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JUN 12/2014

Careers in hospital pharmacy: a guide

When considering the key medical roles within a well-functioning hospital, the job of the hospital pharmacist may not necessarily have the highest profile, but this belies the fact they play an absolutely essential part in the effective provision of care.

People seeking NHS hospital pharmacy jobs should be ready to step into a highly-skilled line of work that will require them to demonstrate considerable expertise and flexibility as they help to provide expert advice on medical therapies, work as part of a team and fulfil various other roles.

For those with the necessary level of ability and enthusiasm, careers in this field can be immensely rewarding and fascinating, and the field is only set to become more important in the years to come.

Becoming a go-to expert in medicines
Pharmacy teams, whether in hospitals or in the community, play a vital role in ensuring that medicines are used safely and effectively by patients - a job that is becoming more complex than ever due to the rising number of people with long-term conditions.

In the context of a hospital, pharmacists will need to provide advice to other healthcare professionals on the effects of a medicine or combination, as well as sharing their views on correct dosages and the most appropriate form of administration, depending on the individual needs of the patient.

Working closely with medical and nursing staff on the wards, pharmacists are relied upon to offer information on possible side effects and then monitor the safety and efficacy of the ongoing treatment. Moreover, staff will also need to liaise with individual patients with specific conditions such as heart, kidney or liver disease, ensuring they are provided with appropriate medicines.

As such, staff working in these roles will need to be extremely learned on the various established and emerging therapies available, constantly referencing a wide range of databases to keep abreast of the latest research. They will also need to be able to communicate their expertise clearly and effectively.

Fulfilling a variety of roles
However, there is more to hospital pharmacy jobs than simply dispensing advice. Pharmacists are also responsible for the purchase, dispensing, quality testing and supply of all medicines used in the hospital, working in close harmony with pharmacy technicians and assistants.

In some cases, they may need to get involved directly in manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations are unavailable or need to be tailor-made under sterile conditions.

What's more, hospital pharmacists will often need to take on various management and administrative responsibilities to ensure the team runs smoothly and the books are balanced. As such, flexibility, meticulousness and problem-solving skills are just as important as qualifications.

The growing importance of hospital pharmacists
Currently, efforts are being made to ensure pharmacists play a bigger role in the overall provision of care. A growing number of pharmacists are now qualified to prescribe in their own right, with many developing their own specialist skillsets, while others go on to become consultant pharmacists, sharing their expertise at a national level.

Those who choose to pursue a career in this field can be at the forefront of the ongoing evolution of the sector, while taking advantage of the many opportunities hospital pharmacy jobs have to offer.

Check out some of our latest Pharmacy Jobs here

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