Sarah Parmor is originally from North Wales, and after going to University in Cardiff to study dentistry, she worked a...
- Work in a pharmacy, hospital or in the community dispensing and advising on medicines and other treatments
- This is a highly responsible job where you'll need excellent science skills and attention to detail
- A career with excellent promotion prospects and routes into senior roles
As a pharmacist, your day-to-day activities will depend on the area of pharmacy you work in. They could include:
- Dispensing medicines in a community pharmacy, hospital or a GP practice clinic
- Giving healthcare advice about prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- Advising on drug dosages and risks, to the public, patients, GPs and nurses
- Running screening programmes for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure; visiting care homes or hospital wards to advise on the use and storage of medications
- Ordering and controlling stock
- Running a business, including supervising and training staff
- Producing medicines when ready-made ones aren't available, for example, cancer treatments
- Buying, quality testing and distributing medicines throughout a hospital
You could also work in education or in industry, where you'd be doing research into new medicines, and running clinical trials.
To be a pharmacist, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, sensitivity and understanding, customer service skills, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, maths knowledge, excellent verbal communication skills, and the ability to read English.
You'll need to do a 4-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), and a 1-year pre-registration training course in pharmacy.
If you don't have the qualifications to get onto an MPharm degree, you could do a 2-year pharmacy foundation degree. You could then take a job as pharmacy assistant or technician and apply for the MPharm degree directly into year two.
You'll also need to pass enhanced background checks.
There is a formal career structure in the NHS, so with experience you could progress to team manager or pharmacy consultant. You could also work in GP's surgeries or health centres.
Promotion opportunities can be good if you're working for one of the larger pharmacy chains where you can apply for regional or national management positions.
With experience, you could set up your own community pharmacy business. After further training, you could go on to teach pharmacy students at university.