Tips for Networking in the Pharmacy Industry

Tips for Networking in the Pharmacy Industry

Our Guide to Networking in the Pharmacy Industry

Pharmacy networking is the process of building meaningful connections with professionals. It is used for career growth opportunities but isn’t exclusive to job candidates or job positions — it is something that should be continuously practiced throughout a person’s career. If you’re looking to learn more about pharmacy networking and how to go about developing connections, we’ve provided this guide to help you navigate the networking process. 

“As a pharmacist, networking is an important process for future success, and avoiding it is a huge career mistake.”

The Importance of Networking in Pharmacy 

As a pharmacist, networking is an important process for future success, and avoiding it is a huge career mistake. Not only is pharmacist networking the highest source of new employment, but it can also help you achieve your pharmacy career goals. You’ll be able to obtain advice, additional information about your career, and new opportunities in your field. Frequent networking can also boost your confidence and improve your communication skills. 

People Get together

How Do You Network in the Pharmaceutical Industry?

Pharmaceutical networking can feel overwhelming because where and how you network determine the kinds of connections you’ll be able to make. If you’re unsure of how to start, we’ve provided some tips below.

Attend Networking Events

To begin the pharmacy networking process, look up events in your community where you may find the best connections. Two common events include:

Charity Events

Charity events: Volunteering for and attending charity events in areas throughout your community are good ways to share your knowledge and skills with reputable organizations, and to find similarly skilled people to add to your network.

People having discussion in party

Conferences: At pharmacy conferences, you can attend workshops and panels that help you gain knowledge and develop skills. You can also meet new people who could potentially join your network.

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Have an Action Plan

Before you attend events for pharmacy networking, do some research to find out who will be there and what kind of opportunities will be available, such as workshops or panels. Create a plan of who to talk with and make a list of topics to discuss based on their expertise. It’s also a good idea to practice how you want to introduce yourself and the personal and professional information you plan to share.

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Keep Intention in Mind

Create an intention when attending events. Remember that you’re there to make connections and keep that purpose in mind as you meet with new people. Dress like a professional and put extra effort into your appearance. Actively listen to the people you are talking with and remain engaged in the conversation. Ask questions you have about the industry or ask employers what they’re looking for in pharmacy applicants.

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Find New Work Environments

Consider looking for opportunities in your community to work in new environments. A change in environment may be what you need to find new people to add to your network. Taking relief shifts for pharmacists who need time off or taking shifts at mass vaccination clinics gives you the chance to meet with and talk to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other professionals. These new connections may provide valuable career leads or information to further you in your career.

“A change in environment may be what you need to find new people to add to your network.”

Networking for Pharmacy Students

Pharmacy students should network as much as they can. Take advantage of all of the resources and functions your school provides. Attending job fairs and conferences and joining clubs can give you networking opportunities with other students, faculty members, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. Now is also the time to interview professors and connect with faculty members. Many faculty members will be happy to talk with you and provide tips for your future career. You can also take advantage of the mentor programs many pharmacy schools provide to connect students and faculty members with similar areas of interest.

Students discussing

Additional Pharmacy Networking Opportunities

Pharmacist networking connections can be found in unexpected ways, so be sure not to rule out any networking opportunities. If you work as an intern or a pharmacy technician, you may have opportunities to talk with pharmacists and other coworkers about field-related information or potential job leads. It’s also possible to find great connections outside of the pharmacy or healthcare industries. This can include creating a large network of friends and family as they may be able to provide general career advice, job leads and job referrals, or connections with people they know in the pharmacy industry.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Consider looking for opportunities in your community to work in new environments. A change in environment may be what you need to find new people to add to your network. Taking relief shifts for pharmacists who need time off or taking shifts at mass vaccination clinics gives you the chance to meet with and talk to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other professionals. These new connections may provide valuable career leads or information to further you in your career.

Career Tips for New Pharmacist Graduates

Career Tips for New Pharmacist Graduates

Now that you’re finally out of school and ready to begin your career as a licensed pharmacist, you might be of two minds. On the one hand, you’re relieved to be out of school, but perhaps nervous about how to adjust to the pharmacy business. To be certain, there’s a lot of pressure in leaving the academic side of things and finding yourself in the real world where there are higher stakes.

But with a little perspective and some helpful tips from those who have been in your position before, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a world-class pharmacist.

Be Respectful and Stay Humble

It should go without saying in any industry, but it’s sadly an issue for many in the professional world. When you’re starting out, once you’ve mastered your craft, and even when you’re at your peak — always stay humble. 

Though a person’s skills and qualifications are part of the reason they were hired in the first place, these aren’t the only things that matter. If you’re the best and most effective at what you do but you make everyone around you feel miserable, you’re going to burn some bridges. 

No matter what point you are at in your career, keep your ego in check and treat people with love and respect. Avoid gossipping on the job, because this not only creates an unpleasant working environment, but it also sends the message (even to those you’re gossiping with) that you’re the kind of person to talk negatively behind others’ backs.

Always Be Learning

Just because you’ve left school, that doesn’t mean you’re done learning. Throughout your career, make a continuous effort to learn more, both about the pharmaceutical industry and about the services that your particular pharmacy provides.

To stay up to date on the latest developments in the industry, subscribe to credible pharmacy-specific periodicals and email lists. Make an effort to maintain your professional network and regularly meet with a mentor who is at a point in their career that you would eventually like to reach.

At your current job, take some time to familiarize yourself with the workspace, understand what services and products your pharmacy offers, and get to know the people you work with. Knowing your way around the pharmacy will make many of your tasks second nature, allowing you to easily navigate your way throughout your day and better serve your patients.

A woman in a lab coat on a laptop.

Consider Doing Relief Shifts to Get Started

If you’re just getting started in your career or you’re between jobs, working relief shifts is a great way to make good money while gaining experience and getting exposed to many different pharmaceutical roles and environments. It’s also a helpful method of getting your foot in the door, working alongside a variety of different people, and building a professional network with different teams.

Mistakes Are Learning Experiences

You will mess up at some point in your career — that much is a given. Now, obviously, you’ll want to avoid making unnecessary mistakes and maintain a watchful eye on what you’re doing, but never let yourself get overwhelmed with fear of making mistakes to the point that it paralyzes you. 

A little “fear” — or, more accurately termed, “respect” — of the potential ramifications of your actions as a pharmacist is healthy and motivating. Too much fear will cloud your judgment and make it impossible to act. When you do make a mistake, do your best to correct the problem and minimize harm, and then move forward from the situation armed with the lesson that it taught you.

“Also, don’t be ashamed if you don’t have the answer to the customer’s question right away.”

Also, don’t be ashamed if you don’t have the answer to a customer’s question right away. You do need to be knowledgeable about your field as a pharmacist, but there’s enough information involved in your work that it’s reasonable that you won’t have an immediate answer for every topic. In those situations, simply let the customer know that you’ll find out and get back to them soon.

Listen to Your Patients and Communicate Effectively

It’s crucial to recognize that people who seek out your services are not customers. They’re patients. As such, it’s important to focus on the people and their individual needs. Be sure to listen to what your patients have to say and communicate your own concerns and directions clearly so your patients feel heard and cared for. This will go a long way toward improving the quality of your care, building trust with those you serve, and ensuring that medications are actually helping your patients and not causing harm.

Build Up Your Professional Network

One of the most valuable resources you have is your professional network. Not only does a well-maintained network help you to get jobs, but having access to a group of like-minded colleagues is useful for keeping your skills sharp, continuing your training and education, and generally having trustworthy people you can call with questions. Stay in touch with your coworkers and make an effort to stay connected, even when you move positions. 

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of formal networks, like professional associations, alumni groups, and job boards. This keeps your pool of colleagues large, giving you more resources to call upon and offer help to, while also making job searches simpler whenever you’re in the market for new work.

Friends talking around a table

Build Your Leadership Skills Early

Many people think that you need to be in a leadership position to start practicing leadership skills, but in reality, you can start now by leading by example. By taking the time to hone your skills and practice calm, assertive, kindness on the job, you’ll become a positive example to your coworkers of a proactive worker, a strong pharmacist, and an overall good person. As your skills and experience grow to match, you’ll be in a prime position to offer leadership in a more official capacity. Remember, your first position will likely not be your last. Practice now for the job you want to have one day, not just the one you currently find yourself in.

A Day in the Life of A Pharmacist

A Day in the Life of A Pharmacist

Are you considering a rewarding career as a pharmacist? Do you want to know more about a day in the life of a pharmacist and what you can expect during a typical shift? If you’re ready to learn more about what it’s like to be a pharmacist, read on. 

Typical Pharmacist Responsibilities

A day in the life of a pharmacist involves many different duties, most of which center around patients. When a pharmacist is on shift, they are usually the main person in charge. This means they are responsible for all type of work tasks, including: 

  • Accurately filling and dispensing medications
  • Verifying prescriptions
  • Ordering and distributing medical equipment
  • Managing pharmacy workflow 
  • Giving advice about over-the-counter medications
  • Overseeing day-to-day pharmacy operations 
  • Conducting medication consultations

Even though you may have lots of tasks to complete everyday, the majority of your time will be spent on patient care — a pharmacy can’t function without patients! Let’s take a deeper look into some of a pharmacist’s daily responsibilities.

A woman speaking to a pharmacist

Patient Interactions 

Patients are the heart of any pharmacy and your job as a pharmacist is to ensure that they have a positive interaction every time. One of the best ways to do this is through medication consultations.

When you are working as a pharmacist, you are responsible for making sure each patient gets the right medication and that they understand what they are taking. You need to provide these consultations every time a patient fills a new prescription, although most pharmacists still check in with a patient at every refill. 

A pharmacist discussing a box of medication with a man

During a medication consultation, you need to verify the following information: 

  • The name and description of the medication 
  • How to take the medication 
  • The dosage of the medication 
  • How long to take the medication 
A doctor fills a syringe.

You should also discuss: 

  • What to do with missed doses
  • Common medication side effects

Finally, you need to answer any questions the patient may have. Patients rely on your knowledge and expertise when it comes to their prescription information, so take time to ensure they are comfortable with their medication before leaving the pharmacy. 

Attention to Detail 

One of the most important responsibilities of a pharmacist is to pay attention. You are helping keep people healthy — and sometimes alive — with the medications that you dispense. This means you need laser-like focus to ensure you are pulling the right medication and putting the right dosage information on every prescription. 

Providing the wrong medication or listing an incorrect dosage can potentially lead to severe reactions, medication overdoses, and even death. In the case of a dispensing error, a pharmacist could be held liable for medical malpractice, lose their job, and lose their license. To avoid these issues, careful attention must be paid to every prescription filled. 

Patient Records 

Another daily pharmacist duty is maintaining detailed patient records. These records contain important patient information, including: 

  • Medications prescribed and filled
  • Care provided
  • Prescription adaptations 
  • Adverse medication reactions
  • Allergies
  • Known health conditions 
  • Patient consultation summaries 

Patient records must be maintained and kept up-to-date at all times. This information helps pharmacists make prescription decisions, including whether: 

  • A medication might cause an allergic reaction
  • The medication is appropriate for the patient’s medical history
  • New medication might interact with existing prescriptions 

“Record keeping is part of the office tasks that pharmacists do everyday.”

Record keeping is part of the office work that pharmacists do every day. If records are not updated after a patient visits, their information could be misleading the next time they fill a prescription, which can lead to potential problems. 

Pharmacy Work Hours 

In most cases, a pharmacist can expect to work 40 hours per week. Those hours can cover night shifts, weekends, and even holidays, depending on where you are working. Pharmacy shifts can also vary, with some pharmacists working five 8-hour shifts and others working four 10-hour shifts. Other work hours can vary based on your retail or hospital location. 

Retail Hours vs Hospital Hours 

A retail pharmacy is located within another business — usually a retail store. Stand-alone pharmacies can also be considered retail pharmacies since they sell over-the-counter medications that aren’t pharmacy specific. Retail pharmacies can maintain opening hours that run outside of the host store’s hours, and are usually open 10 hours a day. 

A hospital pharmacy is located within a hospital to fill prescriptions for patients after surgery or for other reasons. Hospital pharmacies are typically open 24/7, so you can expect to work on a rotating schedule with other hospital pharmacists. 

A man and woman taking a selfie in nautre

Locum Pharmacist vs Relief Pharmacist 

When a pharmacist needs to miss multiple shifts, a locum or relief pharmacist is needed. These pharmacists have all the same education, training, and qualifications as regular pharmacists but their hiring contracts are handled differently. 

Locum pharmacists work on a freelance basis, which means they have to contact pharmacies and offer their services to get shift work. Relief pharmacists are partnered with a job-matching site or staffing agency and are matched with jobs via these avenues. 

If you are working as a pharmacist and need time off, consider hiring a locum or relief pharmacist to cover your shifts. You’ll gain peace of mind that licensed, experienced pharmacists are covering the pharmacy and your patients get consistent, uninterrupted service. 

Consider Pharmacy Work 

As a pharmacist, your job can be extremely rewarding as you help others throughout their health journey. You’ll experience a wide variety of situations and interact with different patient groups every day, which helps keep your job exciting and fulfilling.

If you aren’t ready to work as a full-time pharmacist but want to put your pharmacy degree to good use, consider becoming a relief pharmacist. You can sign up with ShiftPosts — the pharmacy matching app that helps pharmacists fill open shifts faster. When you sign up with ShiftPosts, you’ll get relief shifts faster and easier. Start your career as a relief pharmacist by contacting ShiftPosts today. 

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