4 Nontraditional Jobs for Pharmacists

SEPTEMBER 04, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
Stuck in a pharmacy career rut? Not interested in the traditional job options in retail, independent, or hospital pharmacy?

Here are 4 nontraditional jobs for pharmacists:

1. NASA Pharmacist

For pharmacists who secretly wanted to go to Space Camp as a child, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) might actually be a good career fit.

Tina Bayuse, PharmD, lead pharmacist at the Johnson Space Center Pharmacy, was highlighted in NASA’s Women’s History Month a few years ago.

In her NASA profile, Dr. Bayuse explained that she helps scientists examine how medications affect the body on land and in space, packs medical kits for space shuttles and the International Space Station, and gives her input on what medications astronauts should take. She also provides medicine to astronauts and their families at the Flight Medicine Clinic.

One of the challenges NASA pharmacists face is how space changes the way humans can take or react to medicine. Dr. Bayuse said something as banal as taking a spoonful of cough syrup is not possible for astronauts, so she and her team have to think of the best ways to deliver medications safely and effectively as astronauts undergo physiologic and environmental changes.

Back in 2008, Dr. Bayuse gave a presentation celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the space center and discussed some of her other responsibilities as a pharmacist working for NASA.

She said the Johnson Space Center Pharmacy’s main concerns relate to the pharmacy management system, dispensing, education, and patient safety and increased awareness—“our biggest challenge terrestrially,” she noted.

In some ways, the stakes are also higher for serving astronauts because their care affects more than 1 person, Dr. Bayuse said.

“Space medicine pharmaceutical care is about both the patient and the mission,” she wrote.

The objectives of space medicine are to eliminate or reduce the crew’s symptomatology and to prevent or slow down the long-term effects and symptoms from microgravity, Dr. Bayuse explained.

 “NASA has benefited from pharmacists’ expertise with improvements in medication improvements in medication management both in terrestrial medicine and space medicine,” she maintained.