What do you currently study: Pharmacy
A Levels - Maths Chemistry Biology
Journey in 3 words: Exciting, enlightening and overwhelming
What drives you to stay motivated: Getting to the finish line- being a pharmacist
Brief description of your role / course:
A pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that the medicines prescribed to patients are safe and suitable for them. Depending on where you work your role will vary slightly. For example, if you work in a community you’ll give a lot of over the counter medication advice than if you work in a hospital.
The course involves a lot of biology with some chemistry and maths. Throughout the four years you will learn about A LOT of medications- there indications, interactions, side effects, safety monitoring etc.
At the end of the four years, you’ll graduate with a Master of Pharmacy degree /Bsc and will have to do a pre-registration year which is like a placement year where you train under the supervision of a tutor for 52weeks and then take the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) exam in order to get your pharmacist licence. You can do your pre-registration year at a community pharmacy, hospital, GP or industry. You also have a choice of doing a split pre-registration year which means you can do your pre-registration year at two places (e.g. community and hospital).
What motivated you to pursue a career in science: I’ve always had a passion to help people and I always knew I wanted to study a healthcare profession. I chose pharmacy because of the amount of impact I’ll have on people’s life. I’ve been around a lot people who have limited knowledge about medications, they’ll take medicines for the wrong reason or take a wrong dose, causing them to suffer side effects or worsen an existing condition they have. Knowing that I can help prevent these from happening motivated me to do pharmacy.
What advice will you give to someone wanting to follow a similar career path to yours:
- Before you apply for pharmacy, do a lot of research about it and be certain it is what you want to do. Do not just settle for pharmacy because you could not get into medicine.
- Once you are in:
o Believe in yourself!
o Work hard but at the same time enjoy yourself.
o Build up your network (e.g. through RPS conferences)
o Get a part time pharmacy job or volunteer (this will really help)
o Get involve in extra-curricular activities that are not pharmacy based.
Describe how you manage your work life balance
By being organised! I always try to plan my week ahead by scheduling time to study and to do whatever I want. I also try to finish all my course work at least a week before it's due and i try my best to not let my lectures pile up.
Tips on applying for internships:
Big chain pharmacies like boots, Lloyds, wells etc. do summer internships every year for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year pharmacy students.
Apply to as many as you can. Even if you don’t get in to their summer placements, you can always volunteer at local pharmacies.
Also, instead of getting a summer internship, you can get a part-time job at boots, Lloyds or any local pharmacy. Having a part-time pharmacy job is a great way to increase your knowledge.
Some hospitals and research industries also offer summer placements for 2nd and 3rd year pharmacy students.
Placements and part-time jobs are really important as they can be a gate way for you to get a pre-registrations placement.