Career profile: what does a pharmacist do?

Pharmacists are an integral part of health care provider teams and community. They work long hours, after years of study, in order to safely provide medicines and other supplies to the people who need them. If you have a budding pharmacist within your student group, they may be asking about how they successfully pursue their chosen career as a Pharmacist. We have put together a short career profile of a Pharmacist to help guide your students. 

Which qualifications does a Pharmacist need? 

  • Complete a General Pharmaceutical Council-accredited Masters degree in Pharmacy (MPharm – 4 years, full time)
  • 1 Year pre-registration training
  • Pass the General Pharmaceutical Council registration assessment
  • Meet the General Pharmaceutical Council fitness to practice requirements for registration as a pharmacist.

Another route could be via the Pharmacy Foundation Degree, a 2 year, full time course. Contents of this course include MPharm degree Year 1, plus some work experience which should allow your students to start at MPharm Year 2 level

What are the responsibilities of a Pharmacist?

  • Prepare and dispense prescriptions, advising on any possible side effects, checking prescriptions for accuracy
  • Supervise drug preparation (some need on-site preparation before giving to the patient), including correct labelling of bottles showing correct hazards, dosage and instructions
  • Ensure all controlled drugs are regulated and registered
  • Advising the general public on minor ailments (which could be sensitive), stop-smoking and weight reduction programmes
  • Managing, training and supervising Pharmacy staff
  • Keeping up to date with pharmacy practice & drug guidelines

What are the personal qualities of a Pharmacist? 

  • Communication skills: must be excellent due to dealing with sometimes sensitive information, lots of face to face interaction with the public – serving customers, answering their questions
  • Meticulous accuracy & attention to detail required – dealing with an individual’s personal health needs, including getting the dosage right, ensuring medications are compatible
  • High level of responsibility – legally responsible for ensuring prescriptions are correct

Where does a Pharmacist work? 

We often think of a Pharmacist working in a community pharmacy, there are other settings where Pharmacists can be found too. 

  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Community Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Assistant/Support Worker
  • Pharmacy Technician

Becoming a Pharmacist can be a hugely rewarding career of helping people, with a high level of responsibility. Do you have any aspiring Pharmacists in your student group? Tell us on our Twitter and Facebook pages about your students' successes and dream careers!