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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7186 p243-245
23 February 2002

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Letters are available in a single PDF* file (60K)

  Community pharmacy
  Drug misuse
  The Profession
  The Society
  The Council

Letters to the Editor

  * PDF files on PJ Online require Acrobat Reader 4 or later.

Careers (2 letters)

Need for more industry preregistration training places

From Miss T. Jafri

It does not surprise me that the pharmaceutical industry was not mentioned as an option by pharmacy students in your recent article about their views of the profession (PJ, 26 January, p94).

Increasingly, hospital pharmacy is being presented as an exciting and challenging career path at university by hospital pharmacists recruiting for both summer placements and the preregistration year. In contrast, none of the major industries seems to approach students at university and instead students will only hear about quality assurance and regulatory affairs during coursework. But this does not represent the huge variety of areas from research and development to health economics and marketing in which pharmacists work.

That pay is low and laboratory work is isolated are two common misconceptions held by the majority of students, who view industry as being driven by profits and shareholders alone. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry is beginning to be perceived as the domain of chemists. Therefore, in order to recruit pharmacists, the industry needs to be more proactive and approachable by pharmacy students.

Preregistration training places are not openly advertised and little information is offered, except perhaps that it is difficult to obtain a place. I consider myself fortunate to be completing my preregistration year in industry where I am exposed to unique challenges and diversity of work that was previously unknown to me as a student.

I hope that with the support of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, pharmaceutical companies will be encouraged to increase the number of preregistration places available, so that a career in industry is viewed as a feasible option.

Tabassum Jafri
Preregistration Trainee
St George's Hospital, London,
and Pfizer, Sandwich, Kent

Moving from being a dispenser to a pharmacist

From Mrs J. Young, MRPharmS

Like Beverley Stephens (PJ, 15 September 2001, p349) and Graham Bunn (PJ, 17 November 2001, p711) I, too, had an unusual route into the profession.

I left school, aged 15, with no idea of my future career. The careers office gave me information about training as a dispenser and arranged an interview for me in Brighton. I was offered a job and began my training. After many years of working as a dispenser I left full-time work to have my children and returned to part-time work in 1991.

I had always been frustrated when I came across newly qualified pharmacists who seemed to look down on dispensers, yet did not seem to know an awful lot about the "real job".

I began to think, "If you can't beat them, join them". A colleague encouraged me to contact the admissions tutor at the University of Brighton and enquire about entry requirements.

I was not convinced that my four "O"-levels (no mathematics) would be enough. The admissions tutor informed me that I would need (i) "A"-level chemistry and biology, or (ii) to undertake an access course at a technical college or (iii) complete the Open University science foundation course. I chose the OU course so that I could continue working.

I was offered a place at the University of Brighton and started my degree course in September 1996. I graduated in 1999 and I still cannot believe that I did it.

If any pharmacist reading this letter knows of a dispenser or technician who they feel would make a good pharmacist, encourage them to become one. Alternatively, ask them to contact me by e-mail.

Jacky Young
Burgess Hill, West Sussex


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