Do Pharmacists Stand All Day? (Day In the Life Of A Pharmacist)

Are you planning to pursue pharmacy as a career? Before getting into the pharmacy school for the PharmD program, it is good to know what your lifestyle will be as a pharmacist. What duties and tasks will you need to perform? What exactly will you be doing? What will be your responsibilities? Getting answers to all these questions will help you understand the pharmacist’s job description more clearly.

The question is, do pharmacists stand all day?

Pharmacists do stand all day for most of their career jobs like retail. How often you will be sitting during the work will be based mainly on which pharmacy specialty you choose. For example, if you are working in a retail pharmacy, you will be standing too much as compared to people working in a hospital pharmacy.

Most employers require their pharmacists to stand all day. Apart from this, you will also be bending down and reaching up to get prescriptions. Talking about hospital pharmacists, they get to sit a lot more on average. It includes while doing orders entry, verifying orders, looking at charts, etc. However, when you go with the retail pharmacy, you will be standing all day long. In short, it is a physically demanding career, especially retail pharmacy. If you think you would be able to tackle it, then pursue it.

What does a pharmacist do all day?

The duty of a pharmacist is not limited to counting pills. A pharmacist dispenses drugs and medications prescribed by physicians and health practitioners. Apart from this, they also need to instruct interns, purchase medical supplies, and perform various administrative duties. Pharmacists also need to instruct their patients about the usage of prescribed medications. They need to make sure the prescribed medications are safe for use.

As we know, pharmacists are of various types. The duties may slightly differ depending on the kind of pharmacists. It is based on whether it is a retail pharmacist, community pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, ambulatory care pharmacist, or any other.

Why do pharmacists stand all day?

Working as a pharmacist is not an easy job. The job is physically demanding and stressful, as well. Pharmacists stand all day because most employers need their pharmacists to stand all day. This especially applies to a retail pharmacy. Employers at retail pharmacies think that pharmacists sitting will make them look unprofessional, and the customers may feel that the pharmacy is not concerned about the work.

As a pharmacist, you will also be bending down and reaching up too much to get prescriptions from the shelves. That’s not it; some pharmacists are not allowed to take even bathroom breaks as well. If they take a break, they would have to shut down the pharmacy and reopen it once the pharmacist returns.

Can pharmacists sit down?

Whether a pharmacist can sit down or not is mainly based on what type of pharmacy he is in, pharmacies are of different types: retail pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, ambulatory care pharmacy, etc.

Talking about retail pharmacy, most employers of retail pharmacies want their pharmacists to stand all day, every day. And, in a retail pharmacy, you will be working for 12 to 14 hours every day. This is what makes retail pharmacy very stressful and physically demanding. Talking about clinical pharmacists, they are not denied a stool or a chair during the day.

Pharmacist Leg Pain

As we have seen, pharmacists are required to stand for long periods; this may result in different problems. Pharmacists are not allowed to take breaks. They are required to stand and work all day long every day. By standing all day long for 8 to 10 hours in the pharmacy, the pharmacist comes with sore, achy feet and legs.

Sometimes, the job can seem stressful. However, you need to figure out a way to deal with your leg pain. Standing for more extended periods can lead to different food conditions like soreness, planter fasciitis, strain, leg pain, etc. To avoid any problem in the future, it is good to take some measures in advance.

What can you do in this situation? First of all, it is advisable to wear supportive sneakers and not a lightweight one. Avoid purchasing flat shoes, and make sure the shoes have some heel elevation. Another thing you can do to take care of your foot is to apply daily moisturizer. You can also talk with a good podiatrist to understand more about how you can deal with your leg pain because of standing all day long.

Pharmacist Standing All Day Effects -Real Pharmacists Opinions

We didn’t want you to just take our word for this so we have gathered information from different Pharmacist sites and forums. We curated this information and only changed spelling and grammar where needed.

Real Pharmacist Opinions

1. Unraveling “Gets better as you go on” – when I first started working as an intern I thought I was going to die from the pain in my legs and feet. It goes away after about two weeks of standing every day.

2. Konkan “Back is what you need to strengthen” – people start having pain from long standing not because of weak leg muscles, but because of pressure on their hips, knees, and ankles. And you cant train them. Back is a different story. Why do you think sport professionals retire from sports – they are all super-athletic, they all have very well trained leg muscles, but joints eventually wear out and give up.

3. Eernievdb “Pain lessons” – After a couple weeks the pain lessens some. I have the hardest time the first several days…the transition from sitting in class to standing 8-10 hours straight is not pleasant. I also agree, the correct shoes are key. They way I look at it, we will be standing everyday we work for the next couple decades…might as well spend the money on a good pair of shoes. The thing that gets me the most is the standing in one spot…there isn’t a whole lot of walking behind the counter. Try walking around as much as you can.

4. Hels2007 “Shoes are key” – Shoes are key. And move, rather than stand. Moving for 8 hours is easy, standing still is not, which is why my feet hurt more now when I am a pharmacist, than they ever did when I was an intern. Now I am typing and verifying most of the day, instead of shuttling between shelves, counter, drive-through, check-out window, etc. all day. One thing I can’t do for long time is count – the counters were made for someone quite a bit shorter, and my back starts hurting if I am bend over like that for a couple hours, though I haven’t had to do that since I was an intern.

5. Megas “You get used to it” – My legs have gotten used to the long shifts, my feet have not. On the 12 hour shifts, my toes get numb! I’v started taking off my shoes and working barfeoot the last three hours until I find a shoe that works. Pharmacy jobs that switch around the sit/stand routine to relieve physical fatigue include some mail order, consulting, and IHS. Please PM for details. Good luck.

6. SnesleyWipes “Custom orthotics” – Go to your Pod and get some CUSTOM orthotics. If you have a legitimate problem insurance will cover them. If not, pay the $350, write it off, and you won’t regret it. Make sure you do not get the OTC ones that are universal. Have you Pod take a mold or walk on the computer tracking mat. This will not only make your feet feel good, but will align your entire body all the way up to your neck.

7. IsOverZyvox “Standing different than walking” – I can walk all day carrying my golf bag playing golf or wade a stream fishing and it won’t hurt my feet. But put me behind a pharmacy counter standing up for an hour and it will kill my feet.

8. K0ni “You get used to it” – You get used to it after a while.

When I first started working as a tech, my legs and feet used to kill me.. After a couple of weeks, I just got used to it. No change of shoes or anything.. I did 8 hour shifts in all stars and no problems. :p

Moving around helps, in my opinion. It’s a lot harder on the body when you’re standing there like a statue for extended periods of time. Keep that blood flowing.

9. PharmPrincess “Ways to deal with” – These are things that help for standing for prolonged hours:
1. Comfortable shoes (sneakers)
2. I use Dr. Scholl’s gel or the pad shoe inserts
3. Nursing socks or those constriction socks…i know a lady that used these standing on heels all day and with no complaints…she recommended these to me!
4. Crocs…as ugly as they are, i heard these are comfy enough that a pharmacist i know uses them

10. Pharmacy Kid “Tough job on feet” – Your feet should hurt. It’s not natural to stand for eight hours at a time. Along with just eating one candy bar each shift and using the bathroom once each shift (what happens to some other pharmacists).

11. PharmDBro2017 “Bad backs” – I have a bad back (sacrum/coccyx area;weight lifting injury) and it makes me feel like a cripple when I get off work after 10hrs of standing in retail. I have put up with it for a couple years, and ice it/beer upon getting home somewhat numbs the pain. It has definitely given me the motivation to ensure I do not have a future in retail (at least not for 30+ years). I may do it PRN a day or two a month though.

12. Mentos “Being in shape doesn’t always help” – I used to be a runner but my legs are so tired at the end of the 10 or 12 hour shifts that I never want to run anymore. My knees are okay but they were very strong before, I used to run 500-1,000 miles per year. My feet hurt and sometimes my lower back gets sore too. I can only do this for a couple more years maybe.

13. Farmadiazepine “Retail is worst” –If you work retail, be prepared to stand anywhere between 6 to 8 to 12 to 14 hours a day. You will sit when you have free time. The problem is, nowadays with retail chain stores, there really isn’t that much more free time. There are some places which removed stools and chairs completely! How this happens, I don’t even know, as it is so f*cked up.

If you want a place where you can sit 8 hours straight, then hospital is the way to go. There are some pharmacists that come in over here, sit down, and don’t get up unless they have to go on a lunch break or to the bathroom. I kid you not.

Is it stressful being a pharmacist?

Yes, it can be. However, it may differ from person to person. Some people may enjoy their job as a pharmacist, while for some people, their job can be stressful. It mainly depends on the specific role you are in.

The stress level can be really high, especially in retail pharmacy. Retail pharmacy is where you will be working super hard. There are various reasons that make retail pharmacy one of the most stressful pharmacies out there. Some of those are: dealing with people at their worst, the pressure of doing things as fast as possible, constant interruptions, focus on volume rather than the quality of care. There are different factors that affect the stress level at a particular pharmacy. It includes tasks to complete, your work, standing for long, and pay scale.

Having no breaks during the work can also make it quite stressful. You need to stand all day long doing your job, straight for 10 to 12 hours without any break. This is what makes the job more stressful.

Final Thoughts

Pharmacists need to stand all day long for doing their job. How often pharmacists can sit will vary depending on the pharmacy type. For example, if we talk about retail pharmacies, pharmacists don’t get any breaks in between. On the flip side, hospital pharmacists sit a lot more than retail pharmacists when they need to do tasks such as doing orders entry, verifying orders, and looking at charts.


Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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