In the constant changing world of pharmacy, our career journey can often get overwhelming. It is no longer just community vs hospital vs industry; there is now an array of sectors we can work in to expand our knowledge and utilise our skillset to give the best patient care.
As a senior pharmacist and one who has delved into many sectors, I do love the work I do in community pharmacy. In the last decade of being a pharmacist I have been fortunate enough to mentor, coach and develop some incredible pharmacists, including guiding them for new roles and experiences.
As someone who is constantly hiring a variety of locum pharmacists to add to my pool or interviewing pharmacists for more permanent roles, check out my top 5 tips below to help you when interviewing for those permanent community pharmacy jobs:
Make sure your knowledge is up to date: and I don’t just mean your clinical knowledge (that is a given) I mean your community pharmacy knowledge. Do you know your protocols for Quality payments? Have you completed your training for DMS? CPCS? Can you navigate Pharmoutcomes and handle NHS 111 referrals? It is no longer just about prescription items and repeat dispensing, there is so much more involved.
Exceptional consultation and customer service skills: Patients will now come and see you first rather than their GP. This is being encouraged heavily throughout the healthcare system especially due to staff shortages, therefore, be prepared! Long gone are the days where pharmacists could just dispense and check prescriptions in the back, but most employers now expect pharmacists to be providing more services and to be the face of their pharmacies. Are your soft skills up to scratch? Are you comfortable having a variety of discussions with patients using a mix of verbal and non-verbal communication? Go above and beyond for your patients knowing when to signpost, offer lifestyle changes and linking other healthcare professionals and the services they may offer. When you provide a good experience, your patients will always remember how you made them feel and will return to see you as you have built that trust with them.
Business acumen: Prove you can think outside of the box by bringing new ideas to the table. In your interview show small snippets of business acumen that can put you in a better position for the role. Community pharmacy has a business element and permanent opportunities can help you develop this. If you are newly qualified show how you are willing to develop business skills to assist in progressing throughout your role. If you do anything outside of your main role, whether pharmacy related or not this is a good time to showcase your skills.
Know your worth: Do not be afraid to ask questions about the package being presented to you. Remember, it is not just about your annual salary but also work/life balance. If you are being asked to do a very large amount, of weekly hours how will this affect your wellbeing and social life? Is there scope for salary increases, private services and other company benefits where you can earn extra money or have more flexibility?
Enthusiasm: Most importantly please make sure you are passionate about the role and show enthusiasm about wanting the position. I have interviewed countless pharmacists where it is obvious that their head is not in it at all, which will just lead to being unsuccessful. Your passion, willingness to learn and grow can put you miles ahead of others competing for the role, so show this in your application and interview.