Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who focus on the safe and effective distribution of medication. They are directly involved in patient care and well-versed in the biochemical mechanisms of a variety of drugs, their uses, side effects, potential drug interactions and monitoring parameters.
With such a wide range of valued skills, career options can be varied and there are many different avenues pharmacists can take.
A spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said: "Pharmacists work in all kinds of places and work very closely with doctors and nurses, often in local health centres or local pharmacies. They also work in local and National Health Service management, in NHS and private hospitals, in the pharmaceutical industry and within universities and colleges.
"Pharmacists also work in specialist areas such as veterinary pharmacy and in the armed forces. Others go on to careers in government departments and specialist agencies."
They advised that post-registration pharmacists looking to further their career could consider doing so by studying for a PhD or masters in a more specialised topic. Another popular option would be to undertake a period of placement in industry through a fellowship funding opportunity or by taking up a locum pharmacist job.
The spokesperson said that this month the RPS is launching a professional recognition programme exclusively for its members, in order to help identify what you need to know at different stages of practice. The service will also offer open access to support tools and a range of resources designed for pharmacists.
"It will help identify pharmacists with advanced or specialised levels of practice to colleagues and patients alike," they later explained.
The RPS representative discussed the possibility of specialising and said that when making the decision it "really comes down to personal choice and where your interests lie".
They recommended looking into each of the different areas you could specialise in and contacting a variety of groups, such as the British Oncology Pharmacy Association and the College of Mental Health Pharmacy for more details and advice. Here you can find information to suit your individual needs and skills, thereby making the choice a little easier.
The spokesperson went on to discuss the current job prospects for pharmacists.
While the economic climate is certainly proving challenging across many professions, they argued that pharmacists and their relevant skills continue to be very much in demand.
They said: "Being able to demonstrate that you are flexible and responsive to patient needs will make you more adaptable in these challenging times.
"In an ageing society, more and more people are taking medicines, with complex medicines." Therefore the role of the pharmacist is proving to be ever more vital.
The RPS spokesperson went on to say: "There is a real need for pharmacists to help patients make the best use of their medicines, whether in hospital or close to home in the community. The skills of pharmacists are much needed and more students than ever are entering the profession."
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