Michael Champion, Student, Social Media and Communications Lead of RPS East Anglia and Anticoagulation Practitioner at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, tells us the tips that got him through his Hospital pre-reg interviews.
Applying for hospital pre-registration training is highly competitive, and if you’re sure that it’s right for you, the interview is the last hurdle between yourself and your potential placement. Everyone that has been through this process will have slightly different ideas about how to optimise your chances, so it’s always worth getting advice from a wide variety of sources, including from colleagues that have applied to community and industrial placements. With that caveat, I hope my own experiences may prove helpful in securing your dream pre-registration placement.
You can begin preparing for interviews immediately after submitting your applications by composing coherent, personal opinions on current health, health economic and health political affairs. As an applicant for a training post that will eventually lead to a clinical, managerial level position, comprehension of system wide reasons for decisions is something that will be assessed at interview. Typical questions range from hypothetical prioritisation of objectives as chief pharmacist to explaining your understanding of national reports and reviews, such as the Francis Report into Mid Staffordshire. Remember to relate your answers to patient-centered care and other aspects of GPhC behaviours.
When you are invited to a specific trust for interview, find out more about the Trust to identify their priorities and how they map to national objectives. In addition, look for articles relating to specific areas of expertise at the Trust and beyond, as they may prove to be useful to ask your interviewer regarding potential future opportunities for development. There are multiple sites for this information, including their website, Pharmalife’s page on the institution and NHS Choices.
On the day of the interview itself, remember to take evidence of CPD (for instance university portfolios, BPSA PDS entries, or RPS Foundation evidences) with you; this will help demonstrate an understanding and commitment to active learning within your MPharm. This is very well received, whether pharmacy-specific or “soft-skills” in nature. Also bring a bottle of water with you; in the interview itself, it can act as a focus to hold and prevent fidgeting, and also gives you time to compose your thoughts in response to more complex questions. Remember as well that pausing is not a bad thing; just explain to your interviewer that you are composing your thoughts.
Interviews are a necessary part of the selection process, and by preparing adequately, whilst also retaining your unique perspective, you can secure a training placement you’ll enjoy throughout the year.
Student, Social Media and Communications Lead, RPS East Anglia
Anticoagulation Practitioner, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
MPharm Student, University of East Anglia