What's life like as a pharmacist?

(30 Posts)
joecormac Sun 05-Dec-21 19:52:09

Eldest is doing science A levels.

She's got a Saturday job at a pharmacy and absolutely loves it. But I'm trying to get her to figure out if she loves the staff (who are lovely to her) and that first feeling of adulthood and wages OR the actual job.

So if you are a pharmacist
A) are you happy you chose it as a career?
B) what degree do you do? Is it Pharmacy or Pharmacology?

Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Randomactofkindness Sun 05-Dec-21 20:38:56

I’m a pharmacist - worked mainly in community but recently in primary care (GP surgeries). I would not recommend pharmacy to my children (my teen daughter is thinking medicine) if they wanted to go into community but would for primary care. Happy to answer and questions smile She will need to do a pharmacy masters degree for 4 years then a 1 year pre registration year.

Unmerited Sun 05-Dec-21 20:43:16

I’m curious about this. I wonder if they’re under massive pressure now as a catch all for what GPs are unable to do. I saw an article in the Guardian this week recommending them for mole checks for skin cancer and thought that might be a step too far when they’re already up to their ears. But maybe I’m wrong?

britnay Sun 05-Dec-21 20:48:14

Community pharmacy is very understaffed at the moment. There seems to be an increased emphasis on audits and general box-ticking paperwork rather than pharmacological knowledge. There is also an increased pressure to provide additional services (flu jabs, weight loss, blood pressure monitoring, smoking cessation) on top of prescription checking and advice giving, but no increased pay or additional staff to help in your absence.

ATrifleofFun Sun 05-Dec-21 20:53:44

I am a pharmacist in a hospital, I find it rewarding but have had some tough patches. They make us do a lot more post-grad learning than in community so it can be a lot to juggle. There are more opportunities to specialise like a doctor which is really interesting and some of us take clinics. You have to do a pharmacy degree to become a registered pharmacist.

shenanigans5 Sun 05-Dec-21 20:58:05

I practiced as a community pharmacist for around 8 years but left the profession- as have a number of my former colleagues since.
It’s not very flexible (childcare, general life planning) and I didn’t like “selling” nhs services patients didn’t need to meet the requirements of my performance contract.
I now do a middle management office job and I’m much happier.

JMAngel1 Sun 05-Dec-21 21:01:17

I'm a hospital pharmacist - I love my clinical role but the ever changing management decisions can grind me down. The pay is also not great for the level of responsibility.
I'm not sure I would recommend it if they want a nice lifestyle - my car is 10 years old and I'm classed as Senior level!

Advertisement

toomuchfaster Sun 05-Dec-21 21:05:29

I'm a pharmacist, NHS now community. Don't do it. It's awful. Woefully under staffed and under paid. I'm trying to get out, as are most of my colleagues but am too old to start again. DD will NOT be following in my footsteps.

SaintDrogo Sun 05-Dec-21 21:31:45

I would encourage it, but only hospital pharmacy, not community! Never worked in Primary Care, so can’t offer an opinion on that. When I was in community we used to put some of the more able school kids through their dispensing qualification, so I would suggest she asks about that. Even if she decided not to go for pharmacy at uni, it would open new opportunities for a part time job. I’ve seen locum dispensers offered £15-£20 an hour.

joecormac Sun 05-Dec-21 21:32:40

Thanks for the info and the openness about conditions.

When I googled it I thought I had misread the salary (I just thought it should be in the £60-70k bracket - based on no actual knowledge, just because it's an important job).

Will give her the info and leave it up to her.

Thanks again

OP’s posts: |
Mylifefeelslikeanightmare Sun 05-Dec-21 23:17:01

I have some advice for her: Do Not Do Community Pharmacy.
Under staffed
Increasing workload
Expected to do more and more service-yes
they're paid but unless you own your own shop it just goes to the company.
I've seen many enthusiastic young pharmacists come in, after 5 years most are seriously disillusioned.

Want to get out myself and try to make te realities of the job plain to any work experience or young people thinking about going into pharmacy.

Thankfully neither of my 2 showed any interest into going into anything medical

LiJo2015 Sun 05-Dec-21 23:28:44

@joecormac

I would not recommend medicine either. I left my medical career in 2016 and I am now retraining to become a psychotherapist.

Mylifefeelslikeanightmare Sun 05-Dec-21 23:38:27

Dd2 just heard me talking to dh about commenting on this thread-her comment"oh God"grin. She knows how I feel about the job

BackAway Sun 05-Dec-21 23:46:59

Sadly, I would say: please don’t it.

We are dreadfully misunderstood by not only the public but other healthcare professionals, we routinely have to work under EXTREME pressure, we take a fair amount of abuse, we take massive amounts of responsibility, we can kill/harm someone with one mistake, I’ve never met a pharmacist who liked their job, you are constantly contending with many factors outside of your control and then take the flack for it, the pay is stagnant, the profession and the government can’t decide what our role is…I could go on. Actually I will.

Just today, I was sworn at for an item not being in stock (completely outside of my control, due to a manufacturing issue), had someone ask me for advice then tell me she doesn’t trust me, had to placate someone furious with me because I can’t give out antibiotics without a prescription, etc etc etc.

You are on your feet all day which is hard as you get older or have health issues. If you have a break for lunch, the pharmacy has to close (legal requirement) therefore we don’t tend to have ANY breaks as the grief from customers (and sometimes managers) just isn’t worth it. We don’t get to go to the toilet when we need (this has made me ill before now) or have any flexibility in our working day. We are bound by a code of ethics even as students which makes our private life subject to scrutiny in case we damage the reputation of the profession.

The rewarding bits happen from time to time but it’s mostly just one hard slog.

Mylifefeelslikeanightmare Sun 05-Dec-21 23:56:45

I agree Backaway, it's sometimes rewarding when you solve a problem-realising the sore mouth a patient has had for months is due to a rare side effect from a med-but most of the time it's a slog. Unfortunately the unpleasant customers are more memorable than the nice.

Mylifefeelslikeanightmare Sun 05-Dec-21 23:59:35

Other pharmacists do you consider the GPhC unsupportive to pharmacists?

BackAway Mon 06-Dec-21 00:05:52

@Mylifefeelslikeanightmare Well to be fair it’s there to protect the public, not us, so no I don’t feel supported particularly. What are your thoughts?

EnrouteNOTonroute Mon 06-Dec-21 00:11:51

What about doing pharmacology / toxicology at degree then working for a pharmaceutical company? Or biomedical science?
I know a couple of people who did these degrees and they’ve done very very well in their careers

joecormac Mon 06-Dec-21 09:24:36

Sat at work and am so glad I asked this question.

I'm a uni lecturer and work every single day: marking, designing, pastoral support, covering tutorials for staff who have left. My employer is a private uni so I also teach distance students on line and part time students face to face on weekends.

My biggest fear has been that my kids would end up working all the hours and feeling trapped too.

Arghhhh - I feel like there are no careers that I can point at and say 'that has more pros than cons - try that'. Medicine, Pharmacy, Teaching, Law (I was a solicitor for 6 years). I don't want a fairytale- just something fair.

OP’s posts: |
BackAway Mon 06-Dec-21 10:09:55

I agree with biomed/pharmacology suggestions

shenanigans5 Mon 06-Dec-21 12:44:36

joecormac

Sat at work and am so glad I asked this question.

I'm a uni lecturer and work every single day: marking, designing, pastoral support, covering tutorials for staff who have left. My employer is a private uni so I also teach distance students on line and part time students face to face on weekends.

My biggest fear has been that my kids would end up working all the hours and feeling trapped too.

Arghhhh - I feel like there are no careers that I can point at and say 'that has more pros than cons - try that'. Medicine, Pharmacy, Teaching, Law (I was a solicitor for 6 years). I don't want a fairytale- just something fair.

Maybe encourage them to study something they’re into then rather than steering them towards a vocation that they may not really be feeling.

Most grown up jobs don’t exist in the minds of kids/teenagers so they aren’t making an informed choice when they take a punt on a specific profession.

Throughout my 4 year pharmacy masters I really believe I was on the right course for me and how being out of pharmacy for 7 years I know I wasn’t. I’m much better suited to my current role which I wouldn’t have known existed at school.

shenanigans5 Mon 06-Dec-21 12:45:24

(*I didn’t really believe I was on the right course*)

JMAngel1 Mon 06-Dec-21 14:12:11

@shenanigans5
Do you mind saying what your current role is? Presumably something with transferable skills from Pharmacy?

shenanigans5 Mon 06-Dec-21 14:50:27

JMAngel1

*@shenanigans5*
Do you mind saying what your current role is? Presumably something with transferable skills from Pharmacy?

I’ve PMed you smile

Tibtab Mon 06-Dec-21 15:02:22

I would say the pay is closer to £30-50k and to get to the higher end requires management responsibilities. I used to be a hospital pharmacist but everyone is leaving to work in primary care and prison pharmacy as the hours and pay are better. I wouldn’t work in community pharmacy again, I’m sure the regional managers only exist to try and break you.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in