Pharmacy Career Choices
Every year thousands of trainees go through a rollercoaster of emotions whilst completing their pre-registration year.It may have felt like an uphill struggle. From eagerness and enthusiasm at the beginning to stress, anxiety and doubt near the examination season. However, the real excitement begins on the other side as a newly qualified pharmacist and your begin your Pharmacy Career!
As a new member of the profession, it can sometimes be challenging to decide which career path to follow. The good news is that stepping into the pharmacy profession opens doors to various paths. From traditional routes such as community, hospital, academia and industry, to more varied routes such as pharmacists working in GP practices, clinical research, NHS 111, military, primary care organisations, veterinary pharmacies, prisons, humanitarian organisations, just to name a few.
The important thing to remember is to continue exploring the numerous opportunities along the way before making a firm decision on one sector alone. So, what influences students when making decisions about their career? Results from a study carried out at The University of Manchester, showed that 57% of their participating students had made decisions about their career at the end of their third year.(1) In particular, one of the largest influencing factors was found to be previous work experience. Other factors which have been highlighted to play a substantial part in influencing career path include: geographical location, personal fulfilment, professional development, salary, career progression, creativeness and innovation in the workplace.(1)
With relevance to the above, here is an inspiring quote by Gautama Buddha:
“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
The quote really speaks for itself, the key is to find that inner passion and happiness for what we choose to do in life and then embrace it wholeheartedly.
My personal life as a qualified pharmacist began in the summer of 2015. I have since then explored various opportunities within the field of pharmacy. Currently, I work as a junior resident pharmacist at The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Alongside this, I also held roles within other organisations including The Leicester School of Pharmacy, The PreReg Room, The Pharmacists’ Defence Association, to name a few. To secure many of these opportunities it certainly required determination, resilience and hard work. You are just starting your journey and there are various ways of keeping informed of new opportunities. From signing up to alerts from NHS Jobs and other agencies, through to joining related social media pharmacy pages and professional networking opportunities offered by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association.
Last but not least, research carried out by Cai and colleagues examined the effect of personality on career exploration and the ability to adapt.(2) The findings suggested that both self-esteem and proactive personality positively predict career adaptability.(2) These findings are an important consideration, because not only they help to understand the fundamentals of professional growth but also carry implications on career construction.
Finally, remember to start with “why” you enjoy what you do because approximately a third of our time is spent working and hence it is important to find that which drives us. Then once you have found it, follow that passion through wholeheartedly.
(1) SILVERTHORNE, J., et al. (2003) Factors that Influence the Career Choices of Pharmacy Undergraduates. Pharmacy Education. Volume: 3 (3), pp. 161-167.
(2) CAI, Z., et al. (2015) Self-esteem and proactive personality as predictors of future work self and career adaptability: An examination of mediating and moderating processes. Journal of Vocational Behavior. Volume: 86, pp. 86-94.
We would like to thank Baguiasri Mandane for taking time from her busy schedule to write this blog for the newly qualified students.