A Hospital Pharmacy Career

Mar 12


Paul Abbey

Paul Abbey

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Pharmacy jobs are in no short supply; in fact it may be one of the few industries where the supply outweighs the demand.


Hospital pharmacy departments vary widely in size from very large to quite small,A Hospital Pharmacy Career Articles with the average department having around 10 - 15 pharmacists, with 30 or so supporting staff - pharmacy technicians, assistants and administrative staff, to enable the pharmacists to carry out their professional roles.

Working in a hospital means not only being in the pharmacy. You will be part of the healthcare team, working closely with all other healthcare professionals, providing advice and supporting them in their roles. You will consider the individual patients needs, and spend time with patients making sure that they get the optimum benefit from their medicines.

The benefits of hospital pharmacy are:

    * Direct involvement in patient care; influencing treatment choices by being involved in decision making at the point of prescribing; making a difference to the patient; a sense of contribution       * Being part of a number of  teams; extensive social and professional networks in the pharmacy and throughout the hospital    * Support from fellow pharmacists and colleagues is always available    * The opportunity to get input from, observe, and work with, several pharmacists rather than just one role model, enabling you to formulate your own preferred practice    * A clearly defined pharmacy career structure with opportunities to develop in a range of skills which may include technical, clinical, education or management positions.    * Recognition of your expertise in whatever pharmacy career you choose; acknowledgement of your achievements; pharmacists and pharmacy services are highly valued by colleagues and management    * Continuing professional and pharmacy career development

The pre-registration trainingIf you are a pharmacy student, you can find out more about pre-registration recruitment opportunities in NHS hospitals by going to www.pharmacytraining.nhs.uk.

Both the pharmacy and the tutor appointed to supervise the graduate must be approved by the RPSGB for training purposes. The training can be undertaken in any pharmacy environment, provided at least six months is spent in one of the community or hospital sectors.

This practical experience follows a syllabus laid down by the RPSGB and involves achieving and demonstrating a variety of competences which are essential to the practice of pharmacy. The competences are activities the student must be able to perform reliably, e.g. dispensing medicines on prescription, using certain apparatus, or counselling patients.

The registration examinationAt the end of this pre-registration year, students must pass a registration examination (multiple choice). This is designed to ensure newly registered pharmacists have sufficient knowledge underpinning and complementing the practical competences.

Annual leave and weekend workAgenda for Change still needs to determine how much anual leave hospital pharmacy preregistration trainees get over the preregistration year but it is likely to be 25 days (five weeks) plus ten bank holidays. Hospital pharmacy preregistration trainees are not required to work every weekend - for depaartments that are open at weekends, preregs may be included in work rotas. Hospital departments are also often willing to consider trainees who can only work part time. If this interests you then it would be best to discuss it with any prospective training site

AccommodationMany hospitals can offer you accommodation. This is usually excellent value for money and it is sometimes subsidised; something to consider if you are going to be far from home or in an expensive city area.

Training programmeYou will undertake a rotational training programme of experience in the pharmacy services described below.

    * Aseptic/technical services - a chance to turn university theory into practice, aseptic units are commonly involved in the dispensing of parenteral nutrition, chemotherapy and complex intravenous medicines.    * Clinical pharmacy - a whole variety of medical and surgical specialties, from general acute medicine to psychiatry. Activities include taking drug histories, participation in ward rounds, influencing treatment decisions, optimising medicines management and monitoring outcomes, counselling patients.    * Community pharmacy - the RSPGB will require you to have an awareness of community pharmacy practice, so a period in a community pharmacy will be part of your training programme.    * Community services pharmacy - working at the interface between primary and secondary care. Involvement with community clinics, residential and nursing homes    * Dispensary - screening prescriptions for approriateness and accuracy prior to dispensing    * Medicines information - answering enquiries from a wide range of healthcare professionals and patients about their medicines    * Management - the basics of managing yourself, your time, a project, and other poeple    * Procurement and distribution - developing an understanding of how medicines are purchased and stock is managed in the most cost effective way    * Quality assurance/quality control - making sure that products and services reach the required standards.    * Radiopharmacy & clinical trials - specialist areas, available in some hospitals

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