Tips for New Locums

The term locum is short for locum tenens a phrase which means, literally, holding the place. Working as a locum means having all the responsibility of a manager or owner without necessarily being familiar with the pharmacy: it is no soft option. The professional obligations of a locum are essentially the same as those of any other pharmacist, but the specific tasks required can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, and will depend to some extent on the experience and training of the staff as well as the normal working practices of the manager or owner (see Tips for new locums panel, above). As a guide, however, locums in community pharmacy may be expected to endorse, count, record and file prescriptions; order dispensary and counter stock; complete an end-of-the day back-up on the computer; cash up and bank the takings; pay staff wages; lock up the pharmacy and set the burglar alarm; and deliver prescriptions to patients and residential homes. In most cases, hospital locums are expected to work in the dispensary, although this will depend on the experience of the locum and will vary between hospitals. However, locums may sometimes be expected to visit wards to review drug charts and check patients.


Keeping Up-To-Date

Keeping up to date with your CPD points is essential and continuing your professional development is as important for locums as it is for all pharmacists.   If you aren’t sure how to keep track of your CPD points visit the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia or the Guild Pharmacy Academy. Both these websites contain online training modules.

Pharmacy journals can also be a good source of CPD points. For pharmacists who have not worked for a while, returning to practice can be quite daunting, please note that the Pharmaceutical Society provides refresher courses usually twice a year in February and June. Call the Pharmaceutical Society for more information if the refresher course is not visible on the website.

We encourage you to have the most up to date qualifications that you can.