Residency or Retail? Let’s change this conversation.

A couple of years ago a student asked me for some advice. They had done everything “right” in order to be a competitive candidate for residency. It was 4 weeks before Midyear and now they were questioning this path. Their retail employer offered them a position if they signed right away. They only saw two paths in front of them.


I did my best to explain that there is much more to pharmacy than these two paths. I tried to explain that this decision is not finite. Either decision is ‘right’ based on your dreams, goals, and desires. But I quickly realized that there was no way I could explain this in a 15 minute conversation.


This conversation needs to happen earlier in one’s career exploration, and more frequently. Many pharmacists tout that the pharmacy degree can be used in many ways. However, this experience taught me that students, starting earlier than we thought, need more opportunities to learn about pharmacy career options.


Two weeks ago, a student mentioned that many of their classmates still have the same question: residency or retail?


As educators, preceptors, supervisors, and alumni, what can we do to share what we know about ALL of the paths? How can we encourage students to NOT just think about salaries, job availability, and other people’s opinions, but instead how can we ask students to think about in what area of pharmacy would they have the most impact, the most learning, and the most professional growth? Then the paths become narrower on their own.


Join us in our Facebook group where we’re starting to explore more paths. Share with your students!

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