Anon15041
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I’ve almost finished my second year of pharmacy and I’m really enjoying the course. I accepted the offer on a whim after not getting the grades I had been hoping for. I blame myself for not doing the adequate research before starting the course but I had talked to someone I know who’s a pharmacist and she had many positive things to say about it.
However, since starting the course I’ve found out that many people hate the job after qualifying and regret becoming a pharmacist. Is there any hope for me after I’ve completed the course? I’m hoping to get into hospital pharmacy after working in community for a bit. I just don’t want 5 years of hard work to be for nothing..
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Oxedrin
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You are way further down the course to change tack. If I was in your shoes, I would finish the degree, do the pre reg year and get on the register and start locuming. In the meantime, I would explore other career options such as medicine or any other ventures you could think of. Pharmacy is on a downhill trajectory and I feel students are not being properly informed of the reality of being a community pharmacist. Unfortunately, most pharmacy student aspire and compete very hard to get that elusive and dwindling opportunities in hospital pharmacy but chances are 8/10 end up in that abhorrent community pharmacy environment.

I have worked as a community pharmacist for many years and I can’t honestly list a single positive in this rotten profession.
Last edited by Oxedrin; 1 month ago
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0895
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(Original post by Anon15041)
I’ve almost finished my second year of pharmacy and I’m really enjoying the course. I accepted the offer on a whim after not getting the grades I had been hoping for. I blame myself for not doing the adequate research before starting the course but I had talked to someone I know who’s a pharmacist and she had many positive things to say about it.
However, since starting the course I’ve found out that many people hate the job after qualifying and regret becoming a pharmacist. Is there any hope for me after I’ve completed the course? I’m hoping to get into hospital pharmacy after working in community for a bit. I just don’t want 5 years of hard work to be for nothing..
(my emphasis in bold)
This is exactly the reason I post here, as a community pharmacist, who works with many pharmacy students every summer and pre-regs, and you hear this time and time again. Well done for being honest. There seems to be many universities that seem to offer medicine and dentistry students who miss a grade, a place in pharmacy as a consolation prize?? This is why I keep banging on about research, research, research, what a pharmacy degree will lead to. There's nothing really wrong with the degree itself. It's varied and interesting.

But, I would second what Oxedrin has stated, that is to finish the course, do the pre-reg and get on the register, then go from there.

I will be honest and admit that I too did something similar, wasn't able to do medicine, so my Mom suggested pharmacy. Based on the fact our local independent chemist lived on a big new posh housing estate, drove a v.v. nice big german car, sent his children to private school, etc!!!
So this being the late 80s, and being a teenager and not thinking much about my future, I just went and did pharmacy, when what I really wanted to be was a GP! Unfortunately back then there wasn't fast track medicine for graduates or studying in Europe, if it was possible, certainly wasn't a mainstream idea, and although medical schools would take recent graduates, it wasn't really advertised, and when Tony Blair brought in GEM about 20 yrs ago, I was in my early 30s and felt too old! I was lucky though. When I qualified there was a shortage of pharmacists and the wages were good, and it wasn't that stressful, but was kind of a bit dull. Now the stress is v high, wages poor, and too many graduates keeping wages down.
Sooo... anyway keep on going and qualify and then have another think.
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Claremont4ever
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It depends on what you want in a career. If it's money you want, you will make loads as an employed community pharmacist and/or a locum. If the clinical aspect of it appeals to you, hospital and GP pharmacy will ensure you practice clinically till you are sick of it.

The massive advantage of pharmacy over and beyond medicine is its versatility. There are several paths to diverge to that are well-paid and very satisfying.
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Oxedrin
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
It depends on what you want in a career. If it's money you want, you will make loads as an employed community pharmacist and/or a locum. If the clinical aspect of it appeals to you, hospital and GP pharmacy will ensure you practice clinically till you are sick of it.

The massive advantage of pharmacy over and beyond medicine is its versatility. There are several paths to diverge to that are well-paid and very satisfying.
The average locum shift is £18-21 and realtime wages are falling faster than inflation.

As to versatility, medicine offers more than 60 specialties and sub-specialties. It’s one hell of a claim to say pharmacy offers more versatility than medicine.

The respondent paints a utopia in pharmacy which no longer exists. Do yourself a favour and use your critical mind to critique what you read. Don’t take my word on the state of community pharmacy but read independent pharmacy publications sush Chemist and Druggist or speak with your high street community pharmacists in confidence and enquire about their working conditions.
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Sarah H.
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I agree with Oxedrin and 0895. Abandoning the degree course at this stage would be costly and unwise. I respect you for acknowledging your mistake at this early stage and seeking advice on remedial action. Too many do nothing and have a lifetime of regrets.

Completing the degree and qualifying as a pharmacist would at least give you a grounding to reassess your position and plan your future.

There is another option that you may consider. I had a summer pharmacy student a few years ago who like you appreciated early the grim reality of community pharmacy. He left uni. at the end of year 3 with a BSc equivalent. He was fast tracked onto a teaching degree and is now teaching chemistry at secondary school. Teaching may not be for you but with a respected science degree under your belt there are doors to be opened. I believe all universities give this option but don’t shout about for fear of losing your year 4 fees.

In regards community pharmacy (where 2/3 pharmacy graduates find employment). After a lifetime as a community pharmacist, it gives me no pleasure to state that is very much on an accelerating downward trajectory. To sum up community pharmacy today in a sentence: Poorly paid (& getting worse), often appalling and highly stressful working conditions, no career structure and a very uncertain future.

I am sure you will find a path to a happy and prosperous future, so don't worry. Best of luck to you!
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TheChosenWon
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I have not read the responses above so excuse me if I sound repetitive.

There is definitely hope for you. Like yourself, I enjoyed the Mpharm course, but slowly realized while studying that the job isn't as glamorous as my 6th form science teachers made it out to be and the remuneration is average at best (compared to other career options requiring the same level of intensity).

I graduated in my Mpharm degree in 2016, sat pre-reg for 1 year, and hated it as I knew I would. I had worked as a dispenser for the previous 3 years during university. After 1 year pre-reg I left pharmacy completely without looking back, and without qualifying as a Pharmacist! In hindsight, it would have been good to qualify as a Pharmacist back then as locuming while looking for a new career would have been a great flexible source of income and is always a decent 'back up' plan in case I didn't find a job for 6months+.
note: I landed a grad-scheme role within 2 months of intense applications!

I had thought long and hard about leaving Pharmacy way before graduating and so I had already done extensive research on what other career paths would suit me in a more corporate world, and so because of this, as soon as I left Pharmacy I started applying for graduate roles immediately as I already had a good idea of what job I wanted.

Fast forward to now and I'm in a completely unrelated career to Pharmacy with 3.5 years of solid experience. The salary is good, the intensity level is manageable and more importantly there is sustainable growth for my future career with regards to both money and responsibility.

Ironically enough, the saving grace for me securing a new role in corporate (IT incase you're wondering), was my Mpharm degree. Mpharm is a very tough STEM masters degree which is recognized by a lot of companies, especially if you make to sure paint a proper picture of all the skills it has taught you, both personal and analytical/academic.

What's even better is that I recently decided to give the pre-reg March 2021 exam a go this year and passed it with 95%, so I should be officially qualified and on the register soon. Although I don't enjoy the job overly much, I'm happy to do the odd locum shift on bank holidays etc just for a bit of extra cash if I feel like it. I dont mind doing some long weeks while I'm young, but I know its not sustainable life-long. I can handle community pharmacy in small doses haha! So now as someone in their 20s with dual-income careers, I should be able to purchase my first home in London with 0 help from family (not that I have that option anyway).

My point is that, even if you don't want to be a Pharmacist long-term, in my humble opinion for you at this point it is worth graduating and getting onto the register as it can provide you decent flexible income while searching for a new career and always provides a decent 'back up'. Even in the future just say for the example the worst happens and you get made redundant from your new career, you can cover the financial gaps while searching for a new job by locuming. It cant hurt to have the extra option there as a failsafe.

If you are adamant on changing careers, I would strongly suggest to start researching asap now what you want to do. Before you know it you will be graduating, and it gets much tougher to figure things out like this once you're in full-time employment.

If you want any advice/tips feel free to DM me.

Wish you all the best on your journey
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ChillBear
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If you're steadfast on pharmacy you're more in luck working in hospital or general practice and progressing through the NHS bands. Community pharmacy is an absolute dead end career with little progression, plenty work related stress and patients generally don't appreciate your role.

After 5 years in community I had one pay rise. Every year that passed by I was actually losing money due to inflation. Having swapped to general practice my locum rate has gone up substantially, but what made me more happy is that being employed by the NHS my pay automatically goes up annually separate to promotions. Two weeks ago it went up £0.25 ph, which really doesn't sound like a lot but it was automatic. I didn't have to have a meeting with my boss, no discussion, nothing, just an automatic raise to stave off inflation. It's peace of mind that you might not necessarily have working in community.
Last edited by ChillBear; 1 month ago
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