With the pre-registration year drawing to a close and many new names appearing on the register, newly qualified pharmacists such as myself are thinking about the next steps to take in our careers. After finishing the pre-registration year many pharmacists choose to become locums; this can be a great way to experience lots of different pharmacies, from small independents to large multiples. The locum lifestyle has many benefits, and for newly qualified pharmacists it is an ideal way to rapidly expand our ever important CV. Taking the initial plunge can be a little daunting, with so many things to consider, from choosing the right agency to preparing for your first shift it can be difficult knowing where to start; fortunately there is ample support available to help make this process far more straightforward.
- CV Building. Now that you’ve completed your pre-registration year don’t forget to dust off that CV, adding in all the skills and experience you’ve gained. The careers support page has numerous guides on how to optimise your CV and prepare for interviews.
- Choosing an agency. The first hurdle to becoming a locum pharmacist can often be finding a job! In addition to the agencies featured in the pharmaceutical journal you can always check out PJ Jobs. Many jobs are advertised on behalf of agencies who will often consider your application for lots of different roles, so don’t be afraid of applying far and wide to get your CV out there!
- Preparing for your first shift. After landing a job it’s useful to prepare for your new role to make sure that everything’s in place, allowing you to really shine. There’s a lot to consider, from learning the SOP’s to the locations of the responsible pharmacist and CD registers. Many newly qualified pharmacists find it useful to make a checklist of responsibilities, I’ve found this method valuable as it helps me to organise my practice. Have a look at the locum guide for further information on how to prepare.
- Activate your smart card. Your smartcard allows you to access patient’s medical records, which is useful when making decisions about their care. You can obtain a smartcard from the PSNC, however you will have to activate it in the region where the pharmacy is located if you wish to use the service.
- Indemnity Insurance. Many pharmacies have their own insurance which covers their liabilities, however it is advisable to get your own insurance to cover you incase any mishaps occur. The RPS does not endorse any single insurer but options include the PDA, the NPA, and the PIA.
- Achieve your accreditations. Not all pharmacies will require you to be MUR or NMS accredited before you start locum work, however it certainly helps your application and practice if you are accredited to provide these services. The RPS has guides on the MUR and NMS accreditations, which provide useful information about these services, and how you can obtain accreditation.
- Additional support. Throughout your early career as locum it’s good to know that help is at hand. The RPS has a section of sector specific resources which are great to dip into when needed for a bit of extra support. Joining the locum group is also a great way to network with fellow pharmacists in a friendly and engaging environment.
Taking the time to digest these resources can be really useful in terms of the opportunities made available and the experience you will gain. The RPS has a great deal to offer us as newly qualified pharmacists, there’s loads of extra help available on the website, from the professional support team to the continuing professional development and foundation programme for newly qualified pharmacists so don’t forget to upgrade your membership, and good luck locuming!