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  • Writer's pictureDavid Harper

Pre-Reg Pharmacists: Tips For The Pharmacy

The Pre-Registration year is one of the most exciting and equally trying times in a budding pharmacists career.

Having completed the final 4 years of your academic education, the transition from being a student to a legitimate worker in the industry can be as overwhelming as it can be adventurous.

In your pre-reg year, you’ll be expected to learn all the practicalities of working day-to-day in a pharmacy, whilst equally revising and preparing for that final exam in June.

You’re also going to need to prepare for life after – you pass! – the exam. Many budding locums in particular see life’s path up until the exam but don’t think about what happens after, and with their pre-reg contacts expired, find themselves caught out in the cold.

With so much to consider, it’s understandable why so many in their pre-reg year can struggle to come to grips with it all. This blog is 1 of 3 to help you with that.

Pharmaseekers is the UK’s most advanced and progressive locum placement agency. We offer unbeatable promptness and ease of management for locums with our intelligent booking and planning system. If you are a pre-reg thinking of locuming, you’re in the right place. Or, if you just want to make your life easier, you’re in the right place too.

Here are some pointers for working in your placement pharmacy.

In The Pharmacy

  1. Signing Your Contract

At the beginning of your training, you and your tutor will sign a contract. This is not a contract of employment but rather a commitment from yourself and your tutor towards the whole period of training. You will need to submit your signed contract to the GPhC as part of your application for the pre-reg year of training and you can find more information on that here.

  1. Your Relationship With Your Tutor Should Be Professional

Your tutor will perform four separate assessments of your performance across your pre-reg year – at 13, 26, 39 and 49 weeks. All four of these assessments are important but in particular the 39 week and 49 week assessments are vital, as without your tutor’s sign off at the end of these you will be unable to sit your final exam or register.

You should aim to make friends with your tutor if they are of the type, but ultimately your best practice is to keep things professional. Be polite and forthcoming but remember that any working professional needs a sense of self-worth. Work within the bounds of your contract and perform duties reasonably. Put yourself in the shoes of the tutor and ask yourself what you would rate highly from yourself as a pre-reg pharmacist.

  1. Time Management

They’ll be more on this in a later blog but with regards to your pharmacy:

Selecting a placement which is close to you is important, as your time during this period is going to be precious with your studies.

With your work in the pharmacy taking up your daytime hours, it’s somewhat of an inevitability that you’ll have to study in the evening, which means when you factor in cooking time, time to unwind and, of course, sleep, reducing the commutes as best you can is going to aid you in the recharging of those vital mental and physical batteries.

  1. Medicine Restrictions

Perhaps the most important aspect of learning you will do in placement is with regards to OTC medicines and their restrictions. These will almost definitely crop up in the exam and if, for example, you had a mother asking if she could use Chloramphenicol eye drops for her 18-month old daughter with conjunctivitis, you would need to know to advise her that it’s unavailable for under 2-year olds.

The other factor to make sure you’ve got perfect are your BNF studies, on the proper diagnosing of symptoms and conditions and the proper treatments and prescriptions relevant to you as a pharmacist. You can get more information about BNF publications here.

  1. Practice A High Standard Of Customer Service

At least 23 of your pre-reg contracted weeks will be in a customer facing role. In just the same way as the General Pharmaceutical Council would expect one of their full-time pharmacists to exercise a high standard of care and service for customers, equally they’ll expect it from you and it will form a big part of your assessment.

As part of this service, pharmacists fall under an outlined ‘Duty of Candour’ to which they  ‘must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress.’ Whilst it sounds dramatic, it ultimately boils down to respect for the customer, their situation and their personal privacy.

  1. Performance Standards

There are 76 individual performance standards that your tutor must sign you off against as part of your training. Whilst some of these standards are part and parcel of a good standard of customer service, there are others which are highly industry specific. The three categories of these standards are:

  1. Personal Effectiveness

  2. Interpersonal Skills

  3. Medicines & Health

You can find more information about what each of these categories covers and what each criteria specifically is here.

In Summary

Your pre-reg time in the pharmacy is like an apprenticeship – it’s your chance to learn the practicalities of day-to-day life working in a pharmacy. Expectations of yourself should be set from the get go by you and your tutor, who is there to support you the entire way.

Transitioning from full-time education to the workplace is not without its challenges but that’s what your tutor is there to aid you with. You should approach your pre-reg year in a pharmacy by managing your expectations. Nobody is going to expect you to be able to hold the fort alone at this point.

Rather, by going into your pre-reg year with a level-head, open ears and an open mind you will find it becomes a very fruitful experience. The time is there to help you grow and develop into the pharmacist you’ll eventually be. So set your expectations to learn and don’t put any pressure on yourself. The pre-reg year is there to help you, so let it!

We encourage all readers to progress for more information to these specialist site resources:

If you’re a pre-reg coming to the end of your placement and beginning to consider life after your exam, we remind you that it’s never too soon to sign up with us, if you’re considering being a locum. You can do that here.

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