In July of this year (2016) it will be 4 years since I qualified as a pharmacist. They say time flies when you are having fun and it certainly feels like only last week that I passed the registration exam and had tough choices to make regarding my career direction.
July 2012 was a difficult time for the pharmacy profession. The effect of the global recession meant pharmacist jobs were few and far between. It was also a time when record number of pharmacists were leaving the profession for bigger and better things.
After qualifying I like many other newly qualified pharmacists, joined the workforce as a locum and completed retail community pharmacy work. It suited me greatly as it allowed me to accrue experience of working within a vast network of pharmacies. It also provided me with a flexible income at a time when permanent employment was simply not an option.
It was during my time working as a locum that I learnt that the main way of obtaining locum work was by travelling round a number of pharmacies and handing out your business card. This practice was based on the assumption that in the event of cover being needed, the manager would use your card details to contact you for availability. I simply could not believe that this archaic process still existed and why no company had solved this pain problem of matching pharmacists to employers.
Fast forward 4 years and Locate a Locum helps over 1200 pharmacists and pharmacy owners connect with one another for both temporary and permanent work.
There is nothing that can prepare you for starting a business. Of course you can read all the business books you want but you will only learn by doing. It’s a bit like being back in university in the Pharmacy Practical classes- where you learn by your mistakes. A mistake is only a mistake if it happens twice.
For me, being an entrepreneurial pharmacist is one of the most rewarding career decisions I have ever made. However, when pharmacists qualify and look at their career options, does entrepreneurship even appear on the list?
Let me take you back to previous times, long before large pharmacy chains dominated the sector and pharmacy regulation was so controlled. After graduating as a pharmacist you typically went on to own and operate your own pharmacy. You were responsible for making your own extemporaneous preparations to attract new customers. You essentially created a new business and would have had some form of financial risk. This is the essential definition of being an entrepreneur.
Fast forward to today and with recent media coverage surrounding pharmacy in the UK, you cannot help but feel a little gloom about the impending cuts on our profession. Could the pharmacy profession benefit from more entrepreneurial minded pharmacists a.ka. pharmapreneurs? Persons whereby creating new entities they also act to disrupt the profession and ultimately bring about positive change.
My opinion is most certainly YES! With recent advances in technology, pharmacists now more than ever have so much opportunities available to them to help shape the future delivery model of healthcare. All it takes is a good idea mixed with a little bit of guts and determination.
So, next time you sit down to decide which direction you would like your career to go. Why not summon your inner entrepreneurial pharmacist spirit and get to work! There are other options too...
Locum Pharmacists and Employers can sign up today!
If you're interested in a permanent pharmacist role, you can search for positions cross the UK and Republic of Ireland on our Careers homepage!