Explore: Healthcare

Pharmacist (Trainee)
Addenbrookes Hospital

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00:00:01 My name’s Andrew, I’m a Trainee Pharmacist, but as of a couple of days I will qualify. A key responsibility for me as a Pharmacist would be to talk to the patients, to educate them on the medicines they’re taking. Pharmacy’s very much a patient safety career path. I think it’s very much your responsibility to know and understand the drugs, and make sure it’s going to be right for that condition in that person.

00:00:28 When I was six years old I wanted to work in a bank. I know, I was crazy! I was just – in those days I was just money obsessed, all I wanted to do was count money every day. I just thought that’s what a bank – working in a bank was, just counting money. My Dad was a Farmer, and I knew pretty much from the start that I didn’t want to be a Farmer. He has to work very very long hours. In the summer he doesn’t – he doesn’t really get any time off, ’cause he’s always harvesting or doing something. I wanted to be able to take summer holidays off and things like that, so I knew farming wasn’t for me. I thought I wanted to be something to do with finance to begin with, because I’ve always liked Maths, right up until I did my A-Levels. It was much harder and that was – it was that step from GCSE to A-Levels was the hardest transition of any of my subjects.

00:01:12 And then that just sort of started to put doubt in my mind whether Maths was the thing I wanted to follow. I was used to being so good at Maths, then all of a sudden I couldn’t do it. So that really knocked me for six, I was desperately trying to drop it, but no one would let me. I’m a bit of a financially driven person, so there was always that that attracted to me – it was always the Accountants and the Investment Bankers that had the nice big fast cars. And I would love all of that but I decided the trade-off wasn’t worth it for me, I wanted to work in very much a people job, I wanted my life to be less stressful, and sort of follow my science roots. I picked my AS Level subjects in the most logical manner I could think of – I picked my top four grades at GCSE. And then when I did my A2 levels I picked my top three grades from that. Which then gave me Maths, Biology and Chemistry. So anything like medicine, Pharmacy, Physio, anything like that I could have done.

00:02:10 I decided to go with Pharmacy over Medicine mostly because Chemistry was my favourite subject. I started a four year Masters of Pharmacy Degree, and we have to do one year’s – well it’s called pre-registration. That is responsible for bringing all your education together and applying it to a clinical setting, because what you learn out of a text book isn’t the same as what happens every day to the patients. I think one of the best moments in my entire life was when I graduated. That was one of the best days ever. I had an amazing group of friends around me, my parents were there, and all my friends’ parents were there and we had – had awesome parties and that was a really good day, that was one of the highlights I think.

00:02:54 The first couple of patient visits are quite terrifying. There are so many pieces of information you have to get from the patient during a counselling session, so in a conversation with them. It is stressful, I mean you do have to know so much information and you can never know enough, you’re always learning. But it’s that element of it that I really like. Everyone has – in a hospital everyone has so much to give each other. The Physios can teach you stuff, the nurses can teach you stuff, the doctors can teach you stuff. Yeah, I like it! I mean pharmacy might not be for everyone, in fact if you don’t like Chemistry it’s definitely not for you. But I think if you’ve got – if you’ve got a love for Chemistry and Biology and you like people it’s a great way forward.

00:03:33 ENDS


For lovers of chemistry, biology and people, Andrew recommends pharmacy as a great way forward. Having ruled out farming (no time for summer holidays) and banking (maths A level put him off) he followed his passion and aptitude for Science, and as a pharmacist now enjoys the challenge and responsibility of making sure patients get the most appropriate medication and undertsand the drugs they are taking.

More information about Pharmaceutical technicians

average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

13%  male 
87%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future Employment

Future employment?

? Pharmaceutical technicians work in hospitals or in the community and assist pharmacists in the preparation and dispensing of drugs and medicines.
Entrants to training usually possess GCSEs/S grades or the equivalent. Training is typically a combination of practical experience and study at a college or by open learning towards vocational qualifications. To register as a pharmacy technician with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain an NVQ/ SVQ in Pharmacy Services at Level 3 is required
  • Checks received prescriptions for legality and accuracy;
  • Prepares drugs and medicines under the supervision of pharmacist;
  • Prepares specialised, tailor-made drugs for intravenous administration by hospital medical staff;
  • Labels and checks items prior to dispensing;
  • Maintains records of prescriptions received and drugs issued;
  • Advises patients or customers on the use of drugs prescribed or medication purchased over the counter;
  • Checks stock levels, orders new stock from pharmaceutical companies and ensures that drugs are stored appropriately.
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