After finishing the pre-reg exam and joining the register I took some time to relax and reflect on five years of hard work. Becoming a recently qualified pharmacist is an exciting time in your career, a great many doors are suddenly opened for us and the opportunities available are endless.
It’s always good to have access to additional support to help navigate the various obstacles and opportunities that present themselves along the way. Fortunately membership of the RPS brings with it many benefits, which are especially relevant for us recently qualified pharmacists. I’ve complied the various resources I’ve found most useful to form a list of seven essential services in the hope it will help you.
- Professional Support Service – The enquiry service is available online via e-mail and over the phone, it really is a useful tool providing support and guidance regarding legal and ethical issues we may encounter throughout our early careers.
- Networking – We provide a number of different ways to reach out to other pharmacists, which is helpful for enhancing pharmacy practice. The local practice forums provide localised support, and are a great way to find out how to integrate better with the services provided in your area. There are also the online groups, which are forums of pharmacists covering everything from CPD support to overseas aid work. Networking can help you form vital connections which are useful throughout your career, it’s never too early to get involved so have a look!
- Mentoring – Having the additional support of a mentor can be a valuable experience, providing an extra pair of ears and eyes to help guide you, and having a mentor external to the organisation in which you work can be beneficial for your career progression as well as your skills. It’s a good idea to sign up to the mentoring service early on so that when you need a helping hand it’s already there for you.
- Quick Reference Guides – These are fantastic guides designed to cover all of the important points of a vast array of topics; from OTC counselling to critical meds, it’s all there in an easy to digest format which can be dipped into when needed. In addition there’s also sector specific material for community and hospital.
- Foundation Programme – This newly accredited development programme is specifically designed for recently qualified pharmacists, allowing us to develop our skills alongside a framework, and then showcase the results with impressive post-nominals! In the coming months I’m going to be taking part in the foundation scheme and blogging about my experience along the way and you’re more than welcome to join me.
- Finding a job – You can’t be a pharmacist without a pharmacy to work in, fortunately we have you covered! The best place to check out vacancies is the PJ Jobs website.
- CPD Support – Need help with your CPD? There’s a great section on the RPS website which provides help on how to identify learning needs, and how to construct entries which are both relevant to your practice and up to GPhC standards.
So that’s the condensed version of what I’ve found most useful from the societies many resources, taking the time to digest this can be a useful way to make sure you’re getting the most out of membership. The RPS has a great deal to offer recently qualified pharmacists, I’ve found all of the extra support to be very valuable, so don’t forget to upgrade your membership and good luck with your future career!