So You Want to Be a Small Town Pharmacist?

by Jennifer Bradford on August 10, 2009

If you want to be a small town pharmacist, there are a few things you must realize. First, you must be a people person, as there will be lots of personal interaction required of you. Second, you need to be willing to give limited medical advice. Finally, you need to be prepared for what the new environment will mean for your down time as well. Be sure to take all of these things into consideration before accepting a position at a small town pharmacy.

soliant-small-town-pharmacist

Be a People Person

In a small town, the pharmacy may be the only place to buy certain gift items, catch up with neighbors, hear the latest gossip, and possibly even pick up specialty food items. Customers may stop by to get a prescription filled, but they will also want you to be able and willing to take time to chat. Simply filling a prescription will not be adequate in a small town, and may make residents feel slighted. If you are the type of person who enjoys chatting with lots of people about a variety of topics, then being a small town pharmacist could be a great choice for you. Otherwise, you may want to find a pharmacy where the pharmacist spends the majority of his or her time with the medications.

Giving Medical Advice

No, you do not have to diagnose customers and write prescriptions. You do not magically become a doctor when you become a small town pharmacist. However, you do become the next best thing to a doctor. Customers will come in with a cough and ask what kind of cough medicine will work best with their symptoms. Maybe they haven’t been sleeping well and they wonder if there is an herbal remedy or over the counter medication that will help. During the summer, you might be asked about that earache Sarah seems to get after swimming or the poison ivy Johnny got into. For minor problems, you will likely be the first person people come to. If you like helping people solve problems like these, a small town pharmacy may be perfect for you.

Living in Rural Areas

A small town pharmacy will often be located in a rural area. Many people like the idea of a small town surrounded by miles of nature, but unless it is something you grew up with, it may be a shock once you arrive. I grew up in a small town with no pharmacy or any retail shops, but at least a bigger town was only a 10-minute drive away. Before deciding to become a small town pharmacist, you should spend some time in the small town to see if you can live without the conveniences of a bigger town. As previously, mentioned the pharmacy may be one of the primary gathering spots and shopping location in town. This means there will be few to no large chain stores and restaurants. There may be limited Internet connectivity options, and little or no cell phone coverage. These are things most Americans take for granted, and living an hour away from these conveniences can be a very difficult thing to adjust to. If you can’t live without a double latte and a shopping mall, rural life may not be for you.

Did you move to a small town from a city? How did you cope with the differences?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Small Town Canadian Pharmacist 08.05.11 at 1:40 am

I grew up in the town I have ultimately moved back to. It’s 4000 people. I was away for 14 years living in a city of 4 million. To say it was a shock is an understatement. I moved here for a better upbringing for my children but it leaves no options for my career. In a town this small there is only one pharmacy to work at and no other options unless you want to drive 1 hour each way on the highway to the next town. You need to consider these things before moving to a small town. Make sure you really want to live there because you could end up feeling like me – trapped. With the future of pharamacy here in Canada changing in terms of funding and the new onslaught of graduates from universities, there is little room in the locum market. You have to find a job at a chain. Opening your own pharmacy is not much of an option at the moment either. If I take my career out of the equation then this was the best option for the kids. There is so much to do in a small town in terms of outdoor activities and the proximity to the grand-parents can’t be beat.

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