Your Guide to Hospital and Community Pharmacy
12th Jan, 2018
You may know your pharmacist as the person who fills your prescription, but they are so much more than that! Have you ever wondered ‘how much can you ask a pharmacist’? Here, we aim to help you understand what pharmacists do and why they play such an essential role in our society.
To do that, we've interviewed two pharmacists from different settings; hospital and community. Read on and find out more about these diverse pharmacy jobs.
Babatunde Sokoya - Independent Prescribing Pharmacist
(From Easter Pharmacy in Essex)
Q: Why choose community pharmacy over hospital?
A: Working in community pharmacy gives you a much wider variety of services you can offer to the public. You're able to interact with people you see regularly, forming real bonds with them and providing a more personalised service. You're so much more involved with the local community than if you were working in a hospital. What I do is really fulfilling.
Q: Have you ever tried hospital pharmacy? If so, what made you transition to community?
A: I did work in hospital pharmacy early on in my career. For me, this job is all about the people; I'm a people-person and love working face-to-face with patients. However, in a hospital setting, you didn't get that level of interaction and I missed working with people I could get to know. That's why I made the decision to move into community and eventually, open my own independent pharmacy.
Q: What are the shift patterns like in community pharmacy?
A: It can really vary depending on the individual pharmacy. We work long hours - Monday to Friday plus weekends. We always want to give our community the best service possible, which means we'll stay open later.
Q: What advice would you give to a graduate looking for jobs in community pharmacy?
A: There really hasn't been a more exciting time to start in a community setting. Because of the large drive to move responsibilities from doctors to pharmacists, we are involved with so much more, and we have greater opportunities than before. I'm a prescribing pharmacist - I took a pharmacist prescribing course - and I encourage graduates to do the same because you can get involved with more services for customers. Be passionate! Do lots of research and understand where pharmacy is going as this will make you a better pharmacist.
Q: Why are you proud to be a pharmacist?
A: I want to make a difference, and I feel that by opening my own independent pharmacy, I've been able to do that. It's so fulfilling to see how we can make a difference to people's lives, helping both patients and other healthcare professionals with our services. I always try to do as much as possible for the community, and it feels great to see the results.
David Ugwuozor - Band 7 Hospital Pharmacist
Q: Why become a hospital pharmacist?
A: Having done both hospital and community before, I find hospital to be more clinical, which is great because you learn more. You have the opportunity to get more involved with patient care and take a hands-on approach by discussing a course of treatment with doctors and nurses. What's more, you can intervene with care plans and have more responsibility when it comes to decision-making.
Q: What are the shift patterns like for hospital pharmacy roles?
A: As a locum hospital pharmacist, I have the same shift patterns within my current hospital, which is typically weekdays from 9-5.30pm. However, your shift can depend on whether you're taking on full-time or locum pharmacy jobs.
Q: What advice would you give to a budding hospital pharmacist?
A: There are plenty of good ways to make it into a hospital, but I would definitely advise volunteering for regular placements within NHS settings. If you volunteer whilst you study, you'll learn a lot more plus it will help when it comes to applying for pre-registration.
Q: Why are you proud to be a pharmacist?
A: I work within lots of sectors, from hospital to education as a lecturer. It's so rewarding to learn and then pass on that knowledge to pharmacy students. I love being a pharmacist; even with workload pressures, it's so rewarding.
Want to know more about becoming a pharmacist? Read on...
Why become a pharmacist?
Pharmacists play an important role within the healthcare community. As medication specialists, they have the responsibility of dispensing the correct drugs, creams and medicines to patients in accordance with a prescription from a doctor.
However, in these changing times, and with so much pressure now on the NHS to cope with high patient demand, pharmacists play a much larger role than simply providing medication. Pharmacy jobs actually have a much wider remit than many people think, which means there has never been a more exciting time to be a pharmacist!
Pharmacists work in patient-facing environments, which means they have the opportunity to interact with people on a regular basis; perfect for anyone who feels confident making conversation with members of the public.
What do pharmacists do?
Those with careers in pharmacy are responsible for giving the correct medication in the right dosage to customers. Alongside distributing medication, pharmacists also advise patients on what to take, how to use it, safe dosages and side effects.
Depending on where the pharmacy is based (hospital or community etc.), pharmacists may provide specialist drug services, such as oncology, nuclear pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy or mental health medication (psychiatric pharmacy).
In recent years, the NHS has campaigned to get more of the public to approach pharmacists for minor ailments and questions about medication, with the aim of removing some of the pressure from GPs and hospitals.
Where do pharmacists work?
The majority of pharmacists typically work within community or hospital settings. A community pharmacy (also known as a high street pharmacy) is open to the public and serves the local community and surrounding areas.
Community pharmacies will dispense prescribed medications, as well as over-the-counter medicines, creams and ointments. Many will also sell a selection of basic toiletries. Some community pharmacists offer extended specialist services, including confidential health advice, emergency birth control and flu vaccinations.
Hospital pharmacies are based in both NHS and private hospitals, and dispense medication to both in-patients and out-patients, often working alongside doctors and nurses to find the best course of medication for a patient.
To find a wide range of pharmacy jobs in the UK, browse Your World Healthcare's current vacancies today!
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