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Considering a hospital career? Here’s where to start.

hospital pharmacy Jul 04, 2021


If you’ve thought about hospital pharmacy for a while, you are likely at the stage where you’re ready to expand your skills and try something different. You might be wondering what it takes to be more “clinical”. Plus a 9 to 5 job, with (mostly) no weekend work sounds like a dream after the crazy hours you’ve been doing, right?

There are certainly perks to working for the government or another large employer. Generous maternity leave, salary sacrifice, proper lunch breaks, public holidays off, and even regular pay increases. 

Sounds good doesn't it?

But where do you even start?

Your first step: Do some background research 

Find out more about the hospital environment by talking to someone who works there, preferably in a hospital near you. A casual conversation is all that’s needed. How do they like working in hospital pharmacy? How many pharmacists work in their department? Are there any pharmacists working there who originally came from community?  If the answer is yes,  then how did they get a foot in the door? What did they do to learn the ropes? 

The more you can find out about the inner workings of the pharmacy department of the hospitals near you, the better. If employment opportunities come up, you’ll be the first to know. Plus you might even have someone vouch for you. This is especially helpful when you don’t have hospital experience. 

I landed my first hospital job because of friends who considered me when they were looking for casual staff. There is definitely truth to that saying "it's who you know, not what you know". 

But what if you don’t know any hospital pharmacists? Then you need to start asking around. Think outside the square. Talk to an old uni friend, or FB message someone. Next time a hospital pharmacist phones for a dispensing history, if time allows, ask the pharmacist about their job. Yes I’m serious!  All you have to say is “Oh.. So you work at the hospital? What’s that like?”  Take every opportunity you can.

To better understand the role of the hospital pharmacist and what transitioning into hospital can be like, here’s a few links to have a read of:

 Hospital pharmacy - A world of opportunity (SHPA)

The role of the hospital pharmacist (SHPA)

 Transitioning to hospital pharmacy