How To Choose A Career In The Pharmacy Profession
It is a big thing of joy if you have gone through a Pharmacy school and is inducted into the profession. Literally, you will feel you are already at the top. Then, this question will hit you, “How will i start a career in Pharmacy”.
Only then you will understand that making a choice in the branch of Pharmacy to work may even be more demanding than graduating from the school of Pharmacy. Therefore, this is not something you will wake up one day and decide – so many things are to be considered.
Nevertheless, the Pharmacy profession is an evolving one, so many branches of pharmacy spring up every day. Hence, there are so many opportunities at the feet of a young pharmacist to choose from.
However, do not be deceived by the phrase “so many opportunities”. If you fail to understand what you really want in the profession, you will end up in a state of confusion and disappointment.
Consequently, the first step in choosing a career in pharmacy is to first understand what you like most about pharmacy. Secondly, you have to look into the personal skills you have and the ones you are ready to learn.
Below is a list of 11 different types of careers that you can choose from. Trust me, all of them are lucrative – it just depends on your dedication to work.
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- Industrial Pharmacy career
- Wholesale Pharmacy
- Retail or Community
- Pharmacy Sales or Medical representatives
- Pharmacy Journalism
- Research Pharmacy Career
- Hospital Pharmacy
- Academic Pharmacy
- Veterinary Pharmacy
- Pharmacy Administration
- Locum or contract Pharmacist
lets take it one after the other..
Industrial Pharmacist career
There is no way you can talk about pharmacy without linking it to drugs. The designing and production of these drugs is a core duty of the production or industrial pharmacist. Hence, they oversee the production of drug products in line with a good Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Their job description also includes the analysis of produced drug to make sure they meet up with the Market standard as well as a good Quality Assurance (QA) test.
Therefore, this type of job requires ingenuity and flexibility. This is because a production Pharmacists have to create products that can stay ahead of the competition in the market. Hence, he must have the spirit of entrepreneurship in his vein.
Finally, if you must work as a production pharmacist, you dare not be careless since they have to always maintain a standard.
Wholesale Pharmacist career
Are you a young pharmacist that derive joy in buying and selling i.e business?. Do you have the skill to persuade or convince? – if yes, you may want to try this branch of pharmacy.
This branch of pharmacy focuses on getting products from the producers and distributing to the community and hospital pharmacies.
The job description of a wholesale pharmacists includes, procurement, management of inventory, proper storage and distribution of pharmaceutical goods. It is his duty to make sure that the integrity of drug products in the market is maintained.
Wholesale pharmacy is a commercial form of pharmacy and therefore is capital intensive project. So, check your pocket before thinking of venturing into this career in pharmacy.
Retail or Community Pharmacist
This is another commercial type of pharmacy but from a totally different limelight. Their activities is solely built upon pharmaceutical care model.
Community Pharmacist job description includes, prescription filling, provision of drug information, patient counselling, resolution of Drug Therapy Problems and serving as a primary care-giver in a community setting.
They are also involved in making the essential drugs available for the public at all times and at affordable prices. This type of pharmacy is the commonest and has different names in different countries such as; A drug store, a Pharmacy retail outlet, a Pharmacy store or a community pharmacy.
This branch of profession requires a lot of skills because you represent the definition of a Pharmacist. Meaning, people think of a community pharmacist whenever a pharmacy profession is mentioned.
Therefore, you must posses interpersonal skills such as good communication skills, evaluation skills, empathy, managerial skills and so many more. Because, in a community pharmacy, you are balancing business management with a professional ethics. Hence, you must have a good moral and ethical judgement to do well in this field.
Pharmacy sales or medical representatives
Different Pharmaceutical companies are coming up everyday with different drug products. The market competition amongst these companies is getting more serious. Therefore, companies utilize the medical representatives to educate the public about their product.
No other person can talk better about a drug than a pharmacist. The job is a lucrative one especially when you find yourself with a multi-national companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithkline, Sanofi, Merck and co e.t.c. In any case, multi national or not, the good thing about being a representative is exposure. You will meet and talk to so many people in the health sector as a rep.
The skill for a medical or sales representative lies in his ability to convince new drug users and his ability to improve sales. Therefore, to stay long in this branch of pharmacy, you must be on your toe to always meet and talk to potential customers.
Pharmacy Journalism Career
If you a young pharmacist who loves creative writing and all other types of media publications – pharmacy journalism will be good for you.
A pharmacy journalist puts into writing the knowledge of pharmacy. In other words, he tries to project the pharmacy profession to the general public. Therefore, his sole responsibility is to cover pharmaceutical events and conferences, to carry out advertisement for pharmaceutical industries, to document and publish pharmacy research and journals.
In addition, a pharmacy journalist works as an editor for so many pharmaceutical bodies. Also, the dissemination of pharmacy information e.g., through blogging. Examples of these sites includes; Pharmaceutical journals, Pharmatimes etc.
However, this career in pharmacy does not require too much for a start – All you need is a table, a paper, a pen, your brain and a good social and communication skills.
The sweet thing about this type of profession is that its flexible. It can take you to places and you can meet different people in the profession. Start writing today if you want to be in this type of career.
Research Pharmacy career
A research pharmacist virtually can work in other areas of pharmacy. His job is to investigate on the workability of an existing stuff or to find out new ones.
In the hospital setting, they are involved in pharmacovigillance and report of drug therapy problems. Also, they investigate the rational use of drugs e.g., in Antimicrobial Stewardship.
They also work in in production companies to either discover new active ingredients, to modify an existing one or an excipient that will keep the company ahead of the market.
The research pharmacist is also very active in the academic pharmacy where they champion and organize project research for Pharmacy undergraduates and also as a further studies.
Finally, to do well in this field of pharmacy you must be a meticulous person and is good with bench and laboratory works.
Hospital pharmacy career
A hospital pharmacist works in the hospital setting alongside the other health practitioners. The activities of the pharmacist in the hospital setting can not be isolated from other health care professionals.
The job description of a hospital pharmacist includes extemporaneous compounding especially for the pediatric folks, resolving drug therapy problems, patient’s counselling on medication use and part of decision making process for the best patient’s medication during ward round.
Also, the hospital pharmacist is responsible for drug procurement and supply chain management, inventory management and also part of the team making the list of hospital drug formulary and essential drugs.
Hospital Pharmacy is fun if you like working as a team and if you have a good inter-professional relationship. But, if you are bossy and a “know-it-all” type of person – you will find this type of career frustrating. Hospital pharmacy is all about meekness, cooperation and team work.
Academic pharmacy career
As the profession grows, new young pharmacists join the professional train. Therefore, someone has to dedicate his time to teach these young ones the ethics of the profession.
The academic Pharmacist is responsible for lecturing, supervising student researches, carrying out laboratory works and finally helping pharmacy clinicians make some regimen design for patients.
This branch of pharmacy career exposes one to other different areas and Pharmacy and has a way of helping you build a name and authority in the profession.
Veterinary Pharmacy career
The pharmacy profession is not only for humans. The veterinary pharmacy is a field that gives special attention to the animal kingdom.
A veterinary pharmacist’s job description includes; prescription filling, drug compounding, and management of drug therapies for the animal folks.
The field is a lucrative one since few pharmacists choose that part of the practice. Also, animal owners especially those who use them as pests are willing to pay heavily just to keep their animals healthy.
This part of career is a special one and requires special skill and additional knowledge. Therefore, if you want to go through this part of your career, you will be willing to take extra courses and gain extra skills.
All professions have a regulating body that oversees the certification, licensing, and other professional conduct of its members.
In the pharmacy profession, the pharmacy administration regulates the practice of pharmacy in different countries. Their activities include conducting board exams, registration of pharmacy premises, regulation of drug use, licensing, and training.
The requirement includes knowledge in leadership skills, human and resource management, and project management skills.
Locum or contract Pharmacist
Locum simply means to stand-in for another professional for a stipulated period of time. A locum pharmacist works at the contractual level in any type of Pharmacy to cover the absence of another Pharmacist. Therefore, as a locum pharmacist, you can have different jobs at the same time.
The advantage of this type of career is that it can expose you to different places and different types of practices. However, there is no job security with this type of practice since you have to be jumping from one establishment to another once your contract terminates.
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But being a locum pharmacist gives an ample of time to do other things and to travel to different places. Work is fun for a locum pharmacist if he is such that likes travel and trying out new things.
In summary, it’s not easy to choose a career to pursue in pharmacy. But, It is easier when you define your skills, your time, and your hobby. This will make it easier for you to choose a career in pharmacy that suits your needs.
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