There may be advantages to independent pharmacy jobs over jobs with chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreen's. Why?
Well, as with any organization, sometimes bigger is not better. Smaller companies--which characterizes an independent pharmacy--are often more flexible and treat their employees like people rather than a "number."
A recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports showed that 94% of its readers (pharmacy consumers) are very satisfied with service at their independent pharmacy.
The survey found that these pharmacies made fewer errors, provided faster service, and were more likely to have meds ready for pickup when they promised. Survey respondents also felt that staff at independent pharmacies were more helpful and knowledgeable.
That speaks volumes about the attitude of the pharmacy staff, and how happy they are in their jobs. They are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and that is why they offer better service to their customers.
Think about it...if you are miserable in your job, how likely is it that you will provide high quality service to your customers? With statistics like those in this survey (94% of Consumer Reports' readership), you can't ignore the obvious conclusion: Working in an independent pharmacy may be better than working for the "big guys."
You can view the full report on the survey on the Consumer Reports website.
Also in the news is the strike by pharmacists in California who work for Kaiser Permanente, a very large health-system organization. Any strike signals great dissatisfaction by employees. Read more about the strike here.
Another benefit with independent pharmacy jobs is that they may be more likely to hire someone with less experience than a large, corporate pharmacy. If you present yourself as dedicated, willing to learn, and reliable, an independent pharmacy may give you a chance that a chain pharmacy may not.
More large companies are either buying out small, independent pharmacies or getting into the pharmacy business themselves. For example, Amazon purchased the online pharmacy PillPack. Large insurers such as Aetna want a piece of the pie, too. Aetna recently merged with CVS Health. Large pharmacies typically offer lower prices and participate in plans such as Medicare, leaving customers to decide whether it's worth it to pay more for the experience at an independent pharmacy.
Independent pharmacies can offer a more individualized, personal experience, but customers must decide if it is worth a potentially higher cost.
Getting experience working at an independent pharmacy first may be a good move, though, giving you the perspective of how better customer service can improve your own job satisfaction.