Top tips for your Pre-Reg Year
Top tips to help you through your pre-reg year
To give you head start in your pre-reg year we have asked ProPharmace a leading provider for pre-registration training nationwide to give us their top tips for trainees. We spoke to ProPharmace to help us create this blog for your pre-reg year.
Congratulations, you have finally made it to your pre-registration year!
You can escape from those noisy fresher’s students who would made your late night library revision sessions almost impossible to bear.
You can escape from the muggy lecture rooms where you pretended to pay attention, but in actual fact sat in the back row on purpose, dozing off to the latest tunes on your iPod.
You can escape from the practical lab sessions where you once gave a thought to drinking distilled water because you were severely dehydrated from the night before.
Wait, that might have just been me? In that case, I retract that last statement. Eeek! :S
Introduction to the Pre-reg year
In all seriousness…
The pre-reg year is a special year as it is designed to give you the experience you require to enable you to learn and develop into a competent and confident pharmacist and take on the responsibility of patient care.
Your role involves demonstrating that you have the skills, knowledge and character to practice to the standards expected of a pharmacist. You should make the most of every opportunity to learn and gain experience throughout the year.
Remember, your pre-reg year is not just about assessments, but also about learning how to practice in a way that delivers the best outcomes for patients.
After all, we chose this profession to help make a difference in patients lives and where possible provide them with the appropriate advice to drastically improve their quality of care.
Pre-reg Year: An Outline
The GPhC sets the education standards for all parts of pharmacist education and training in Great Britain.
Successfully completing the year effectively depends on two factors:
- – Being signed off on all the performance standards
- – Passing the registration assessment.
It is part of the tutor’s role to act as an assessor for compliance with the performance standards they will formally do so in a series of appraisals which will be held every 13 weeks leading to a final assessment at the end of the training year when they make the final decision about your suitability to join the register of Pharmacists.Only once you have done this can you apply for registration as a Pharmacist.
Your tutor plays a vital role throughout your pre-registration year. They are responsible for supporting and guiding you in your transition from student to a competent pharmacist. It is the role of the tutor to assess your competency in the areas outlined by the GPhC.
At the beginning of the pre-registration year, you will have agreed to a learning contract with your tutor which states that the tutor will undertake to support you in your role of working to comply with and achieve the ethical and professional responsibilities and competencies as outlined by the performance standards.
This learning contract works both ways. In order to successfully undertake this transition, it ultimately falls to your responsibility to absorb everything you possibly can.
The tutor’s role differs significantly than that of lecturers at university. The tutor’s role does not comprise of ‘spoon-feeding’ or lecturing you on the areas covered by the syllabus or in preparation for the exam.
Rather they are responsible for helping you to develop the skills and competencies necessary for practising as a pharmacist by facilitating a learning environment and providing you with learning opportunities.
Therefore you must take responsibility for your own learning and development. For some of you, this may be the first time working in a pharmacy environment in which case the mere observation of how your tutor practises as a pharmacist will prove vital to your development.
What to expect
The pre-registration year may seem daunting at first, the mere fact that you must now learn to juggle work, study and prepare for the registration assessment is probably very stressful. Let’s face it, university was hard but at least you knew the lecturers were responsible for writing the exam questions and you did not have to work continuously for nine hours!!
It is not easy to come out of a relaxed environment at university comprising ample free time to then be thrown into a working world which involves long hours and requires you to be on your feet for most of the day; thinking of the need to prepare for and pass an exam a few months down the line.
Certainly, for most of you the first few months of pre-registration training will be physically and mentally draining.
How to cope effectively
Initially, you should concentrate on accustoming yourself to the world of work.
- – The alarm on your phone will soon become the most annoying sound you will hear daily.
- – Office wear will take priority over your printed t-shirts and skinny jeans.
- – Your bank balance will look better than it ever has in the last 4 years.
- – For the first time in god knows how long, you may even average 3 meals a day.
- – The weekends will be the part of the week you look forward to the most.
- – Your speech and etiquette will change drastically from slang words to queens English.
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm”– Abraham Lincoln
Your feet will need time to adjust to having to bear your weight all day long.
Ladies, you will soon find that those heels you are used to wearing are no longer fit for work!
Yet, a nine-hour stint constantly being on your feet, completing the operational procedures in a pharmacy is a very different kind of pain. Invest in a nice pair of flats – your feet will be extremely grateful!
“Punctuality is the soul of business.”
Time management will be the next absolutely vital skill you will need to pick up, You will need to manage your time appropriately so that you can work on developing and achieving the necessary skills for practising pharmacy and succeeding in the registration assessment.
The days of late starts and “lie-ins” will be chucked out of the window. The days of puffy eyes and bed heads will almost certainly be upon you, so be prepared and manage your time effectively. I hear there is an alarm clock that only turns of once you have completed the calculation. Great way to wake you up and also practice your calculations all before getting out of bed.
“Focus on enjoying the journey, not the destination”
Many of you will pay much attention to the registration exam and preparation for it with less focus on what you do at work, however focusing at work will provide you with unconscious revision and prepare you for life post-qualification. Remember you will be on your own once you qualify. Patients will be looking at you as an expert in medication.
You should use the pre-registration year to learn about the practice of pharmacy and put the knowledge you learnt at university into practice.
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
An important part of the learning process involves strengthening your communication skills with customers/patients, colleagues and other healthcare professionals.
You will be expected to talk to patients and offer counselling and advice where necessary. You will also need to liaise with healthcare professionals such as GPs in the provision of health care to patients.
There is no use spending the majority of your pre-registration year hiding in the dispensary preparing prescriptions. The only way you will be able to practise your communication skills is to get out there and do it.
Take initiative and do not be afraid to deal with situations and customers. A good place to start is to observe your tutor. Once you have built up the confidence you can ask your tutor to observe you and provide you with feedback on your performance. Do not be afraid of, or put off by criticism. Take it as a step for learning or improvement.
“None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard”
Finally, another vital skill you can work on during your pre-registration year is teamwork. All areas of pharmacy involve a team.
In community, the pharmacist is usually accompanied by dispensers technicians and counter assistants.
Throughout life, you have probably avoided people that you do not get on well with. At school, you sat next to your ‘best friends’. At university, you had a group of people that you were most comfortable with and may have ignored everyone else. Unfortunately, this ‘comfort zone’ does not exist at work.
It is important that you are able to work well together as a team. The only way a pharmacy will run smoothly is if all members of the team work together well.
Also, remember that you will be part of a larger ‘healthcare team’ in caring for the patients.
In actual fact post-qualification you may even be responsible for that pharmacy team and will have to motivate and encourage this team to work together. Communicate effectively with colleagues and delegate tasks appropriately.
ProPharmace Top Tips
Here are the ProPharmace Top Tips which you can utilise during your pre-reg to ensure a successful and enriching year.
You must appear and behave in a professional manner at all times. Your professionalism is important to achieving better outcomes for your patients as well as competence in your role.
Whether that be the way you dress, the manner in which you conduct yourself, the words you convey; this all encompasses professional behaviour.
Listen to your tutor.
The advice they give you is sound and valuable. A good relationship with your tutor is crucial for a successful year ahead. The relationship you form with your tutor is something you will never forget. Make it positive and work with your tutor.
Your tutor will have been practising pharmacy for a long time and gained an enormous amount of experience. They can teach you the effective tools you need to become a fully competent and capable pharmacist.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Remember, they’re the ones who will decide whether you are fit to practice! Remember to communicate with your tutor.
Get familiar with the Stuff.
Getting to grips with both the examination syllabus and Performance standards and creating an outline plan for the year will definitely help.
Revise topics as you go along from the beginning as this will make the pre-reg year more productive and reduce pressure before the exam.
Organisation is key
Submit all of your paperwork and send documents to the GPhC on time. Being organised from the start of your pre-registration year will keep you on track for success. Things have a way of creeping up on you.
Be proactive and make the most of your placement.
Try to take full advantage of your pre-reg placement by getting involved with as many learning opportunities as possible.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you are not sure how to deal with a situation, lean upon your staff and tutor for a helping hand. However, take those opportunities to better your learning and apply them to practice next time the situation requires it.
You can even look outside of your pre-reg for some experience. I asked to be sent to other stores in the company so that I could get experience with methadone patients and dossette trays. Although I did my pre-reg placement in community I organised my own hospital experience and looking back I was very grateful that I did do all those things. I know that after going to different places my tutor saw a change in me. I became a bit more confident as a result of these experiences. Make sure if you want to do anything different you discuss it with your tutor.
Think outside the box at times, you never know what opportunities you will stumble across. You don’t know what is going to inspire so keep an open mind.
Think a little beyond what is presented and dare I say, start setting yourself to follow your dreams and ambitions.
Keep up to Date
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the best way to consistently update your knowledge and document it via an effective audit trail.
Plan ahead to attend and prepare for any training days because these will guide you through the year and maximise your chance of passing the exam.
Review your work regularly and be realistic when making a revision timetable.
Take your Time.
ALWAYS take your time and concentrate. NEVER rush because it’s your license and your conscience that will be on the line, so patient SAFETY is your main concern.
Create your own Style.
Adopt correct systems of work and rectify any bad habits from the start. The ability to adapt to situations and working processes will work in your favour.
One of the biggest hindrances to success is the ability to adapt. Nobody likes change, but more often than not change is for the better.
Learn from Mistakes.
‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’ – Albert Einstein
Throughout your year take particular notice of your own as well as others’ mistakes so you can learn from them and prevent their occurrence in the future. This is equally important as picking up the good habits of others.
Watching how your colleagues work and applying them to your own practices will mould you into the pharmacist you will one day be.
Confidence will enable you to communicate well, work effectively and be seen as an approachable and knowledgeable member of staff to patients.
There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. So don’t get too cocky otherwise it may lead to errors and mistakes!
Do not suffer in silence.
If you are struggling with any aspect of your registration year, speak to someone about this, whether this is your tutor, a mentor or a member of the pharmacy team. You can also contact pharmacist support group.
It’s up to you what you decide to do with your pre-reg. Are you going to make the most out of your year? Or are you just going to ‘see how it goes’? You choose!
Good luck with your pre-reg. We at ProPharmace hope you have an enjoyable year ahead of you! We may even speak to some of you, if you are undertaking our course 🙂
In the meantime we will leave you with some links that may be of use to you during your year:
The Pharmacists Defence Association (strongly recommend to join for free)
Pharmacist support ( Pre-regs included)
Propharmace – Training program for pre-reg students