The ten worst jobs

By Dennis Tribble posted 12-06-2019 15:50


As many of you know, I enjoy reading The Advisory Board Daily Briefing (TABDB) and recently viewed an article relating to Career Cast's Report on the best and worst jobs.

Career Cast measured:

  • Environment, including both the physical and emotional environment of a job;
  • Income, including median income and potential for income growth;
  • Outlook, including the potential for employment growth, the potential for income growth,
  • unemployment data; and
  • Stress, including the amount of travel the job demands, deadlines, and competitiveness.

The best rated job was Data scientist and the worst rated job was Taxi driver. TABDB further digested the report to the ten best and ten worst jobs in healthcare:

Ten Worst (in rank order):

  • Emergency medical technician
  • Nursing assistant
  • Nurse's aide
  • Home Health Aide
  • Registered nurse
  • Personal care aide
  • Surgeon
  • Dentist
  • Physician assistant
  • Physician

Ten Best Jobs (in rank order):

  • Genetic Counselor
  • Medical services manager
  • Dental hygienist
  • Radiation therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Medical records technician
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Chiropractor
  • Medical secretary

I had to look in the original article to find pharmacists; they were ranked at 41st on the list, along with Aerospace engineers; that's about 7 points below the lowest of the best ten jobs (ranked at 34th). Of course, it doesn't distinguish between pharmacists in retail practice, hospital practice, etc., and reported work environment as fair, stress as low, and projected opportunities for growth as poor, some of which do not seem to apply to those of us in institutional practice.

Similarly, Pharmacy Technicians came in at 73rd on the list with good environment, low stress and good opportunities for advancement. This makes me wonder how they measured stress.

TABDB further opines that some of these ratings beg interpretation since it is hard to envision being a dentist as being worse than, for example, a Nuclear engineer or Nurse midwife, at least in terms of working hours and working conditions.

So what does this tell us? And what would it take to get pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to be more realistically portrayed in this type of survey? My general sense of things is that we probably have more work to do to get the public to understand what our various roles actually look like, what contributions we make to care, and the conditions under which we work.

It also makes me wonder if there are tools or systems we don’t have currently that could help us relieve some of the stress. A recent blog in this space by Amanda Hays describes the potential impact of AI on diversion investigation. Are there other AI applications that could improve our productivity and reduce our stress?

What are your thoughts?

Dennis A. Tribble, PharmD, FASHP

Ormond Beach, FL


The opinions expressed herein are my own, and not necessarily those of ASHP or my employer BD.