You may know your pharmacist as the person who fills your prescription, but they are so much more than that! Have you ever wondered ‘how much can you ask a pharmacist’? Here, we aim to help you understand what pharmacists do and why they play such an essential role in our society.
To do that, we’ve interviewed two pharmacists from different settings; hospital and community. Read on and find out more about these diverse pharmacy jobs.
Babatunde Sokoya – Independent Prescribing Pharmacist
(From Easter Pharmacy in Essex)
Q: Why choose community pharmacy over hospital?
A: Working in community pharmacy gives you a much wider variety of services you can offer to the public. You’re able to interact with people you see regularly, forming real bonds with them and providing a more personalised service. You’re so much more involved with the local community than if you were working in a hospital. What I do is really fulfilling.
Q: Have you ever tried hospital pharmacy? If so, what made you transition to community?
A: I did work in hospital pharmacy early on in my career. For me, this job is all about the people; I’m a people-person and love working face-to-face with patients. However, in a hospital setting, you didn’t get that level of interaction and I missed working with people I could get to know. That’s why I made the decision to move into community and eventually, open my own independent pharmacy.
Q: What are the shift patterns like in community pharmacy?
A: It can really vary depending on the individual pharmacy. We work long hours – Monday to Friday plus weekends. We always want to give our community the best service possible, which means we’ll stay open later.
Q: What advice would you give to a graduate looking for jobs in community pharmacy?
A: There really hasn’t been a more exciting time to start in a community setting. Because of the large drive to move responsibilities from doctors to pharmacists, we are involved with so much more, and we have greater opportunities than before. I’m a prescribing pharmacist – I took a pharmacist prescribing course – and I encourage graduates to do the same because you can get involved with more services for customers. Be passionate! Do lots of research and understand where pharmacy is going as this will make you a better pharmacist.
Q: Why are you proud to be a pharmacist?
A: I want to make a difference, and I feel that by opening my own independent pharmacy, I’ve been able to do that. It’s so fulfilling to see how we can make a difference to people’s lives, helping both patients and other healthcare professionals with our services. I always try to do as much as possible for the community, and it feels great to see the results.