Getting a job in this financial climate is tough especially for a young person. Pharmacist Work & Lifestyle spoke to the Jenna Treleven a Pre-Reg pharmacist and Jill Moore a locum pharmacist about the pharmacy sector, the future and their hopes.
Jenna works for Green’s Chemist in Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton. A student of Portsmouth University she got her Pre-Reg qualification in August 2013 after which she has been working for 11 months or 52 weeks as part of the mandatory hours needed for qualifying. Talking to her about the history and her path towards pharmacy, Jenna reveals that when she was young she thought to be a nurse or midwife. During her GCSEs her school arranged for her to do four weeks of work experience in a pharmacy as part of Project Trident work experience scheme in Jersey, the Channel Islands, where she is from. Afterwards she trained as a pharmacy assistant as a Saturday Girl. Clearly her choice to pursue this career path wasn’t a whim, considering none of her family members are in the healthcare profession.
Having worked in pharmacy for a long time she entered the industry with no misconceptions. While at university she worked during her summer holidays. Her goal or aim is to get into hospital pharmacy and be an independent prescriber. Moreover she would like to be a specialist in pain management or palliative care, treating patients with terminal illness and cancer patients.
Jenna’s advice to anyone thinking of pharmacy as a career is to get as much experience as possible. She says students in university spend too much time in lectures; they don’t appreciate the time needed for practical experience.
In her spare time she likes reading books which are not pharmacy related as it’s nice to switch off. She is also a musician of the oboe, a woodwind instrument. One of her favourite times of day is her evening break where she gets to have afternoon tea with cake. Having long hours also puts a strain on her social life from Monday to Friday. Being someone not from the mainland, Jenna tries to go to Jersey once every four to five months. But as she’s mentioned in the conversation, eventually she would like to work there.
When asked what’s her favourite part about being a pharmacist, she explains it’s all about intercommunication, speaking to customers, reassuring them and offering advice. She also reiterated her earlier sentiment about experience being essential. Without it she wouldn’t be as far as she is career wise.
In today’s world you have many career choices and the luxury of switching fields mid-career. That’s exactly what Jill Moore did. She was a teacher before becoming a pharmacist. A student of Brighton University from 2004 to 2008, she taught primary school English Literature for two years full-time. She was also a supply teacher while doing her pharmacy training. In the Pharmacy sector she’s been working since November 2010. Currently self-employed, she does locum work and acts as a supply pharmacist.
She did her Pre-Reg in Cokeham, Ireland and while at university, worked in a local pharmacy. She started her locum at Mahindra chemists in Southampton. According to Jill, in university there is a focus on the technical aspects of the role but not the organisational side. She learned a lot during her Pre-Reg, from a shopkeeper’s point of view including ordering stock and time keeping. That’s where her expectations versus reality differed. Some of her daily challenges are keeping track of the medicines that were discontinued or out of sock and relaying that to customers. She also has to contend with the medicine suppliers as she might be out of stock and the supplier would not have a delivery timeframe.
Jill’s advice for anyone choosing pharmacy as a career is to be aware that a lot of pharmacists are coming into the workforce so there is competition. Due to the high supply of talent, pharmacy owners may not be able to offer the best wage.
In her spare time Jill is into music and also plays the violin. Two years back she went to a jazz school. This August she is going to jazz camp in the Netherlands.
Apart from music she likes reading and enjoys travelling and even went to India early this year. In the near future a Mexico trip is in the cards. As for her work-life balance, she says it’s a challenge to make time for everything she wants to do. She works hard during the holidays or when other people would like to work. She tries to make a trip back to Ireland at least twice a year. There’s more of an incentive this year as her sister is getting married. Her favourite part of being a pharmacist is helping people, and the trust they have in you. She recalls an incident not too long ago. After helping an elderly man suffering from appendicitis, she shifted to another pharmacy. The gentleman somehow managed to track her down and gave her a bunch of flowers as a thank you gesture.
By: Aaditya Kaza
Pharmacist Work & Lifestyle
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