Yay new graduates! You made it through the tough part....medicinal chemistry, biochem, pharmacology, rotations....graduation!! The hard part is over, right?

Actually, a whole new set of challenges await. Some can be foreseen, some cannot. There is no longer a preceptor or boss to run your question or recommendation by. It's time to take responsibility. As you find your way in the new working world, I wanted to share some tips that helped me and some that I wish I had known.

Be enthusiastic
One of the great things about starting a new job is the energy you bring with it. Keep that energy. Don't become complacent, don't give into the low work ethic of others. You will stand out and your boss, employees, and coworkers will notice. Enthusiasm will give you momentum and serve you well in the long haul.

Take a break and travel
Why was I in such a hurry to start work and make money? That one time in my life where I didn't have to be at work yet, I didn't have children, and I just just met my future husband. I wish we had taken time to travel before he started his six year residency! And that money you're worried about spending on a trip, you will make it back in a week.

You do not know everything
Hey Valedictorian, those technicians, nurses, and other health care professionals have been doing this a long time too and you may be able to pick up a few things. Don't be afraid to ask questions and for help, but do be confident in the knowledge and experience that you have.

Don't take it personally
Patients are sick, hurt, afraid - and people lash out in different ways. Some withdraw, some scream. Most health care professionals have been called a lot of names...it happens. Your patients are not out to get you, they are just frustrated with their situation. The best you can do is continue to be kind, do your job, and don't take it personally.

You have nothing to prove
You may not have all of the answers - you probably don't. Don't be afraid to say "I'm not sure, let me find out for you". And definitely don't act like you know what you're talking about when you don't! Gracefully find out the dose, side effect, interaction, etc.... instead of guessing.

Let go of things you can't control
As pharmacists, we are responsible for a lot and have to control a lot of processes and workflows. Often we are able to be proactive and print ahead, batch our products, have cartfill, etc...But, like life, there are many things that you can't control. Someone may call out, you have an extremely busy rush, a code is called, someone needs you on the phone.....Relax. Prioritize. Being stressed out and putting your stress on others will only make the situation worse. Your shift won't last forever.

Be a team player
The phrase, "that's not my job" will not take you far. As a profession, pharmacy is made up of a series of steps when done correctly lead to proper treatment, patient satisfaction, efficiency and good outcomes. Breaks in the system can lead to med errors among other things. Do more than the bare minimum and help each other out when you can.

Student loans
Just sit down and face it. Sit down and figure out three things - what do you owe, how much will you pay every month, and how long will it take you to pay off? Figure out your plan and stick with it.

I was overwhelmed, but by adding extra to my payments and sending in a few extra payments a year, I paid off more than $100,000 in a little more than two years. And I never felt like I couldn't do something or that I didn't have money for something.

Your first job does not have to be your last job
There are a lot of great jobs out there but usually you need a little experience under your belt. Work hard at wherever you are even if it's not your ideal situation. Doing your best where you are will prepare you for the next step.

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PracticeJoanna Simmon