Olamiji Odebiyi, pharmacy student.
Competition for placements among pharmacy students is tough. I knew at the back of my mind that I needed to stand out from the crowd, therefore making use of my summer break and applying for a placement was a must.I knew from the start that I needed to consolidate my learning, improve my knowledge, skills, self-confidence, behaviours and have some degree of certainty as to which career path I would eventually pursue.
Boots is such a household name, truly Pharmacy led and world class in its standards and services. It has been a growing passion of mine to work for this giant that shares so much of the values I uphold, but I had experienced many failed attempts to get through the first round of applications for a job as a healthcare assistant before embarking on my pharmacy course in 2013.
In my first year, you can imagine my excitement when I got an email inviting me to attend a 2-week Boots summer placement programme. The possibility that I could maybe get into boots and have my dream become a reality was more than I could have asked for.
The application process was online. Once the first part was complete, an online assessment made up the second part. This was an hour long and I was ready for it.
Unfortunately my attempt in the first year (2 week placement) was unsuccessful. I applied again in my second year (4 week placement). Thanks to tips and advice from those that got a place last year, I successfully secured a summer placement position.
I had a boots teacher practitioner to support me during the study day. I benefited greatly from this session as it helped me to think on what type of pharmacist I wanted to be and how I wanted to develop.
In the store based on St James Street, I had workbook activities that helped me reflect on my abilities and allowed me to identify which areas I needed to improve on. I experienced different aspects of pharmacy from dispensing, performing MURs, dealing with queries over the phone to GPs and OTC healthcare conversations with customers. This experience pushed me out of my comfort zone.
I was honoured to have a manager that treated me not just as an apprentice but as a pharmacist practicing her craft. It boosted my self-confidence massively as well as motivating me to improve my knowledge.
The best part was sharing my learning needs with my tutor who was my manger on a daily basis. I was able to increase my knowledge from a more practical point of view.
I had a fantastic, invaluable, memorable placement. I encourage every student right from first year to apply for a summer placement or a part time job in a pharmacy.
Take advantage of the opportunities your university throws your way. You don’t have to gain your experience in Boots, even small independent pharmacies are just as good. Think of the many benefits completing a placement can bring. It can help you to pass your exams and easily remember theory. It also fuels your motivation , your confidence level goes up a notch as you further your course and see pharmacy from a more practical point of view.
Check out the PRS careers support page for more information on pharmacy employment.