Whilst at University, I, like many, viewed my career options upon graduation as falling broadly into one of two camps: Hospital or Community. I was vaguely aware of other career paths for pharmacists in different sectors but with industrial pre-registration placements so scarce and with no idea about the other roles for pharmacists I decided to apply for hospital pharmacy. I had no idea that a year later I’d be a qualified pharmacist working primarily in the field of marketing, an area I hadn’t even considered at the time.
Since finishing my Pharmacy degree, I’ve completed my pre-registration year at St George’s University Hospitals, which included rotations in technical services, radio-pharmacy, and aseptics in addition to time spent on cardiac, surgical, and paediatric wards. I’ve also experienced Pharmacy in community, hospice, and prison sectors. I now work for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society as part of the marketing and membership department in an engagement role, which involves promoting the work of the society through a number of mediums. My insight into the world of Pharmacy is valuable here, and makes me a real asset to the team. I do this alongside locum work in the community.
I would not have been able to get either of these roles without first being a qualified pharmacist. Having a pharmacy degree demonstrates that you are able to think analytically, have a good attention for detail, and an understanding of business both large and small; this makes you highly employable in a number of different sectors and roles which you might not have initially considered. After graduating I’ve found the profession of pharmacy far more diverse than I initially imagined.
Pharmacy as a profession is evolving rapidly and students embarking on a Pharmacy degree now can expect new opportunities and radical developments to be unveiled during the course of their studies as the workforce evolves to deal with the integration of new technologies. Pharmacists are increasingly working in more clinical and patient facing roles, alongside GP’s in their practices, in care homes and in A&E.
Outside of the more traditional roles for pharmacists, a master’s degree in a STEM subject opens doors for you outside of the clinical route which you might not at first have considered; since graduating I’ve met pharmacists working in regulation, publishing, journalism, insurance, law, and the financial sector. Whilst these may seem like less obvious career paths for a pharmacy graduate, after finishing your degree and pre-registration year you may be interested in exploring these other options.
My advice to pharmacy students would be to research the options available widely, and don’t worry if you don’t manage to secure a registration place in the sector of your choice immediately, there is plenty of time once you are qualified to apply for new roles.