At Locate a Locum, we aim to support pharmacists through their entire pharmacist life cycle. This includes from the university days, pre-registration year to fully qualified and beyond. With the 2024 pre-registration exam only a matter of weeks away we wanted to share some learnings and advice from those best equipped to offer guidance - the class of 2023 who will soon be finishing their first year as a fully qualified pharmacist.

We asked those who passed the GPhC exam last year about their first year of experience as registered pharmacists. From what skills they have developed to which areas of pharmacy they have explored. Read on below to find out what they said.

Skills Development

During a pharmacist’s education journey, there are many skills and knowledge that they learn and solidify during their pre-registration year. When qualified this experience is put into practice without the guise of still being a “student”. Our respondents stated the many skills they have further developed during this past year including:

  • Communication
  • Prioritisation
  • Shared-decision making
  • Independence
  • Clinical knowledge
  • Workload prioritisation
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Community services

Firsthand advice and learnings

We asked our respondents what advice they would give to this year’s cohort on what to expect and how best to approach working as fully qualified pharmacists. We’ve chosen some of our favourite pieces of advice that will resonate with many:

“Believe in yourself, don't doubt the last four years you have dedicated to being a pharmacist. Dedicate yourself to developing yourself and you will surely succeed. Pharmacy will sometimes put you in situations which are uncomfortable - sometimes being uncomfortable imprints the learning into your memory.”

“The first months will be hard, I still feel new. Don't let people take advantage of you, you’re the responsible one. It’s impossible to know everything, so don’t worry if you have to look things up.”

“It’s easier once qualified, work hard and keep up to date and manage your time.”

Job roles and experience

Last year’s cohort has worked in a variety of areas within pharmacy highlighting the many options that you can explore in this industry. Some of the job roles our respondents have occupied are rotational clinical pharmacist, relief pharmacist, part-time community pharmacist, hospital pharmacist and locum.

Interestingly 67% of respondents stated they had worked at least 1 locum shift in the past year. At Locate a Locum, we recommend that newly qualified pharmacists should locum for many reasons including gaining greater experience, earning high-paying rates and exploring what they are interested in. We’ve talked about this topic extensively, if you’re interested in becoming a locum pharmacist when you qualify, read our blog on the benefits of doing so and how to get registered with us.

Get in contact

To all trainee pharmacists preparing to sit their exam at the end of June we say don't panic, this is the last hurdle in your pharmacy education journey. You've dedicated the past 5 years to this pathway and you've only one more step to complete before you suceed. We hope that you have found the advice and guidance in this blog useful and something to consider once you qualify this summer.

Our CEO Jonny Clarke recently offered advice to trainees by stating "My advice to trainee pharmacists is to be confident, ask questions and build relationships with your team. Best of luck to everyone sitting the exam this summer, all your hard work and dedication will have been worth it."

Download the app today

We highly recommend creating your free account now before the rush when results are posted. This means all you have to do is add your GPhC number when you receive it and you'll be able to start applying for and booking shifts with us.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!
Locate a Locum Team