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Abigail Smith
Pharmacy Technician
Asked a question last year

What is your advice for moving from retail pharmacy into a hospital setting? I've applied at a few hospitals and so far no luck. I have a little over a year's experience in pharmacy, so maybe that's why. If you already work in a hospital, what is your opinion of it compared with retail?

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Christopher S. Moore
Oncology & Inpatient - BS, AS, AA, CPhT-Adv, CSPT, NREMT-R

It certainly depends on the hospital, but generally speaking, be prepared to do a lot of compounding and compounding-related calculations.  In the inpatient setting, a lot more revolves around sterility, compounding, and keeping the units/floors supplied with the medications they need unlike retail where the main course is generally handling insurance claims, dispensing oral medications, and some cashiering.  Personally, I find sterile compounding to be much more satisfying than other tasks, but to each their own.

Each individual's experience and situation is different, but you could help make yourself stand out by being certified (if you aren't already), obtaining what available certificates there may be:

Even taking a sterile, nonsterile, or hazardous compounding course, for example:

Having more notches on your education/skill belt will help differentiate you from other candidates.

All that being said, three other considerations:

  1. You already listed your experience; I would agree in that most hospitals usually (but certainly not always) want a candidate to have at least one to three years of experience before they are considered.
  2. Consider applying for any/all job position(s) the inpatient pharmacy may have open; I  know a number of people who would not apply simply because the position was on-call.  I know this is extreme for some, but relocation to where the work is is sometimes a viable choice.
  3. Keep applying.  Do not be discouraged.  Keep putting your name forward to be seen every time there is an opening.

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