Top tips for a locum pharmacist in their first week at a new hospital pharmacy

The first few weeks of a new locum pharmacy position at a new hospital can be intense, demanding and challenging. But at the same time, meeting a new team, experiencing a new working environment  and enhancing your pharmacy skills can be of course very rewarding and enjoyable. I have compiled my top three tips that I find very valuable in an induction week of each new post; to help ensure that I can get up to speed working as a locum pharmacist in the new working environment in an efficient, safe and manageable manner.


1. Communicate your previous pharmacy experience to your pharmacy manager and team members

Managing expectations as well as utilising your skills will be part of your new manager's role. Although the new manager may be familiar with your experience from selecting you on the basis of your curriculum vitae, I find it very helpful to reiterate this at the induction day(s) to not only my manager but also to the support staff and pharmacy teams that I am working with. In this light with clear communication of the different areas I worked in and how recent that experience is, it has helped in terms of training and support requirements.  Ie for a hospital pharmacy post within clinical trials - outlining that you have clinical trial screening and accuracy checking experience but you haven't been involved with the management of Investigational Medicinal Products in terms of receipt and returns to the sponsors will clearly set and manage everybodies expectations and the support they offer you.

2.  Get familiar with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

One thing that I always treat as a priority during the induction day(s) is to locate, familiarise, read and sign off, on the SOPs at the new location. Although the principals may be similar in terms of the expectations and the previous training, the actual operational processes can vary between hospitals. Reading the SOPs first thing can be valuable as it will be at a time during the induction where you can become familiar with the various procedures and clarify any specific areas that need to be addressed - or that are different to what you have experienced before. During the induction there is normally a facilitator with you - and by reading the SOPs at this time, this allows you to utilise this facilitator as much as possible rather than a few weeks in and trying to locate that specific person while you are in the midst of a ward round!

3. Navigate and familiarise yourself with the hospitals' web page/intranet/web page

Most hospitals now have their own individualised home page or intranet where invaluable information is for all staff members - and particularly for pharmacists. Commonly the pages have information about the facilities and the different departments/phone numbers and bleep numbers details/clinical pathways/pharmacy and medical resources/opening times/drug and therapeutics committee minutes/information about the electronic systems used in the hospital/prescribing formularies - the list is ongoing! By becoming familiar very soon into your induction with the layout, the various avenues, what information it contains and how this information can be accessed it can be of real help to both yourself and the teams you will be working on for future weeks when quick access is required.


What other tips could you offer for a locum pharmacist starting a new hospital pharmacy position?



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