Pharmacy or nursing ?Watch
Any advice ??
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But from the sounds of nursing, its very very intense, a lot of coursework, a lot of practicals, and a lot of placements. A real contrast from my year in pharmacy which has been all theory and just writing, the nurses got really hands on straight away, something my course outline doesn't offer till I'm actually working :')
Nurses get lower pay, but I think it would be more enjoyable to be a nurse, but also a heck of a lot more stressful, lots to weigh out
I can probably describe some of the roles of a pharmacist though, but probably what would be key would be to get some work experience in the fields you're interested in, or speak to other professionals from each group and see what you'd rather do in the long run!
So the majority of pharmacists end up working in the community sector, either in a large multiple, like Boots or Lloyds, or smaller independant shops. Usually their role is to dispense community prescriptions (and if they have time counsel the patients), advise on minor ailments and over the counter medications (or know when to refer patients on to GPs or A&E etc), and there's also other things community pharmacists can do such as medication review clinics. Unfortunately, depending on where you work, you'll be under a lot of pressure (either from the company you work for, or general pressure from the workload), to priorotise certain tasks, and it can be difficult to do the things you'd like to such as patient counselling, or comprehensive medication reviews. However, maybe that's just cause I never quite found community pharmacy to be to my liking, so I may have some preconceptions about community pharmayc; if any community pharmacists (or students who are set on community) have any constructive opinions to give, feel free to chip in!
Hospital pharmacy is where I work at the moment. I found it to be a bit more interesting role than community. At the moment I'm a band 6 rotational pharmacist (bottom of the heap!) and my role generally involves; doing medicines reconcilliation to make sure the patient's medication history is correct; reviewing medication charts on the ward, and discussing any concerns I have with the medical and nursing staff; giving advice if asked by the other health professionals; getting involved in discharge management and counselling patients; and doing a few dispensary sessions a week which aren't the most fun, but are necessary.
As you move up the hospital pharmacy ladder, you tend to become more specialised in certain areas, and build up your experience in that speciality; band 8 pharmacists often give advice on ward rounds to the consultants, or to anyone else who needs it!
However it's not necessarily all sunshine and rainbows! With cuts to the NHS, most hospital pharmacy departments are understaffed. In quite a few hospitals you end up focusing so much on med rec on admission, and prescriptions on discharge that you can't do as much clinical work as you like, and everyone hates dispensary and on-call sessions! Also it's pretty competetive to get into hospital pharmacy (I was certainly hearing of upwards of 50-60 applicants for a single post when the pharmacist registration exam was taking place), but there's usually always some jobs floating about, it's just about improving your application and persevering, if that's where you want to work.
If that doesn't tickle your fancy though, a very select few pharmacists end up in the pharmaceutical industry, or in academic research. Industry is very hard to get into, and with the large companies tending to move out of the UK, hard to come by as well! Generally roles include things like quality control, and being the qualified person, who signs off on the production of the medications. I do know a few pharmacists who did PhDs, and are probably going to end up in academic research.
I have to admit I don't know too much about this area though!
Overall though, there's probably a limited application of chemistry and maths in pharmacy (apart from industry and research!). I might use some basic chemistry for IV drug compatability (based on pH) or for elimination calculations when monitoring narrow therapeutic index drugs (though there's usually reference books and population profiles you can use).
Apologies for the long post, but that's a brief overview of the three main areas pharmacists end up in, hope that helps?
My friend who is doing pharmacy loves revising for exams and says she self-teaches herself half the modules because most of the course has been re-invented to incorporate team working skills etc (a new thing they put in place for her cohort) whilst I have the different placements to look forward to and also the fun clinical skills sessions!
All courses are hard in their own way but I certainly love the thrill of seeing which placement I have next, who my mentor might be, the juggling of university assignments and exams aswell as the great clinical skills rooms!