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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

State #2

No, I'm not doing a "50 states" marathon challenge or anything. I licensed as a pharmacist in a second state!
I always wanted to have a second state in my back pocket, just in case (we do occasionally have extensive hurrications here, and at some point I may want to start getting paid again). But choosing Mississippi was a business decision. I am applying for an out-of-state waiver to license my pharmacy by the Mississippi board of pharmacy, and the first step is getting a Mississippi license for the PIC (Pharmacist-in-charge - that's me). Once (if) I'm granted the waiver, I can not only apply as a provide for Mississippi Medicaid, which means I can fill Medicaid prescriptions for hospital patients who come to Tulane for care all the way from Mississippi, it also means that I can ship into the state. That's important, because a lot of our specialists see patients from across the border, and I need to be able to ship their limited-distribution drugs to their house. Right now some patients actually drive all the way back to pick up drugs that are dispensed by only a few pharmacies, or I have to lose their business to a competitor. So this was a strategic move.

And I didn't blog about the process because it happened in a matter of days. As you know, I am taking classes for my MBA. I had about a 10 day break between semesters (actually 7-week sessions) and during that time I quickly logged in to see if I could take the Mississippi law test any time soon (the NAPLEX results, thankfully, are national and need not be repeated). Lo and behold, there was one opening to take the test in - six days! I snagged that last little open appointment, preferring to take the test sooner rather than wait months (once pharmacy schools start graduation in mid-may, the schedule fills up fast).

And then I read the entire pharmacy practice act and all other pharmacy laws. See, Louisiana is a civil law state, which means we have a gigantic code to read. I mean, the law book is four inches think. But Mississippi is common law, so they have some rough guidelines and a few important cases, and that's it. I read it all in two evenings. Some of the test is federal law, and some is state specific, but I didn't have time to review federal law - and I was sure I knew most of it. I've been a pharmacist for seven years, and I was a tech for ten years before that, so if I don't know federal law, shame on me.

My testing appointment was at noon, so I took off work that day. I went for a run later than usual, only to discover that I'd locked myself out of the house. After this inauspicious start (and my landlords letting me in), I picked out a comfy test-taking outfit, then promptly poured coffee all over it when the lid popped off my cup. But after a few other confidence-boosting incidents, I got myself over to the center. The test is 75 questions, and it's computer adaptive, so it's hard to tell how you're doing. You get two and a half hours. I was done in about 40 minutes, including the sign-in process and all (now they take an image of your palm veins for security - what?!)! I forgot that I am an very fast test-taker! Then two days later, I got an email that I passed, and by the next week, I received my license. Woot! Now if I ever want to move to Bay St. Louis, I can still get a job.


  1. Congrats on passing the exam! No surprise there given how smart you are, but it's still a relief to have that behind you I'm sure. Reading about your test experience reminds me of taking the FINRA exams for my job back in 2011. It was so nerve wracking. Luckily you get your results right away! I'm a fast test taker, too. They give you 6 hours to do the series 7 exam (3 hours for each part) and I was done with the whole thing in like 3 hours.

  2. Nice job! Interesting to think about people travelling so far for prescriptions (for a hospital I understand, but hadn't really considered drugs much). It makes me glad to live in a major metro area, but glad there are people thinking like you to how best serve people who aren't in a major metro area and have a state line to cross to get to the nearest one.

  3. Smart decision to get the extra license. It makes a lot of business sense.

  4. Congratulations, Gracie! It's always nice to have another option open for work. No doubt you are a great test taker.. smart as a whip!