The beginning of the long road to becoming a Hospital Pharmacist

So I thought I would start by giving an insight into my career so far as a Hospital Pharmacist. It has been a long road so here is the beginning...

First a bit of background about me; I went to the London School of Pharmacy now known as UCL, School of Pharmacy where I obtained my masters. During my academic time I worked as a pharmacy assistant every Saturday at a local independent pharmacy. I highly recommend any pharmacy student to gain experience whilst studying. Not only did I gain the necessary skills that I now use in my career as a qualified pharmacist, but also it gives you a real insight into life as a pharmacist. I remember my first experience with a difficult patient, where the decision I made will result in a satisfied patient or one that walks away and chooses another pharmacy to obtain their medicines from.

I then went on to do a summer placement with Boots, where I gained experience working within a pharmacy franchise. It is very different to the independent pharmacy I worked in. Firstly there is a lot of structure; it’s not just one boss you are trying to impress. Your manager has an area manager, who will then have a regional manager who may then have further bosses to answer to. I enjoyed my time there but I felt I wanted to do more. No disrespect to community pharmacists, the daily stress they go through trying to ensure a whole community is safely receiving their medicines is something I admire. I have many good friends who I know will thrive in community. I still locum in the local pharmacy on a Saturday!!

Whilst in university I tried so hard to gain experience within a hospital. Each summer I would apply to hospitals but to my dismay I would not hear anything back. Not hearing back can be very disheartening however I never let it get to me and I was motivated to achieve my goal. So I thought one last try, it was pre-registration application time and I had already gained a place at Boots through my summer placement. I worked tirelessly on my hospital application, trying to ensure that I ticked their boxes. I knew that if I could obtain an interview I could show my enthusiasm face to face. It finally worked; I obtained an interview for all 4 of my chosen hospitals. The bad news was that my interview would be in front of a panel representing 3 of the hospitals. I was confident approaching my interview - you have to be! Cutting a long story short I gained a place at St. George’s Hospital, a tertiary teaching hospital. FINALLY!

And so my career as a hospital pharmacist began, I’ll leave it there so I can build up some suspense! Let’s just say the last 2 years since I’ve qualified have been eventful!


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