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Crossing over from community to hospital pharmacy!

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  • Crossing over from community to hospital pharmacy!

    Hey everyone,

    I just wanted to share my experience of crossing over from community to hospital pharmacy and hope it helps anyone who is planning on making the same crossover.

    I've been qualified for a year now, I started off locumming in community pharmacy (it was the quickest way for me to start earning money). After about six months I decided I wanted to go into Hospital. To be quite honest, I had done some research and found that locum hospital pharmacists get paid way more than locum community pharmacists and most hospitals offer block bookings over a period of time (5 days a week for 2 months etc).

    I had no hospital experience, apart from a handful of placements whilst at uni, and I kept getting rejected. I'm based in London, so I thought I'd best branch out and sacrifice travelling outside of London.

    About two months after looking a hospital just outside of London needed a "locum checking pharmacist" to start ASAP, they were so desperate that they didn't require any previous hospital experience. I called in straight away and spoke with the person responsible for recruiting and said I was available to start the next day. I sent over my CV and received a call the next day asking me to come in to start work the following day.

    Now, I was advised that this role would involve ACT work, but I didn't mind, I just needed the hospital experience.

    It was an outpatient pharmacy in a very busy hospital, and initially I was just checking and dispensing. The other pharmacists who were working were carrying out the clinical screening of prescriptions etc. To be honest, after a few weeks I felt as if I was working as dispenser/ACT.

    I wanted to learn more, so I befriended the inpatient pharmacists. I'd go in before my shift and shadow them doing clinical screening of chemotherapy prescriptions, counselling cycle 1 chemo patients etc. (The trick is to be enthusiastic and tell others you're keen to learn)

    I was soon rotated into the outpatient oncology pharmacy. I was over the moon because I wanted experience in a specialist field. Fast forward two months, I gained my confidence in a hospital setting and started applying for other roles within London.

    Soon after, I was offered a locum band 6 role (3 month position) in a hospital in central London but specifically dealing with SACT (systemic anti-cancer therapy). The only down side to this all was that there was a marked difference in the training offered to permanent pharmacist as opposed to locum pharmacists.

    After 6 months of hospital experience, I felt that it was time to look for a permanent role. My clinical knowledge wasn't where it needed to be and I didn't feel as competent as some of the other pharmacists on the ward etc. The thing is, I wasn't prepared to take a pay cut, NHS band 6 roles' salary isn't exactly attractive and nor are the working hours. I was still locumming on weekends in community so I wasn't really keen on the idea of going on call.

    So I found a 12 month fixed term contract covering maternity leave in a private hospital so I applied and I was offered an interview. The interview mainly focused on oncology related questions,and competency based questions but I showed real enthusiasm throughout. I was offered the job, and I accepted.

    I'm half way through my contract now, I'm receiving the training and learning a great deal. The downside obviously is that it is't as fast paced as the NHS, and nowhere near enough patients. However I am doing daily ward rounds, screening chemotherapy and building my confidence.

    I've even started the clinical diploma (self-funded), I thought I may as well make the most out of the year and learn as much as I can.

    I still locum in community on weekends, and evenings.

    Crossing over from community to hospital is possible, you have to be willing to sacrifice and be pro-active about your learning. Carry a notepad, write down everything, look up whatever you don't understand and ask questions.

    I hope this helps

  • #2
    Thanks for giving us the benefit of your experience. We have so many posters come on wanting information and so few willing to report like this for others to learn.
    Well done.


    • #3
      Brilliant post. All the best in your career.