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  • Career in pharmacy

    hi im new!
    First of all i want thank god there is this forum!
    After many months debating with myself and teachers i have decided that i want to do pharmacy as a degree/career. Even though i have made this choice, i still have some niggling questions that i thought someone may be able to help me with.Thanks alot
    1. Best university for pharmacy- i want to go to cardiff personally- good enough?!

    2. I know this is way into the future but the pre reg year and the exam- thy dont really mention it anywhere. Is the exam something u can revise for and do sucessful?Im asking cos i dnt want to do four year course then completely mess up my chances of having a career! Oh during your year, are you assigned a tutor from the company/hospital or from the uni?

    Thankyou- i am very sorry if you have had these questions berfore which im sure you have!

  • #2
    1. Doesn't matter as long as the course is approved by the RPSGB

    2. Trainee notes (and sample exams) can be found here

    http://tinyurl.com/oak2v

    Jeff

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ben0282
      hi im new!
      First of all i want thank god there is this forum!
      After many months debating with myself and teachers i have decided that i want to do pharmacy as a degree/career. Even though i have made this choice, i still have some niggling questions that i thought someone may be able to help me with.Thanks alot
      1. Best university for pharmacy- i want to go to cardiff personally- good enough?!

      2. I know this is way into the future but the pre reg year and the exam- thy dont really mention it anywhere. Is the exam something u can revise for and do sucessful?Im asking cos i dnt want to do four year course then completely mess up my chances of having a career! Oh during your year, are you assigned a tutor from the company/hospital or from the uni?

      Thankyou- i am very sorry if you have had these questions berfore which im sure you have!
      Hi Ben and welcome to the forum

      To put my answer to your questions: -

      1. Cardiff will be a fine place to go in my opinion.

      2. I did the pre-reg exams and they are nothing like your degree exams - far easier. So if you can pass the degree you should be able to pass these two exams at the end. You also get three attempts, and most people pass on the first one.

      I'd just add that you should think very carefully if this is the job you want to do. If you read the posts on here, although some people are really happy being a pharmacist, a lot are not.

      What attracts you to the job? Maybe you could put down your reasons, and we could tell you if you have a realistic view of what being a pharmacist is like.

      Lively debate is encouraged but please respect the opinions and feelings of others.
      Please help keep the forum vibrant by spreading the work to friends and colleagues via word of mouth or social media.
      Thank you for contributing to this site.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ben0282
        hi im new!
        First of all i want thank god there is this forum!
        After many months debating with myself and teachers i have decided that i want to do pharmacy as a degree/career. Even though i have made this choice, i still have some niggling questions that i thought someone may be able to help me with.Thanks alot
        1. Best university for pharmacy- i want to go to cardiff personally- good enough?!

        2. I know this is way into the future but the pre reg year and the exam- thy dont really mention it anywhere. Is the exam something u can revise for and do sucessful?Im asking cos i dnt want to do four year course then completely mess up my chances of having a career! Oh during your year, are you assigned a tutor from the company/hospital or from the uni?

        Thankyou- i am very sorry if you have had these questions berfore which im sure you have!
        1. Cardiff is considered one of the best Universitys for pharmacy (top 3 after Nottingham and Bath). So it'd be abcolutely fine to go there. I went to Bath - the best four years of my life - so I'd highly recommend going there. But if you're a Welsh boy you'll probably want to go to Cardiff. Univeristy choice is irrelevant for a career in pharmacy. So is degree grade.
        2. The pre-reg exam is really really easy. Approx 95% of people pass first time around. Then you get 2 more chances. The only people who fail are those who (a) those who can't read English and (b) people who got NO sleep the night before the exam cos they ended up staying above a pub in Cardiff

        That's the helpful bit out of the way. Now I have to try and save you.

        Firstly, teachers and careers advisors are of limited help. Unless they've ever been a pharmacist they don't know what the work involves. The promotion of pharmacy to sixth form students and the reality of working as a pharmacist are VERY DIFFERENT. I just want to tell you the reality to balance out the propaganda you will have heard from school.

        In reality pharmacy graduates will either work in community (Boots, Lloyds etc) or hospital. Very few - possible about 3 people a year from all the schools of pharmacy go into industry (Glaxo, Astra Zeneca etc to do drug discovery work (i.e. 'real science'). I was lied to by careers advisors and the University that industry was a seriously viable option as a pharmacy graduate. It is NOT.

        Working in community -
        - Every day is the same
        - You get treated like crap by the public cos they think you're just some shop assistant and don't realise you have a four years degree in drugs.
        - You get treated like crap by nurses and doctors because they don't realise you have a four year degree in drugs.
        - Prescriptions = money. The multiple pharmacy chains want you to check as many prescriptions at once. Whilst standing on your head. And serving someone nappies at the same time. Thus you end up rushing. Rushing = mistakes. Mistakes with drugs kill people. We don't get paid enough for this responsibility.
        - Read all the grumbling posts re: customers on this board to get a good idea of stuff.
        - Job satisfaction only happens about once every three months.

        I qualified a year ago. Only approx 20% of my friends are happy in their community pharmacy job. But their definition of happy is 'money'.

        Hospital pharmacy -
        - Depends largely on the hospital
        - Some are good and you get to go on ward rounds with doctors and they actually listen to you and change medication accordingly.
        - Others are crap and all you do is dispense drugs.

        Out of my friends, 50% of them in the last year are moved from hospital to community. The main reason for this is ''the job is just as crap, but community pays more''. The remainder who are left in hospital are 'fairly happy'. But also very stressed due to on-call hours.

        So basically, if you're choosing pharmacy cos it's an all-round science degree and you want to go into research - DON'T DO IT. Do chemistry or biochem instead. If you want to be treated badly by customers and doctors and work in shop for the rest of your life then do it. Don't be fooled by the pay on graduation. Although it's loads more than any other degree (approx 30K, can get 40K or 50K in community) the pay basically stays the same for the rest of you life. Whereas other subject graduate pay start on 20K but within 20 years they could well be on 80-90K.

        Rant over. Ask questions if you're confused.

        Comment


        • #5
          he final rant of N.T. has an element of truth for those that allow it - however IF you take the plunge and open your own pharmacy sucessfully there's big money to be made.

          In terms of job satisfaction - independant prescribing is just around the corner.

          Your pharmacy degree in the UK can be used as a stepping stone to working as a pharmacist in the USA (see another thread for the pay scales out there)

          Community pharmacy is very much a performing art get out of the dispensary and talk to the customers (not just in the event of a complaint - but as a matter of course). You can become an important part of their lives.
          Get used to people crying on your shoulder and change jobs within three months of a patient saying "I'm beginning to think it's time we were just put to sleep" unless you have an emotional detachment that I lack.

          Jeff

          Comment


          • #6
            To be or not to be (pharmacist)?

            Gosh N.T. why don't you scare the living daylights out of the guy before he has even started his first lecture in pharmaceutics and other delights. I agree with both N.T. and Admin. Think carefully about the kind of work you would be interested in doing for the rest of your life. What the careers teachers seem to know about pharmacy can be written on the back of a stamp, a very small stamp indeed.

            Quite rightly it has been pointed out that whilst upon qualifying you will be earning as much money as a seasoned pharmacist but that is where you will more or less stay. Pharmacy ,by and large, does not reward the pharmacist for his\her input and is more concerned with doing as many prescriptions as possible(though this is also under threat) and by the amount and type of additional services you can provide whilst juggling five balls, singing Land of Hope and Glory and reciting War and Peace successively. All in all it's pants.

            Save yourself the agony of disappointment and go and do some voluntary work at your local pharmacy and see if it is really for you. Ask the pharmacist whether they enjoy their work, is it varied, is it interesting and would they tell their children to follow in their footsteps? If the answer to all three is a resounding "NO!" then you have your answer. If on the other hand the answer is an excited "YES!" ask him which planet he lives on and when he intends on returning to the planet "HelpImStupid".

            I hope that our input is useful to you and we have done enough to give you something to think about before you finally take the plunge. If you still decide to continue then best of luck (you will need it). Take care.

            P.S. Before i got my post on site i have just read Jeff's. Again Jeff has offered more constructive ideas for you upon qualifying. True, independent prescribing may be a possibility for some in reality be expected to do that kind of work for little or no pay increment. The only true beneficiaries of this will be the doctors,whose workload decreases, and Owners of pharmacies who will be gaining more prescriptions. On the other hand you will be expected to do more. We have a very weak Society governing us and an even weaker organisation who talk with the government on how we are going to be paid in providing these services. Usually, more work and less pay. I am not criticising Jeff but he seems at least to have some good experiences with pharmacy.
            Last edited by Amba; 21, September 2006, 02:44 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              If forgot to add my main conclusion to my above post:

              - If you love science and research and making 'stuff go bang' and investigating stuff you'll want a career in research. So do chemistry/biochemistry/pharmacology.
              - If you want to 'help people' and have that warm fuzzy Ready-Brek glow when you've saved someone's life/made them happy then do medicine.

              Pharmacy is no man's land.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh my.......

                Well Ben I hope that lot has given you something to think about!

                I am probably a fairly rare breed, as I have worked in retail, hospital and industry. I'd have said that industry was the most interesting, but really needs a PhD to get in. Having said that, my friend returned to the company we both worked for, and said the rules and regs drove him crazy now.

                I have worked in a really good hospital for pharmacy, and an average/poor one. The trouble is, everyone wants to work in the good one, so competition can be fearce. This makes getting those jobs very difficult.

                I do know one guy who had two sons - both now pharmacists. Having said that, they had a very successful shop and shipping business to inherit, which helps a lot. I don't have any children myself, but I would not recommend they do my job.

                If you are business inclined, then starting/buying your own shop can have a lot of financial rewards. This is getting harder all the time though, as the multiples are gobbling up every shop that's for sale, and of course they can out bid you.

                I guess it's swings and roundabouts really. Some people love their job (or at least say they do) others hate it.

                It's one of the saddest things in this job, reading a post from someone like NT who has only been qualified 1 year and yet hates it so much already. I think it sunk in with me the first week of my pre-reg that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

                Having said all that though, it does virtually guarantee you a job upon graduation, and I think for what I actually do the money is quite good. Yes it's boring, just like factory work is boring, but you get paid more.

                You also constantly have the Pharmaceutical Society's axe hanging over your head, as they will take you to the statt comm for a dispensing error - regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. I personally know three pharmacists who have had mental health problems due to the stress from work. Many more turn to drink because of it, I am sure.

                Jeff talks of his lack of emotional detachment. I personally do have this detachment, but if I didn't then working in a hospital would be impossible. That doesn't mean I don't have empathy with people or that I don't care, it just means I can go home at night and forget about them.
                Lively debate is encouraged but please respect the opinions and feelings of others.
                Please help keep the forum vibrant by spreading the work to friends and colleagues via word of mouth or social media.
                Thank you for contributing to this site.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Career in Pharmacy

                  Hi Ben,

                  it's nice to think that people like you still want to come into pharmacy and believe me we will still need them in the years to come. Financially you will be well cared for and won't have to worry in that respect too much.

                  My only concern is that you need to ask yourself are you prepared for the types of change that the government wants to see the profession is undergoing? Are you the sort of person who wants to meet fresh challenges head on or would you feel that once you have qualified that you should be more or less allowed to practice without too much intereference from the powers that be? If the former then you will be ok. If the latter then the newer demanding roles that the profession of pharmacy will be asking of you will make you think twice about why you ever bothered, especially as i don't see any new payments for you as the pharmacist as a consequence.

                  Just like the Admin i had realised that i had chosen the wrong career whilst i was doing my pre-reg year but the thought of qualifying kept me going. I have enjoyed a reasonable income for the last 10 years but it is getting harder each year to keep enjoying the work.

                  Working conditions have deteriorated and my many friends who are pharmacists all seem to be complaining about the profession yet interestingly enough have done nothing about it. Does that mean that its normal to complain about every job out there regardless or is there any truth behind their rantings? I don't really have the answer to their moanings but i know for myself,at least, that i can see pharmacy for me ending soon.

                  Don't let me put you off but this is just one point of view that has been put forward. Go and talk to a few pharmacists and hear what they have got to say. You have already heard from a few of us here on this site.

                  Maybe i am just an old dog who doesn't want to learn any new tricks especially as i don't see them benefitting me. I have compassion and empathy for my patients but that soon wears thin when i have to relive each and every day like the day before, bored and watching the clock tick away the minutes of my life. You are young yet so think hard. Best of luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd just like to add Cardiff is an amazing place to do pharmacy ... actually any degree if you decide against pharmacy. I've just had the best three years of my life and I'm sad this year is going to be my last

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sometimes I think that whatever you do it must get boring after a while. Even if you're an orthopaedic surgeon, after fitting your 500th artificial hip it must all start to seem the same I guess.
                      Lively debate is encouraged but please respect the opinions and feelings of others.
                      Please help keep the forum vibrant by spreading the work to friends and colleagues via word of mouth or social media.
                      Thank you for contributing to this site.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        why are there spring and autumn papers?

                        are there 2 exams in the year?

                        lol im a forth year and dont have a clue whats coming up next.

                        just going with the flow. Being working in a community pharmacy and loved it. I did various things but mainly methadone preparation (measuring pouring labelling etc) and the pharmacist checked every stage because he's liable if anything goes wrong. And i supervised too (although i was abit scared of the odd patient) but mostly they were lovely.

                        The pharmacist seems to love his job since he's over the retirement age and is still working full time. the locum today however seemed to hate her job, she said im probably enjoying work exp. because im still learning and it's all new at the moment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gaby
                          why are there spring and autumn papers?

                          are there 2 exams in the year?

                          lol im a forth year and dont have a clue whats coming up next.
                          I assume you're talking about the registration exam? There are two sittings, one at the end of june and one in october or november (I think). There are two reasons for this. One is so that those people who fail the exam the first time round can re-take it quickly, and the other reason is that you have to have completed 45 weeks of your pre-reg before sitting the exam. So if you started your pre-reg late, you would not have done 45 weeks by the end of june.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            yes steve, i was talking about the pre-reg exams.

                            It does nt seem like im ever gonna get a pre-reg placement. Everyone keeps saying it's gonna be ok, which is really annoying me because they all have their places confirmed whereas i dont even have any offers, they have no idea what im going through right now.

                            If i dont get a place, i dunno what im gonna do, might go into banking join a graduate program or PGCE and keep my options open.

                            life can be so strange at times.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              thanks

                              hi everyone- thankyou for all you responses- it has taken me a while to read them all! I have had doubts like what you said- the monotomy and being treated like crap- i thankyou for telling me those cos at the end of the day my careers teacher knows f**k all about pharamcy! I have to admit i may have been drawn into it by the propaganda but atm i see it as using my scientific knowledge as well as my social side. I spoke to my local pharamcist and he has done it all (community,hosipital etc) AND said he loved it! I also think he quite sane and not from the planet 'imstupid'! Im going to some work experience with him shortly. The prob is i need to decide now cos my school want my UCAS in. My other career path was to study biochemistry or chemistry and then go into industry but once again they know f all about it so i have had research all by myself. It has taken me six months to decide to do this!Does anyone know what its like to be in industry?
                              Like you say its a big plunge cos its a definite career path but surely you are going to get people from every profession who hate their job?!
                              Any more thoughts/advice?!
                              ps. thnks for clearing up the worry about the pre-reg exam and yes i am half welsh so want to go back to my roots!

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