Throughout my fourteen year pharmaceutical career, I’ve met quite a few nurses who wanted to leave nursing for other careers. They were tired of the long shift hours and having to work overnight shifts as well. Some were also tired of having to physically move patients around. One even injured her back doing just that and had to take a medical leave for rehabilitation. There are also the politics involved in the hospitals that many nurses have grown tired of.
Some of these nurses asked me about the possibility of becoming drug reps in pharmaceutical sales after being exposed to the industry while at the hospitals. Well it turns out that a career move from nursing to pharmaceutical sales is quite a natural one. I’ve known many drug reps, some even under my own direct management, who were in fact, former nurses.
Nurses who want to become pharmaceutical sales representatives have quite a lot of advantages compared to candidates who have never worked in the health care fields before. Nurses are already knowledgeable in physiology, anatomy and how typical medical environments such as hospitals work.
There are many perks and benefits when working as a drug rep in the pharmaceutical industry. Salaries and bonuses could amount to six figures for high achievers and there is the use of a company car. Corporate expense accounts are also available for business entertaining. There are also the travel opportunities that are paid for by the company as many sales meetings as well as medical conventions are often located at nice places.
Being a pharmaceutical sales representative also means that there is a lot of freedom and independence with the job as fixed working shifts are no longer the way for a drug rep. Even better is that for 95% of the time, there is no boss to look over your shoulder while on the job.
Although nursing does have its rewards since the job involves helping patients, being a drug rep can also have similar satisfaction. The field involves working with medical professionals to bring them useful products that will greatly benefit their patients. So even though there’s a career change, nurses who end up being drug reps with pharmaceutical sales forces can still be considered as part of the overall health care team since they are playing an important role in helping patients.
Clint Cora is the author of the book “How To Get A Dream Job In Pharmaceutical Sales – Direct Inside Advice and Guidance from a Sales Manager”. He had a very successful fourteen year career as a pharmaceutical sales representative, sales trainer, product marketing manager and a national sales manager. More information about pharmaceutical sales careers can be found at