Unlike other jobs, a career in pharmacy doesn’t necessarily involve working 9-5, Monday - Friday. We have so many options within our profession, and our working life can vary daily if we want. A pharmacist is not just someone who hands you medication after a visit to your doctor. Contrary to popular belief, a career in pharmacy can be varied and exciting! Let’s find out how.
Research & Academia
Many pharmacists enjoy careers in some of the world’s finest universities and research facilities. If you were to become a teaching practitioner, you may spend over half your time working in hospitals and community pharmacies, with the remainder of your time based behind the podium, inspiring the next generation.
Alternatively, research pharmacists can work on drug design, care provision strategy and treatment methods. Academic and research-based pharmacists can be involved in a variety of roles, in a variety of locations and help shape the future of a pharmacist’s role for generations to come.
When my friends think of a pharmacist, a lot of them assume that we work in hospitals and wear a white coat. Only half of that is somewhat true. Hospital pharmacists are an integral cog in the working of both public and private hospitals.
Hospital pharmacists are involved in patient care on the wards, in the manufacturing of medicines and may manage the day-to-day running of the dispensary and its team. You can end up playing a lead role in how a hospital functions. This can be an extremely demanding, yet fulfilling role. Many of my peers from university now work in hospitals and have gone on to become consultants, specialising in specific areas.
Essentially, primary care pharmacists act to keep people out of the hospital. They have a strategic role, working with GPs, nurses and healthcare professionals, to help allocate medicines, treatments and maximise their benefits. As a primary care pharmacist, you may run community clinics to inform local areas about seasonal health trends and medicine usage. The NHS has recently committed a further £100m of funding to place 1,500 pharmacists in GP practices throughout England by 2020/2021, acting as a first port of call for those seeking medical assistance.
Community pharmacists work out of their own pharmacies, a franchise such as Boots or Well, or may work out of a GP surgery/healthcare facility. Community pharmacists are patient facing, will diagnose and recommend treatments and medicines for patients in local areas.
There will be a dispensing and counselling capacity to your role. Community pharmacists provide services such as smoking cessation advice, healthy living and sexual health advice. You also have the responsibility, and rewards of running your own business. You’ll need an eye for finance, staffing, resourcing and stock control.
I’ve been lucky to hear the inspirational stories from some previous colleagues in relation to their time working as humanitarian pharmacists, throughout the world. You could be working in the parts of the world that have been greatest affected by famine, natural disaster and disease. The working conditions can be both dangerous and distressing.
However, as a humanitarian pharmacist you can help change the world. You can save lives and you can provide hope where none existed. The experience and skills that you develop would make you extremely employable on your return to the UK, and you would have memories and stories that stay with you for your entire life.
Why become a locum pharmacist? You can work your own hours, you can negotiate your own rates and you can travel the country, working in a new city every week. Locum pharmacists love being able to take time off to study. Most locums love the thrill of meeting new teams and patients every week.
You can work in a variety of different roles and environments; such an experience can greatly aid your search for a permanent role if/when that time comes. Even if you have a full-time, permanent job, you can locum on the weekends or on your days off.
Historically, finding work was time consuming and somewhat unpredictable. I used to spend 4-6 hours per week trying to find work for the following month. It wasn’t a fun way to live. It was tough to plan my future as I was never sure where my next shift was coming from. It was because of these reasons, I set up Locate a Locum.
When you sign up to Locate a Locum, you’ll receive job alerts of pharmacist shifts in the locations of your choosing. You get access to over 20,000 locum shifts per month, which saves you time on your job hunt. Once you register with us, you get access to more work, for less effort.
You can determine what sort of pharmacy career you want. You can mix things up before you settle down. We’re here to help you kick-start your career and we can ensure that you find regular locum shifts.
To register for Locate a Locum, sign up here. If you are interested in a permanent pharmacist roles, view all our available positions here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our Recruitment Specialists Melissa and Ciaran at the following email addresses: