Pharmacy exit planning (pharmacy succession planning) is a natural stage in the Community Pharmacist Lifecycle. However, this also happens to be one of the scariest and most challenging stages community pharmacists face. The reason this is challenging is because everything has to come together at one time in order for a community pharmacist to successfully exit the pharmacy. This creates uncertainty because most pharmacists are trained at helping patients rather than being trained in exiting the pharmacy. The following are some helpful hints to help think about pharmacy exit planning and to reduce some of the uncertainty associated with this stage of the lifecycle.
- Get everyone on the same page: It is imperative that community pharmacists establish a clear vision for exiting the pharmacy. This then should be communicated effectively to everyone that needs to know. If not, then some people that are trying to help with the exit strategy may actually hinder progress because they are not moving in the right direction.
- Prepare financially for the transition: This is one of the most obvious objectives for most community pharmacists to have when they begin pharmacy exit planning. However, this is one of the main reasons exit strategies for pharmacists do not work. It is imperative to know the income required for life after pharmacy and from where this will come.
- Prepare mentally for the transition: Most people have heard a joke at some point about a person that retires and then is asked to go back to work because they are driving their significant other crazy. To some extent this joke has some truth in it. Most community pharmacists have spent very little time thinking about how they are going to replace the 50-70 hours per week they spent in the pharmacy. Making a list of all the meaningful things to each pharmacist is a great way to start formulating a plan for life after pharmacy.
It becomes more obvious everyday that the better prepared community pharmacists are for life after pharmacy, the higher the probability of success for community pharmacies will be in the future. This is a huge weight to bear for community pharmacists because the implications are enormous. It has been our experience that independent community pharmacists are up to this challenge. With that being said, it is never too soon or too late to begin pharmacy exit planning.