Worried about that First Shift as a Locum?

Young-Pharmacist 2



Working as a locum pharmacist can be challenging, especially on the first day, but can also be very rewarding. Feeling anxious on your first shift as a locum pharmacist is natural but don’t let it discourage you. At the very least, you have spent 5 years training for this day – you are a registered pharmacist, you’ve got this!

The best way to prepare for your first locum shift and reduce stress is to review a few small, but important things so that everything goes smoothly and you make a good first impression.
To help you be better prepared and more confident, we will share with you some tips below.

  • Your Recruitment Agency
    Make sure you align yourself with a good recruitment agency as they can guide you all the way.
    They will give you details about the pharmacy regarding number of support staff and number of scripts you can expect to dispense or check.  They can also determine if parking is available on the premises or whether you have to look further afield.  They can also guide you as far as the remuneration you can expect according to your level of experience.
  • Community pharmacy experience
    To work as a locum pharmacist it is desirable but not essential that you have some post-graduate experience in community pharmacy. This will make your first day as a locum pharmacist much easier as you will already be aware of the dynamics within the pharmacy. Common procedures such as putting away orders from wholesalers and ordering in new stock, dispensing medication and counseling patients are slightly different in all pharmacies but once you have become familiar with the process in one pharmacy the skills you have developed are transferable to other pharmacies.  If your previous experience is limited then you can ask the recruiter to only send you to pharmacies where there is either another pharmacist or a capable dispensary technician.
  • Arrive on time
    Make sure you double-check the pharmacy location the day beforehand, if you don’t have your own car check the transportation you will need to get there.  Always plan to give yourself ample time in case anything untoward happens.  You can always relax and grab a coffee if you arrive nice and early.
  • Running late
    If for any unforeseen reason you are running late, please let the pharmacy know or if no one is answering then ring the recruiter that referred you to the locum position.  They can then advise the pharmacy that you are only running a little late and reassure them in case they are worried that you will not show.
  • Ask for advice
    If you have a question about a process or procedure in the pharmacy always ask one of the members of staff you are working with. No one expects you to know everything, especially if you’ve only been in the pharmacy a handful of minutes.