Managing Your Life As A Pre-Reg Pharmacist
Life as a pre reg pharmacist
Being a pre-reg pharmacist is a vital and critical time in your young career.
Coming out of full-time education, you have a wonderfully helpful year prior to taking your assessment in which you get to learn the practical skills you need to be a pro-active, efficient and confident pharmacist – whether in-house or locum.
Working in the pharmacy itself is one big component of your pre-reg year but an equally important part is your studies. Then there’s your life itself, lest we forget that, which we’ll cover in this post today.
Having come out of university, where you’ve lived for four years on a student budget, the first thing you tend to feel at the sight of a full pharmacist’s working wage is empowerment. Here is all this lovely new money I have to spend! However, whilst it might seem like the next step with all that money is obviously to buy a lot of things you’ve had your eye on, there’s the small fact of life moving on always just around the corner.
Money management is just one of the few ways you can control your daily life in your pre-reg year to make the best out of it. Here are our advised ways to maintain a healthy, happy pre-reg life, whilst catering towards your future.
Being The Best Pre-Reg You Can Be
Money. It’s the revolving hub of our life, whether we’re the type who loves it, or indeed resents it. Having willpower and self-control with our money is a life skill the majority of us can never have enough of and in the pharmaceutical industry it’s no different.
In your Pre-Reg year, once you’ve taken your examination, you need to prepare for the time following the exam where you may be (temporarily) without income, if you’ve not secured immediate placement beyond the end of your training contract.
For this reason, we recommend investing savings during your pre-reg year, to accommodate for this (potential) period. Indeed, it’s never too soon to begin investing in your future, particularly with schemes such as the UK government’s help to buy scheme in getting your foot on the property ladder.
Here’s Money Saving Expert’s guide on savings accounts: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/savings-accounts-best-interest
Time. Another very precious commodity of life, managing your time during your pre-reg year can be the difference between a fruitful, progressive experience and a stressful, tiring period.
There are a lot of different avenues of life pulling at you during this period.
Here are a few examples which this may include:
- Your studies and oncoming exam.
- Your full-time role in the pharmacy.
- Your social life.
- Any new life ventures – such as new home or driving lessons.
With so much demanding your time and attention, without a good routine and structure it can become easy to tire and as such lose focus and lose enthusiasm to give your best effort at each and all aspects of your work. Performance in the pharmacy could drop, causing your tutor to mark you down in your assessments. Equally, tired study time could negatively affect your final exam. We don’t want any of these.
Rather, the way to managing your time and optimising your performance are twofold:
We’re all different, thankfully. Our bodies maintain different internal clocks, some take a long time to work up to top speed in the morning and function strongly at night, whereas others are bright and perky first thing and fall into slumber moods in the evening. Particularly as your in-pharmacist hours will be fixed to regular working hours, being selective with your study time and setting your environment to best suit you is going to be vital.
If you’re a night owl and awake in the evening, then a good idea would be to be dedicate time to your studies in your evenings. However, if you struggle to energise in the evening, waking up an hour earlier in the morning, doing an hour of morning study before going into the pharmacy and taking the evening to unwind is much the better option.
This will also suit anyone who has a busy and active social life!
Fun. Perhaps the most important point we can make about your pre-reg year, it should be fun. Whilst there are the obvious professional challenges of working in a new environment, adapting to full-time working life and studying for your final pre-reg examination, your pre-reg year is a rite of passage.
It’s the transition in your life from full-time education to full-time work and this change should be a fun and opportunistic one. Enjoy your new environment, enjoy your progression into full-time work. If this is your first foray into full-time work outside of education, enjoy a total adult life!
Whilst the pre-reg year comes with its challenges, it’s facing and beating these challenges that makes us better professionals and more accomplished in our lives. Make it fun, and embrace beating these challenges, rather than allowing them to pile pressure on you and make your life miserable.
Prepare Yourself. Perhaps the most important part of managing your time is to look ahead and be proactive. This is an important life skill for everyone in all sectors and periods of their life but it’s particularly helpful when you’re a pre-reg pharmacist.
Save your money, revise and prepare yourself for your exam. Do yourself the service of making sure your time after the final exam is accounted for? Where will you be? Can you get your contract at your placement pharmacy renewed? If not, where will you be? What opportunities are there in your local area? Would you rather relocate for a better opportunity? Or, would you prefer to locum and manage your workload that way, by going on hire between pharmacies?
As a pro-active and progressive agency for locums, we encourage all pre-reg pharmacists who are considering becoming a locum to do so before they take the final pre-reg exam, to protect against the possibility of being caught without work once they pass. You can find more about how you can do that here.
However, even if you’re not considering the locum’s path, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your future. Being proactive and staying ahead of the life curve is the best and easiest way to ensure your transition into full time work from education is a fun and fruitful one.