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  • Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

    Is it wise/unwise to get a part time job whilst studying a 4 year MPharm course? It would be nice not getting in so much dept, but pharmacy is a hard course to study. I would hate to sacrifice my degree by earning some extra cash on the side.

    At the moment I have nearly £5k saved up. I'm also tied between going on an around the world trip with my friends for 5 months in the summer (just before going to uni) or using the money to make life at uni a little less financially restricting.

    People say that when I come out of uni I could be up to £30k in debt. I was thinking what I could do is after getting my MPharm degree is go back and live at home (If I could cope). Then for 2 years get some locum work at 20k/yr and hopefully pay off the £30k debt (I'm good at not spending).

    So if things turned out right, I would be 25 years old dept free, have an MPharm degree and possible a long term job contract at a pharmacy on £20k a year. Then what? Settle down, get a mortgage, get a house, have 2 kids. How did your lives turn out after you achieved you MPharm degree?

    20k/yr rising to 30k/yr - it would probably take 20 years to buy my own home.

  • #2
    Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

    Hi JP,

    I'm in the third year now. In my first year I got a job with BTC and did a Saturday and two evenings which I reduced to just Saturdays in second year and am now on a nil-hours contract (i.e. they give me a call when they're short staffed).

    I found that working in the pharmacy alongside my degree was good as I got to put the science into practice - sounds corny lol but what I'm trying to say that its all very well learning the facts but actually carrying out the work is a lot different. It helps to familiarise yourself with OTC and if you work in the dispensary POM brands and you match up the drugs more quickly if that makes sense. You also get an idea of the most frequently prescribed things so familiarising yourself with appropriate doses.

    However, I was living at home at the time and commuting to University so that meant I wasn't paying food or accomodation costs. I went on the nil hours in September and havn't worked since then but have involved myself in the extracurricular pharmacy things so its all about the balance. Equally you could have no job during term time and apply to one of the many summer programmes or get a summer job in pharmacy or otherwise.

    HTH

    Laura
    wake up and smell the 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione

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    • #3
      Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

      Hi,

      I just qualified this month so those with more experience may be better placed to advise than me. However, I started my degree with no cash to speak of (altho I had been in care so I got some financial help from social services with rent etc), but I basically lived on my student loan and only worked during summer vacations. I managed fairly well on this so I wouldn't worry too much.

      Also, my pre-reg placement paid about £15k/year and the jobs I am currently applying for tend to pay £30-35k per year plus various benefits; so it is possible that your expectations of starting salary are a little low - altho I'm not sure if this is anywhere near average as I'm only basing my figures on my own experience.

      I think as long as you don't overdo the partying (and take full advantage of the student discount!) the debt is manageable - I have ~£16k to pay back but it is deducted with income tax etc. so you don't really notice it.
      I also know people who held Saturday jobs during term-time and they still seemed to get all the work done - 4-8 hours per week is probably enough tho, if you are working all the time it could be a problem.

      Good luck with it anyway, I think it is great to be thinking about these things now and planning a strategy...kinda wish I had thought of that!

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      • #4
        Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

        At one time I was ding a verly early paper round and also working at BTC on sats and holidays. Gave up paper round as work load intensified.
        johnep

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        • #5
          Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

          Hey JP,

          It's possible to do a little bit of work in the first year or two (ie a Saturday, or couple of evenings), but the work load is intense compared with most other degrees -mine was approx 24-28hrs a week at uni (lectures/tutorials/practicals) plus all time needed for coursework/assignments/reading around subject. You will literally be working 'full time' just with your degree.
          And it depends how much of a social life you want/need too -still important to remain that well rounded individual I'm sure you are!!

          In my final year I was easily putting in a total of 50-60hrs a week!... Worth it though to come out with a good degree.

          I graduated in 2002 with £15k in student loan plus about £10k in overdraft etc, but I only worked in the summer on pharmacy placements (bare in mind that hospital won't pay, but still worth it to find out about it)

          Most pre-reg places are currently paying about £17-20k for the year, and as soon as you qualify you'll be on £30k+ in community and £24k+ in hospital.
          i.e this is a well paid job.

          I'm still massively in debt. But I am an exception (I can only work part time cos of a disability ) Most people I know have a great standard of living very quickly after leaving uni, and have a far greater chance of getting on the housing ladder (albeit mortgaged up to the hilt!) within a few years of graduating.

          Pharmacy is a great career, with loads of opportunities if you're bright interested and well motivated -so it sounds like you'll do v well.

          Maybe you could join your friends for a couple of months travelling, rather than the whole shebang?! The world's an amazing place. Good luck, let us know how you get on
          The funkee pharmacist!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

            Question from an old fogie (in my forties)! How do you finance the travelling after running up a student debt and overdraft? I'm just curious, since so many people do it nowadays. How do you then manage to rent a place to live and buy a car while paying it all off?

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            • #7
              Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

              [QUOTE=JP18;20570 I'm also tied between going on an around the world trip with my friends for 5 months in the summer (just before going to uni) or using the money to make life at uni a little less financially restricting.
              [/QUOTE]
              That's a no brainer.
              If you are not prepared to travel when you've 5k saved up what chance is there of you doing so once you are in debt, thinking about career progression, housing ladders and the rest that life has to offer?
              That opportunity to travel isn't going to come around again for a long time.

              Jeff

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              • #8
                Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

                I'd advise you to go on that holiday, enjoy your free time before you knuckle down to years of hard work!
                I worked all through uni every Sat and Sun, but gave up Sundays in final year. I still managed a 2.1. The fact I worked in pharmacy helped massively. My friends had no idea about OTC products when they qualified as it was never taught at uni and they did hospital pre-reg so just had their 2 week cross-sector placement to learn it. Working alongside uni definitely helps, I still remember my diuretic lectures really well from 2nd year as I could picture the boxes in the dispensary! weird but true!

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                • #9
                  Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

                  Having never had the opportunity to go to university nor the money to travel I would say travel first whilst you can. At least if ,uni doesn't pan out god forbid, you will have done something to look back on and smile about. I too am and old fogie (in my forties) and just over a quarter of a century ago I chose to raise a family over travel.Read between the lines.
                  None of us know what is round the corner and grasp whatever opportunity/good fortune you have now because life is too short.
                  All the best with you future whatever it may be.
                  Make some one smile today.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Questions from a person just getting in to pharmacy

                    Originally posted by funkeeduck View Post



                    Most pre-reg places are currently paying about £17-20k for the year, and as soon as you qualify you'll be on £30k+ in community and £24k+ in hospital.
                    i.e this is a well paid job.


                    I thought it was about 37-38k in the community no?

                    24k for a hospital pharmacist is a bad joke from NHS's side in my opinion. No wonder they have so many vacancies.

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