What is a Locum Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are qualified medical professionals who are experts in medicines, including their uses, applications, effects on the human body and how they work and interact with other drugs. Pharmacists are experts in the formulation, compounding, storage and dispensing of medications. They are crucial in supporting the management of medical conditions and an integral part of patient care.
A Locum Pharmacist is a Pharmacist who is self-employed. They work for pharmacies (clients) who pay them directly for the services they provide.
Why become a Locum Pharmacist?
People choose to become Locum Pharmacists with New Directions Pharmacy for a variety of reasons:
- To gain a wide range of experience
- To try different work settings and new ways of working
- To build up industry knowledge
- To have flexibility and a good work/life balance
- For variation and to keep work new and exciting
- To experience best practice and pick up new skills
- To network and build up industry contacts
- To gain confidence
- To work as many or as few days as you want
Where do Locum Pharmacists work?
As a Locum Pharmacist, you have the flexibility to choose where you do or do not want to work. You may work in a range of locations and settings, including:
- Large, high-street retail pharmacy chains
- Supermarket pharmacies
- Small, independent community pharmacies
- Hospitals (NHS or private)
- GP surgeries
- Primary care organisations, prisons and the military
- Veterinary pharmacies
- Clinics and health centres
- Pharmaceutical production companies
When do Locum Pharmacists work?
Working patterns can vary depending on the location in which you work, and some pharmacies are open for extended hours and out-of-hours services. Therefore, shift work, long hours, weekend work and rotas may be involved.
Role and responsibilities of a Locum Pharmacist
The day-to-day tasks and work activities of a Locum Pharmacist are varied.
What does a Locum Pharmacist do?
A Pharmacist, or Locum Pharmacist, is responsible for:
- Accurately filing drugs and pharmaceutical supplies
- Providing patients with information about pharmaceutical products and side effects in private consultation areas
- Giving advice and educating the public, to ensure patients use medications safely
- Advising people on the most effective over-the-counter treatments for minor ailments
- Reviewing prescriptions, evaluating suitability for the patient and packaging, labelling and dispensing medicines accordingly
- Planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of drugs
- Understanding drug compatibility and interactions
- Communicating with healthcare professionals to advise on safe drug dosages, suitability, usage and appropriate treatments for patients
- Being involved in manufacturing and compounding medicines under sterile conditions, including calculating, weighing, measuring and mixing ingredients
- Maintaining quality of supplied medicines and supervising the supply chain
- Upholding the law around pharmaceutical products, prescriptions and the supply of medicines
- Health promotion and providing services such as blood pressure measurement, cholesterol management, diabetes screening and smoking cessation for patients
- Signposting patients to useful services and treatment options
- Protecting patients and staff through infection control measures
- Keep a register of controlled drugs for legal and stock control purposes
- Ordering and purchasing supplies to maintain stock
- Arranging for medication deliveries in the community
- Disposal of unwanted medicines
Person specification and requirements for a Locum Pharmacist
What do I need to do to become a Locum Pharmacist?
It takes at least 5 years to qualify as a Pharmacist in England and Wales and up to 6 years in Scotland, through a combination of degree-level training and work placements:
Qualifications and training
Pharmacists (including Locum Pharmacists) require an MPharm qualification. In England and Wales, this is an accredited 4-year master’s degree programme in pharmacy, that is approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). In Scotland, it is a 5-year master’s degree programme in pharmacy that is approved by the GPhC.
Throughout your career as a Pharmacist, you must keep up to date with new drugs and treatments in this fast-changing environment through continuous professional development and life-long learning.
Following the MPharm degree, Pharmacists must complete a one-year pre-registration training placement in a pharmacy and successfully pass a registration exam set by the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Any relevant experience in a retail or customer-service focussed environment is also beneficial when applying for jobs as a Pharmacist.
To work as a Pharmacist or Locum in the UK, you must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) after completing your MPharm degree, pre-registration training placement and registration exam.
Names can be checked on the GPhC register to ensure that a Pharmacist is practicing legally.
In addition to being registered with the GPhC, you may be required to undergo a DBS check prior to employment.
- Accurate and methodical
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Clinical skills and competence
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- Responsible and reliable
- Leadership and supervision
- Communication and listening
- Analytics and problem-solving
- Organised, with good time management
- Computer literacy
- Understanding of legislation
- Ability to apply the law
- Knowledge of professional codes of practice
- Knowledge of policies and procedures, including confidentiality
- Scientific knowledge
- Interested in people and their health
- A people-person
- Interested in science
- Patience and a calm demeanour
- Sensitive and understanding
Top tips if you’re thinking of becoming a Locum Pharmacist
- 1. Do lots of researchExplore pay rates, flexibility of hours and demand in your area, and find an agency that works in your best interests
- 2. Be organisedGet a planner or diary to help you keep track of your Locum bookings and plan your time efficiently
- 3. Be preparedBefore starting a Locum shift, contact the pharmacy to find out opening and closing times, lunch hours, parking arrangements, and staff numbers, so you know what to expect
- 4. Be professionalBe punctual, hard-working and reliable. Leave the dispensary tidy and clean – if a client enjoys working with you, it is likely they will request you again for future bookings
- 5. Enjoy itTake advantage of all the benefits of working as a Locum Pharmacist. Enjoy the flexibility and all the experiences you can have
For more information about working as a Locum Pharmacist with ND Pharmacy, get in touch with our helpful team today.