epicnm
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Hello
I am starting my work experience next week in a Pharmacy. I am looking to study medicine and will be completing the placement in a community pharmacy. What should I be recording for the work experience placement. Also how could I relate this placement if I want to do medicine. What skills are developed during the pharmacy placement. Any extra advice would also be much appreciated! Thanks!
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claireestelle
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(Original post by epicnm)
Hello
I am starting my work experience next week in a Pharmacy. I am looking to study medicine and will be completing the placement in a community pharmacy. What should I be recording for the work experience placement. Also how could I relate this placement if I want to do medicine. What skills are developed during the pharmacy placement. Any extra advice would also be much appreciated! Thanks!
you likely only be allowed to observe things and maybe talk to patients
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epicnm
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Yes, that’s what I thought. What will I be observing and what are the day-to-day jobs of pharmacists
(Original post by claireestelle)
you likely only be allowed to observe things and maybe talk to patients
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claireestelle
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(Original post by epicnm)
Yes, that’s what I thought. What will I be observing and what are the day-to-day jobs of pharmacists
checking prescriptions and patients being given advice.
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quasa
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(Original post by epicnm)
Yes, that’s what I thought. What will I be observing and what are the day-to-day jobs of pharmacists
Depending on what sector of pharmacy, the role varies quite a bit tbh (be warned, the list covers most sectors so only read below the 1st paragraph if your interested to know more about pharmacy).

The place youll be shadowing at will be a community pharmacy (so in other words a retail shop). these places tend to be the ones youll hear pharmacists complain about the most on forums (including TSR) and is the field most pharmacists end up working in due to the sheer competition the other sectors in pharmacy (those ill get onto later). Typical day for a community pharmacist is like what claireestelle said (dispensing, advising on medication), with the occasional enhanced service here and there (enhanced services are services pharmacists can provide without you needing to see your doctor for a prescription) such as smoking cessation, vaccinations, travel clinics (so getting protection for places with malaia and other foreign illnesses), erectile dysfunction (not the same thing as premature ejaculation, both have different treatment options), hair loss and period delay. some community pharmacist do aesthetic stuff like botox, fillers, skin lift, peels, etc.

Hospital pharmacy has different tiers but essentially involves most of your time reviewing drug charts on hospital wards, contacting GPs and Community pharmacies to share information about patients medication in and out of hospital, creating medication summaries for patients being discharged and supervising technciians and counselling patients and other health professionals about medication. after a few years experience however, it gets more interesting as you are actively involved in training junior and senior health professionals (including doctors, nurses, HCAs and of course pharmacy staff), you get to specialise and prescribe in different fields (e.g. cardiology, pain, anticoagulation, emergency care (so a&e) etc) and you are either responsible or are involved in creating prescribing formularies for use in hospitals (so you get to describe what is prescribed for different conditions based on evidence, safety, efficacy and cost). Whilst very experienced pharmacists can earn the same as doctors, reality is that in a hospital you always have to answer to / work under consultants (and if your on call, you are screwed as you are literally the only pharmacist for 1 or more hospitals on duty that shift in some places). That being said, you do get to hold clinics such as diabetes and warfarin clinics and are the main point of call for managing patients with these conditions in some hospitals.

General Practice Pharmacy is similar to hospital in terms of being more clinical, except you could say it combines the best bits of community and hospital. junior (non-prescribing) pharmacists are predominantly involved reviewing patient medication and advising and counselling patients and health professionals (GPs, community nurses, HCAs) about medication queries and discussing prescribing options for different conditions in conjunction with the local commissioning group (CCG - these groups are responsible for providing and maintaining all health services within a certai ngeographical location). Senior pharmacists are similar to experienced hospital pharmacists in the sense that you get to prescribe for different conditions (or become an advanced general prescriber and do essentially what a GP does but without spending X years studying medicine and Y years specialising as a GP), hold clinics for different conditions. Major pluses of GP vs Hospital are better hours (no night shifts) and you get to build a rapport with local patients in the community (as well as community pharmacies I guess) and you can become a partner in the general practice / practice group you work at! Downsides are you dotn get to build as much clinical knowledge as hospital and you do have to make the occasional house or care home visit.

Primary care pharmacists are a bit like GP practice pharmacists but they tend to do more work for the CCG and are responsible for developing and implementing prescribing guidelines for the whole CCG (downside, virtually not much time with patients; plus side, you get £40k a year for <20 hours a week of work).

EPMA (or electronic prescribing and medicines administration) pharmacy is an interesting field you tend tosee in digitally advanced hospitals or for companies that develop patient record / management software for all health providers. EPMA pharmacists are essentially project managers who relay information between software developers and clinicians to ensure proper software is developed and adapted to the needs of hospitals, general practices and community pharmacies (I recently got invited to apply for a role with one of the 2 largest patient management firms in the UK by 1 of their senior management but declined as it was a part time job that would require me to travel 320 miles (510km)+ a day).

Medicines Information is a field which is dominated by pharmacists, with pharmacists based in hospital, industry (more on that later) or private companies. This, as the name suggests, is literally advising people about medication and legislative queries (essentially its like working in a call centre but you can get paid over £30k a year as a junior and over £50k a year with >5 years experience in the role).


Industry is by far and away the most lucrative sector, but it is also the one with the least jobs. Pharmacy, along with Medicine, are the only 2 degrees which can allow you to get work at a drug company without a PHD but you still need connections to get your foot through the door (so summer internships, nepotistic connections and networking are musts if you want to work in industry). Saying that, the most common roles you will find pharmacists doing are pharmacovigilance (investigating adverse drug reactions during clinical trials and irl), medicines information, medical & regulatory affairs (so essentially dealing with different health bodies to try and get them to use / prescribe the medication you are trying to flog and dealing with legislative issues). Additionally, pharmacists can become medical science liasons, which are extremely lucrative (starting salary for a lot of places is £75000+) but are essentially the same as being a jumped up salesperson who deals with more medical and regulatory stuff than your typical pharmaceutical rep. If you have a PHD, there is a good chance you can get involved in developing drugs as well, although a lot of drug companies these days tend to purchase university drug startups as it costs billions to develop drugs and get it to a market vs spending a few hundred million to essentially just flog the drug without spending money on R&d costs.

Academia, like the name suggests, is literally being a uni lecturer who gets to do their own research projects.

Hopefully this answers your question about the day-to-day role of pharmacists. As ive mentioned, the one a vast majority of pharmacists find themselves in (so >80% of pharmacists) is community, however the other sectors are more interesting (this is mainly due to a lack of jobs available in different geographical locations and most available jobs in the interesting fields requiring prior experience working in those fields...which is hard to come by if there are virtually no jobs :lol:)
Last edited by quasa; 2 years ago
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epicnm
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Wow! This was super helpful in explaining the life of a pharmacist and how they work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals. Thanks so much! I think following my community placement, I’d like to gain experience in one of these other fields within pharmacy. Thanks again!
(Original post by quasa)
Depending on what sector of pharmacy, the role varies quite a bit tbh (be warned, the list covers most sectors so only read below the 1st paragraph if your interested to know more about pharmacy).

The place youll be shadowing at will be a community pharmacy (so in other words a retail shop). these places tend to be the ones youll hear pharmacists complain about the most on forums (including TSR) and is the field most pharmacists end up working in due to the sheer competition the other sectors in pharmacy (those ill get onto later). Typical day for a community pharmacist is like what claireestelle said (dispensing, advising on medication), with the occasional enhanced service here and there (enhanced services are services pharmacists can provide without you needing to see your doctor for a prescription) such as smoking cessation, vaccinations, travel clinics (so getting protection for places with malaia and other foreign illnesses), erectile dysfunction (not the same thing as premature ejaculation, both have different treatment options), hair loss and period delay. some community pharmacist do aesthetic stuff like botox, fillers, skin lift, peels, etc.

Hospital pharmacy has different tiers but essentially involves most of your time reviewing drug charts on hospital wards, contacting GPs and Community pharmacies to share information about patients medication in and out of hospital, creating medication summaries for patients being discharged and supervising technciians and counselling patients and other health professionals about medication. after a few years experience however, it gets more interesting as you are actively involved in training junior and senior health professionals (including doctors, nurses, HCAs and of course pharmacy staff), you get to specialise and prescribe in different fields (e.g. cardiology, pain, anticoagulation, emergency care (so a&e) etc) and you are either responsible or are involved in creating prescribing formularies for use in hospitals (so you get to describe what is prescribed for different conditions based on evidence, safety, efficacy and cost). Whilst very experienced pharmacists can earn the same as doctors, reality is that in a hospital you always have to answer to / work under consultants (and if your on call, you are screwed as you are literally the only pharmacist for 1 or more hospitals on duty that shift in some places). That being said, you do get to hold clinics such as diabetes and warfarin clinics and are the main point of call for managing patients with these conditions in some hospitals.

General Practice Pharmacy is similar to hospital in terms of being more clinical, except you could say it combines the best bits of community and hospital. junior (non-prescribing) pharmacists are predominantly involved reviewing patient medication and advising and counselling patients and health professionals (GPs, community nurses, HCAs) about medication queries and discussing prescribing options for different conditions in conjunction with the local commissioning group (CCG - these groups are responsible for providing and maintaining all health services within a certai ngeographical location). Senior pharmacists are similar to experienced hospital pharmacists in the sense that you get to prescribe for different conditions (or become an advanced general prescriber and do essentially what a GP does but without spending X years studying medicine and Y years specialising as a GP), hold clinics for different conditions. Major pluses of GP vs Hospital are better hours (no night shifts) and you get to build a rapport with local patients in the community (as well as community pharmacies I guess) and you can become a partner in the general practice / practice group you work at! Downsides are you dotn get to build as much clinical knowledge as hospital and you do have to make the occasional house or care home visit.

Primary care pharmacists are a bit like GP practice pharmacists but they tend to do more work for the CCG and are responsible for developing and implementing prescribing guidelines for the whole CCG (downside, virtually not much time with patients; plus side, you get £40k a year for <20 hours a week of work).

EPMA (or electronic prescribing and medicines administration) pharmacy is an interesting field you tend tosee in digitally advanced hospitals or for companies that develop patient record / management software for all health providers. EPMA pharmacists are essentially project managers who relay information between software developers and clinicians to ensure proper software is developed and adapted to the needs of hospitals, general practices and community pharmacies (I recently got invited to apply for a role with one of the 2 largest patient management firms in the UK by 1 of their senior management but declined as it was a part time job that would require me to travel 320 miles (510km)+ a day).

Medicines Information is a field which is dominated by pharmacists, with pharmacists based in hospital, industry (more on that later) or private companies. This, as the name suggests, is literally advising people about medication and legislative queries (essentially its like working in a call centre but you can get paid over £30k a year as a junior and over £50k a year with >5 years experience in the role).


Industry is by far and away the most lucrative sector, but it is also the one with the least jobs. Pharmacy, along with Medicine, are the only 2 degrees which can allow you to get work at a drug company without a PHD but you still need connections to get your foot through the door (so summer internships, nepotistic connections and networking are musts if you want to work in industry). Saying that, the most common roles you will find pharmacists doing are pharmacovigilance (investigating adverse drug reactions during clinical trials and irl), medicines information, medical & regulatory affairs (so essentially dealing with different health bodies to try and get them to use / prescribe the medication you are trying to flog and dealing with legislative issues). Additionally, pharmacists can become medical science liasons, which are extremely lucrative (starting salary for a lot of places is £75000+) but are essentially the same as being a jumped up salesperson who deals with more medical and regulatory stuff than your typical pharmaceutical rep. If you have a PHD, there is a good chance you can get involved in developing drugs as well, although a lot of drug companies these days tend to purchase university drug startups as it costs billions to develop drugs and get it to a market vs spending a few hundred million to essentially just flog the drug without spending money on R&d costs.

Academia, like the name suggests, is literally being a uni lecturer who gets to do their own research projects.

Hopefully this answers your question about the day-to-day role of pharmacists. As ive mentioned, the one a vast majority of pharmacists find themselves in (so >80% of pharmacists) is community, however the other sectors are more interesting (this is mainly due to a lack of jobs available in different geographical locations and most available jobs in the interesting fields requiring prior experience working in those fields...which is hard to come by if there are virtually no jobs :lol:)
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