Registering as a Pharmacist
The MPharm degree is only one part of becoming a pharmacist. To work as a pharmacist in Britain you must be a registered member of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To achieve registration you must have achieved a pass in an accredited MPharm degree, undertaken a one-year work-based placement, known as the pre-registration year, and pass the council's registration examination.
UEA provides full support in helping students secure training places for when they graduate. For further information about registering as a pharmacist contact the GPhC (www.pharmacyregulation.org) or for information on careers in pharmacy contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (www.rpharms.com).
There are four major sectors of employment:
Community pharmacists work under contract to the NHS and are involved in many areas of patient care. Their role includes checking that the medication requested on prescription is appropriate for the patient and advising general practitioners when problems arise. New roles include the medicines use service (MUR) and the new medicines service (NMS). They also advise members of the general public on healthcare matters and diagnose and prescribe for minor ailments. Additionally they perform clinical checks such as glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure monitoring, and are involved with health promotion initiatives.
Hospital pharmacy offers a structured career pathway enabling pharmacists to train and then specialise either in management or in clinical practice right through to consultant level. Hospital pharmacists are responsible for all aspects of medicines management in the hospital both at a strategic level and working directly with patients and doctors to optimise medicines use. They undertake competency-based training programmes in the workplace and usually study for further academic qualifications. In common with all pharmacists, many hospital pharmacists also train and register as independent prescribers after two years as a qualified pharmacist.
Primary Care Pharmacy
The role of the primary care pharmacist varies widely but is generally based within a general practitioner's surgery. Many are also independent prescribers. Primary care pharmacists are involved in clinically reviewing the medication of patients, advising general practitioners regarding their prescribing and conducting their own clinics with patients to ensure they have the most effective and safe treatment..
Pharmacists work in industry in two main areas, either as pharmaceutical scientists or in clinical trials and regulation. Pharmaceutical scientists are responsible for developing new drug molecules into medicines. This involves developing a dosage form that a patient can use easily, for example, a tablet or injection and making sure that the drug gets to the correct site of the body at the correct time at the correct level.
Pharmacists are also involved in ensuring that medicines are manufactured to the highest possible standards and the patients receive the best quality product possible.