Are you a newly qualified pharmacist? Here are Roshani Patel’s top tips

Roshani Patel
Roshani Patel

THE registration examination is over now, but what next? Have you thought about this?

Let me propose a few further questions to you all:

  • Are you feeling confused?
  • Not sure about your next career move?
  • Or not sure what needs to be done?

It’s okay if you are feeling all the above. But, something to bear in mind is that you are not alone, every student across the country goes through the same emotions, and remember there is always support and guidance available.

Two years on as a community pharmacist, this is my advice on how you can establish your career and stand out from the crowd. There are three key areas which I have highlighted below that I feel are fundamental in establishing a successful career from day one.

The first steps
Sit back, relax and enjoy the freedom, however there are a few aspects to be considered.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) — No matter what job you decided to apply for, an employer will request to see a CV.

Is yours up to date? Does it reflect your recent qualifications, job and skills? Don’t panic if your CV needs some work. Take some time out and make the necessary changes that are needed to allow you to stand out at your next job interview.

Are you stuck on how to improve your CV? No idea where to start from? Again, do not panic, as there are some great resources and articles out there that can be used to give you an idea on how to write a successful CV. A great article that I would recommend is How to write a successful CV published by the Pharmaceutical Journal. Also, consider having a look at pharmacy CV templates online. Another way to improve your CV is to take the opportunity to ask to look at CVs from friends that have already graduated and are pharmacists.

Business cards — YES, business cards, a great way to leave a lasting impression with any future employer. They are small, easy to distribute and you can be as creative as you like. No matter what career pathway you choose, it’s always good to have one.

Something I have personally experienced is that you never know who you might bump into. So, always keep one in your purse or wallet. A few things to remember: when designing your card make sure it is not too over-complicated, the card should be simple; use colours and a template that will stand out; and lastly, don’t forget to include your General Pharmaceutical Society (GPhC) registration number, this will allow employers to check that you are a registered pharmacist in the United Kingdom (UK).

Services — You may have all heard of Medicine Use Review (MURs), New Medicine Service (NMS) and Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC). These are three key services that every employer will ask if you are accredited to provide, especially in the community sector.

So, don’t wait around – get yourself accredited for these services as soon as possible. In previous years, many students have often been confused about which provider to use; take some time out and research the providers to see which one is the best for you.

As you are aware, the pharmacy profession is changing and the future is focussing on a patient-centred approach. What does this mean for you? And how do you stand out from the crowd? The NHS has many key priorities, which the pharmacy profession is trying to ensure we meet at all times.

Two of the national key priorities that have been developed in the last year are consultation skills and polypharmacy. A lot of employers want employees to complete these modules. I would highly recommend you to have a look at this, including those considering working within the hospital sector. A great learning resource to navigate through this is the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate education (CPPE). This will not only allow you complete these services, but will allow you to enhance your career.

Also, the CPPE highlights other national priorities that I would strongly advise you to have a closer look at and complete. This will not only show any future employer your determination to stand out from the crowd, but that you are up-to-date with your knowledge and clinical skills. Other services that are important to consider are Stop Smoking and Flu Vaccination service.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) — There is often a lot of confusion created around this subject in how to go about obtaining one, and many of you may have had a DBS check carried out at university, so try to obtain the certificate if you have had one done previously.

A lot of employers will request for a DBS check to be carried out on you, so be aware. It is nothing to be worried about; it is simply a legal aspect that is fundamental, especially when accepting jobs in hospitals or other companies. Those of you considering locum work, it is also good to ensure that you obtain one and keep it filed away. Some locum agencies are now providing this service at a charge, so do enquire.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) — Remaining to be an active member of the RPS will not only allow you to keep up-to-date with the recent news and updates, but will also allow you to keep up-to-date with events and network opportunities in your local areas or on a national level.

I highly recommend for you all to take a closer look at that the RPS, as they have recently developed the RPS Foundation Programme aimed at all pharmacists in their first 1000 days of practice. This programme, will not only improve your knowledge and various clinical skills, but will also be a great contribution to your CV. I strongly encourage you all to renew your RPS membership and remain an active member

Insurance — As a newly qualified pharmacist do not make the mistake of not being legally covered. You never know when you will be in need of some legal advice in relation to work. I highly recommend those of you in need of indemnity cover to take a closer look at providers and choose the one best for you.

Career pathway
The greatest thing about being a pharmacist is that you are not restricted by the diversity of work available. Yes, many qualified pharmacists do generally choose to work in either the community or hospital sector, but there are other routes that can be considered. So, do not feel as though you are restricted on your choice.

One thing I will mention is that it’s important to  learn to adapt your career to evolve around changes. This will allow you to excel in your career from day one. There are many job opportunities available in various sectors of the pharmacy profession, be wise with the decision you make. I would strongly advise you to consider taking some time out, explore and do some research.

Those of you considering the hospital route, have a think about completing a diploma. This will not only improve your clinical knowledge and skills, but will allow you to enhance your career. However, those of you that are considering the community sector, consider doing the RPS Foundation Programme.

Networking
Network, network and network at all time. This is a great way to be able to meet and interact with new people within the profession. Take every opportunity given to network, you never know who you will bump into. As a newly qualified pharmacist be active, be sociable and continue to learn at every opportunity given.

Make sure you join twitter as it is a great networking resource, something I have personally experienced. As an active member of the RPS join your local practice forum (LPF) — this will not only enable you to feel more involved with the profession, but will also allow you to meet and interact with other pharmacists. Also try to attend events on a national level throughout the year — these will provide you with great networking opportunities and be useful for  continuous professional development (CPD).

The transition from pre-registration pharmacist to a newly qualified pharmacist can be extremely daunting. There is plenty of support and guidance available at all times, so never feel alone or disconnected with the profession. Take every opportunity as it comes and continue to improve your professional development at all times.

The world of pharmacy is changing, learn to adapt and to do things that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.

Good Luck!

Roshani Patel is a community Pharmacist

Follow Roshani @roshani170587

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