions went down, the volume necessarily had to go up. Bigger retail pharmacies have come in and gobbled up many independent pharmacies. Now, with this move by HealthPartners and many others, it seems even some of the bigger companies are seeing the writing on the wall that the traditional model of pharmacy is not a sustainable business model.
Combating the Negativity – 2020 Pharmacist Job Market Outlook
How should you combat a negative 2020 pharmacist job market outlook? Here’s what I would do.
- Develop an area of expertise and begin a process to transition to something different. Healthcare is changing dramatically and retail pharmacy as we have known it will never be the same. Specialists and experts will be leaned on in the future. Areas like informatics and pharmacogenomics are growing areas that many of our nursing and provider colleagues have very little background in.
- Find part-time work outside of your retail pharmacy job. This gives you a different skill set as well as a different network.
- Get your finances in order. I’ve had a couple of situations where my job status was uncertain earlier in my career. My loans were not paid off and that just compiled onto the stress of uncertainty. The pharmacists at YFP do a nice job of taking financial topics for pharmacists.
- Have a conversation with a pharmacist friend you haven’t chatted with in a while.
- Have a conversation with a physician. Take them out for lunch. You never know where a discussion might lead.
- Solidify your role in the community as a sound resource of healthcare advice. I’ve done some speaking engagements within my community before. There are so many people looking for education on medication and healthcare-related topics. Colleges, nursing, elderly, and community engagement groups are all places where I’ve shared what we know and can do as pharmacists.
- Consider a certification based upon the career path you are interested in.
- My most important piece of advice is to do something now. TAKE ACTION and stop “thinking about it”.
I am still bullish on provider status for pharmacists. It will happen and it has to happen. Continued effort is necessary from our profession. Take the time to write a letter to your representatives and senators. This article demonstrates that it is on the table at CMS and we haven’t been forgotten. If this happens, would you be ready to step into a clinical role? If not, what are you waiting for?