Education is an important part of our lives and helps us reach the desired career. While this is true across the board in some way, shape, or form, certain roles require higher academic learning. Working as a pharmacist is a good example; you must hold the right credentials to enter this industry.
But what qualifications would this usually be? The online doctor of pharmacy from the University of Findlay is a popular option and shows the kind of award needed. Consistently rated as a top national university, their program can be completed in as little as four years and teaches students all they need to know for a successful pharmacy career.
A major part of any qualification like this is placements. These enable students to get first-hand experience of working as a pharmacist. It also means they are fully prepared to step into the role post-graduation. The scope of jobs in the sector now means that a range of placement options are available to trainees.
When training to become a pharmacist, you will soon find that various types of placements are available. All are invaluable for helping you gain the practical skills needed to work in this role after finishing your studies.
One example is clinical placements, which are common in pharmacy programs. As the name suggests, this involves completing several practical placement hours in a clinical setting. For most student pharmacists, this is usually a hospital or clinic.
This placement is ideal for getting a general introduction to pharmacy work but is especially useful if you plan to work in clinical settings upon graduation. As trying to work out exactly which path to follow is one of the best career tips, pinning down the location you want to work in when qualified as a pharmacist is worthwhile.
Work in clinical placement is done in a structured way and carried out under the supervision of a qualified, licensed pharmacist. As well as building up direct pharmaceutical skills, clinical placements are also good for helping you develop excellent patient communication skills.
Community practice placements are another common type of placement available to trainee pharmacists. Completing practical hours in this setting involves working in community pharmacies and under the guidance of an assigned preceptor.
This type of placement helps students find out what is involved in being a community pharmacist and lets them see if it is the role for them. Standard tasks on this placement include helping dispense medication, advising patients on medication under supervision, and serving customers.
Many graduates like this specific job because it enables them to build close links with the community they serve. It also allows them to work as a pharmacist in major retail stores or open their independent store.
Long-term care facility placements
Long-term care is vital and needs specially designed facilities. This placement involves working at these facilities and is similar to fulfilling a clinical order. The main difference is that you would be working in facilities dedicated to caring for a certain part of the population. This could be older people in care homes or people in rehabilitation centers. It may also involve working in a long-term care facility for those with specific medical conditions.
Completing this placement would see trainee pharmacists learning to dispense medication accurately and sitting in on medication reviews. It would also involve learning about monitoring patients’ health and how data can be used to determine current medication’s effectiveness. Trainee pharmacists on this placement may also help more experienced staff set up quality assurance programs.
Ambulatory care placements
This is one of the major types of placements available to student pharmacists. It focuses on managing patients’ medication regimes with chronic, ongoing conditions. This can be anything from diabetes to heart problems, blood pressure, or mental health issues.
As people with these conditions need the proper medication in the correct dose to be healthy, the role of an ambulatory care pharmacist is essential. Students undertaking experiential learning in this setting may learn to speak with patients about dosage amounts, lifestyle choices, and diets which could all impact their overall health. They may also learn how to review the medication a patient is on and pick up on any potential issues regarding side effects or other medicines they are taking.
Although there are some areas all pharmacy students end up taking placements in, most courses will also leave room for specialization. This is worthwhile because it enables students to explore specific parts of the sector they find interesting.
One example of this is undertaking a research placement. This is not only an exciting placement but also a very rewarding one. As your research can lead to new drugs being developed to improve people’s lives, you directly impact the world.
The most common places for this type of experiential learning are pharmaceutical companies. This is where new medication is first researched and then produced, so it is the perfect choice for people looking to get practical experience in this field. You may also be able to find research-based placement opportunities in academia, as the top universities invest resources in discovering/developing new medications.
Available placements for pharmacy students
Many elements are involved in training to become a pharmacist, and all are crucial for enabling you to help patients safely. Placements are one of the most vital and invaluable for giving students practical experience of working in the industry. If you are considering studying to break into this role, the above options are all worth considering when it is time to head out on placement yourself.