Where Did The Year Go: 12 Lessons Learnt As A Pharmacist

Pharmacy lessons learnt

Where Did The First Year Go?

That is the question that has been on my mind the past week. In a year, I went from the little Pre-Registration Pharmacy Graduate seeking approval to sell two boxes of Paracetamol.
To a Full-Time Pharmacist granting permission to sell the two boxes of Paracetamol ūüė≥.

I have learned so much in the last 12 months and I know I have a lot more to learn in the pharmacy world (excited for the future).
After 12 months of qualifying; here are the lessons so far.

1. Do Not Be Cocky:
My first week in, I tried to outsmart the slow computers and order Methadone over the phone. It didn’t cross my mind to order methadone as the¬†brand Physeptone¬†Oops. This error took me the whole week to set straight.

2. Time Management Skills:
I work a 10-hour shift daily, it sounds like i’m¬†at work the whole day, but trust me it doesn’t feel that way in a busy store. Time goes by quickly, after one or two Medicine Use Review, it is time to go home. I had to learn to prioritise and work fast.

3. Complete A Task:
In a community pharmacy, every service offered has a bunch of paperwork to follow and having too many paperwork can be overwhelming and untidy.  I used to save my paperwork for the end of the day, then I realised I was creating a chore and I sometimes miss off a Controlled-Drug Register entry.

4. Be Firm: Being firm meant I was not easily manipulated. It is very easy to break the law in Pharmacy and my license is all I have. It is my greatest achievement so far. I ensure everyday I work within the laws.

5. People Skills: Working in the public sector, I have the opportunity to meet a diverse cohort. I had to quickly learn to communicate effectively, be respectful even when I am not being respected, be polite even in the most traumatic situations.

six more lessons to go

6. Controlled-Drug Cupboards:
These cabinets “at least the ones where I work” have the worst constructions. They have curved¬†edges and hidden compartments. I could spend over an hour trying to find the tiny yellow-white Diamorphine box while carrying¬†out a balance check.

7. Be Updated:
Everyone looks up to the pharmacists for answers, I subscribe to pharmaceutical journal and others alike to keep me informed. ¬†My sister always says¬†you can’t know it all but you need to know the right resources for answers.

8. Rewarding Job: 
I am not a World-Class Surgeon or a Guru of Clinical Knowledge but my empathy and minor ailments knowledge are enough. I make an impact in my local community and my role is appreciated.

9. Do Not Look Back:
Unless it is life threatening I no longer call stores I previously worked in. Yesterday is past am moving forward. Why should I create the avenue for people to have a go at me, (the newly qualified clueless pharmacist that was slow in checkingūüėä).

10. Be Ready:
I never knew to be a store-base pharmacist required extreme dedication. You will be tested emotionally, mentally and physically. I learnt the hard way.

11. Speak Out:
I used to think if I ask¬†for help, I will come across as¬†weak, “far from the truth“. No one cares if I am weak and even if they do¬†they have no power over my life.

12. God’s Grace:
How can I explain the ‘voice’ that tells me to track my steps back because I made an error. People call it ‘gut instincts’, which it is probably but who gave me those ‘gut instincts’?
I will be lost but for God’s Grace…

More Lessons To¬†Learn Ahead, I Am Patiently Waiting…

Pharmacy lessons Learnt

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    July 31, 2016 at 22:33

    Good one ,true and well said diplomatically

    • Kaka Osagie
      August 2, 2016 at 06:44

      Thank you for reading my post and for your feedback ūüôā.

  • Mina
    November 13, 2017 at 20:24

    Hi, I am also newly qualified. Do you recommend calling the store the day after? What questions did you ask? Thanks

    • Kaka Osagie
      November 13, 2017 at 21:17

      Welcome to PharmacistDiary Mina,
      I do not call stores unless I have an urgent message to pass on which I could not explain over a written note. How is your first year of registration going ?


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