Opinion: Pharmacy still a fantastic career option
Three generations in my family have been pharmacists, so it’s fair to say that the profession is in my blood. Now my son is considering it as a career, says Nick Kaye, NPA board member
My father and both my grandfathers were pharmacists. Even as a child talking to school friends in the playground, I knew that they had a respected role and were there to help others.
Now my eldest child, aged 17, is asking me about community pharmacy as a career, even though I have never pushed him into considering it. The conversations I have had with him tie in with the many issues I have been thinking about in my role as vice-chair of the Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group (CPWDG).
Anyone working in community pharmacy will know the challenges the sector has in recruiting and retaining colleagues. And as you will have read in PM, the CPWDG has launched a new report that quantifies this.
It includes a survey of contractors in England, which found a 9 per cent full-time equivalent (FTE) pharmacist vacancy rate across the country. Vacancy rates were significantly higher in some regions – for example, the South West, where I work and where there is a lack of pharmacy schools.
Common reasons given for leaving the profession include concerns about pay, workload and pressure, and a lack of opportunities for career development and progression. The CPWDG believes a good start in tackling workforce pressures is to emphasise the growing opportunities that exist.
Professional organisations, higher education institutes, policymakers and other bodies should join employers in spreading the message that community pharmacy offers a fulfilling career in which a variety of skills can be developed.
There must be training for current and future pharmacists and pharmacy colleagues including CPD, parity in opportunities between the current and future workforce, and the right infrastructure to allow pharmacists to use their clinical skills.
Should my son decide to follow my path, I think it could be a really interesting era in community pharmacy for him. Upon qualification he would be an independent prescriber, which opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Despite all the current financial pressures I feel as an owner, I certainly don’t regret my decision to work in community pharmacy and my message to any young people thinking of choosing it as a career is – go for it!
Record my learning outcomes
Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of wellbeing
More like this
Let’s all wish for a new and happier chapter in 2021
By NPA chairman, Andrew Lane.
This has been a year most of us would like to forget but there are some rays of hope for community pharmacy as the news came through that the first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been administered to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry. So in the spirit of optimism that seems appropriate on this ‘V Day’, I have identified some rays of hope for community pharmacy too.
1 Min Article
Exodus to general practice threatens continuity of care
By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine
It is a well established principle that continuity of care – seeing the same health professional over time – improves patient outcomes. It is something pharmacists, embedded in their local communities, instinctively recognise in their day-to-day practice.
Commissioners understand this as well. In Wales, for example, the chief pharmacist Andrew Evans has said on several occasions that the NHS should value continuity and reward those pharmacies that deliver it.
1 Min Article
Insight: Our future is being decided behind closed doors
By Alexander Humphries
For community pharmacists the last few years have been an emotional roller-coaster, from the pits of despair to the giddy heights of... mere despondency.
If you are anything like me, you will have been living hand-to-mouth, struggling to pay the bills at the end of the month, while the decision-makers from their insulated metropolitan bubbles look to strangle the sector financially because they perceive there are too many pharmacies.
2 Min Article
Covid-19 and mental health
Viatris has created this short video based on a publication reviewing global research into the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health. It identifies six areas where psychiatrists can play a role in supporting people's mental health through these difficult times.
4 Min Module
Treating acid reflux and heartburn in the pharmacy
Understand how omeprazole 20mg works to treat heartburn and acid reflux symptoms
2 Min Module
Managing heartburn and indigestion in the pharmacy
Learn how to identify and help customers manage heartburn and indigestion, from recommending the right products to ease symptoms, to self-care advice and identifying red flags for referral
10 Min Module