Preparing for your placement
Students are now receiving confirmation of their foundation placements via the Oriel placement facility. However, the number of students seeking placements in community pharmacy is fewer than the placements on offer, so some pharmacists may be disappointed to not have been allocated a trainee pharmacist.
If you have received confirmation that you have a trainee pharmacist placement and would like to find out more about the NPA’s Foundation Training Programme for 2023-2024, please click here.
You will need to have a GPhC approved training plan before your student can be registered on this course.
Recruiting your trainee pharmacist
If you have not yet been allocated a trainee pharmacist placement, there are options available to you. There’s still time for you to recruit your trainee pharmacist for next year. We know that there are students actively looking at this time.
This web page has been set up to help you with what to consider when recruiting your student/s for next year.
You may wish to make contact with your local university to see if they have a list of trainee pharmacists who are looking for a placement. You can also register with the NPA, who liaise with Universities, and can add your vacancy.
Here is our quick guide to hiring trainee pharmacists; we hope this will provide you with some inspiration if you’re looking to hire.
STEP 1 – Write your vacancy advertisement
TIP: What to highlight in your vacancy advert:
- Emphasise the entrepreneurial and varied aspects of independent community pharmacy – a chance to represent yourself individually as a pharmacist
- Focus on the ‘community’ in pharmacy. Present the unique opportunity to become a ‘community hero’ by supporting members of the local community
- Present the chance to be part of the ever changing and evolving landscape of independent community pharmacy
- Be part of a smaller, focused team and really make a difference. Community pharmacies are family or small businesses that are a unique place to work.
TIP: Questions to ask yourself when writing your advert:
- Why is your pharmacy the place to work? What is unique about your team?
- How can your pharmacy be seen as the heart of your community?
- What successes has your pharmacy had?
- Does your pharmacy have good relationships with the local GPs and district nurses?
- What links to local committees can you offer?
- What does training entail? Note that you are an NPA member with access to our suggested training programmes
- How will you support your trainee pharmacist through training and help them with their career goals? Have you considered their future plans? Do you offer a hospital exchange or opportunity to open within a GP surgery at the end of the placement? This is a vitally important part of your vacancy advert and one that all potential placements will be looking for.
- How have your past trainee pharmacists excelled or progressed within community pharmacy?
STEP 2 – Place your advert
It is easy to place your advert on the NPA website, simply visit the place a vacancy page and fill in the form. The Member Services team at the NPA is also on hand to support if you need.
As an NPA member, you have the benefit of posting your advert on the NPA website vacancy pages, which has a high flow of visiting traffic.
STEP 3 – Interviewing
Once it gets to the interview stage, it is important to prepare questions that are going to help you identify the most suitable candidate for your pharmacy. Here are some sample interview questions that you may consider asking:
What do you know about this pharmacy?
This question is designed to find out if your candidate has researched your pharmacy before the interview.
Why do you want to work for this pharmacy?
The answer should be based on their research and possibly related to their long-term career goals.
Why community pharmacy over other sectors?
Look for specific enthusiasm for community pharmacy – an ideal candidate will show this over a desire to work in a GP practice or hospital.
Do you work well in a team?
Be sure to ask for examples that show specifics and performance of outcome as a team effort.
Explain how you would be an asset to this pharmacy?
This is a chance for the candidate to highlight their best skills and show how they relate to the pre-registration position being discussed.
What is your greatest strength?
A few good answer examples:
- Ability to prioritise
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Ability to focus on projects
- Professional expertise
- Leadership skills and positive attitudes
Why do you think you would do well at this job?
Answers should relate to skills, experience, and interest in your pharmacy.
How is your ability to work under pressure?
Examples to show that candidate thrives under certain types of pressure with examples preferably related to pharmacy topics.
What experience do you have that you feel would be relevant to this role, having not worked in a pharmacy before?
You may want to look for answers highlighting a hard worker and quick learner.
Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a problem or issue?
Concentrate on the problem-solving techniques mentioned and how the dispute you settled.
What are the latest developments in pharmacy?
Answers should include pharmacy contract, clinical governance, changing technicians roles, any ‘hot’ topics – like PGDs, FMD.
How can you see IT enhancing or affecting community pharmacy?
You could also ask your candidate some more personal questions;
What are your future ambitions?
Could you see yourself working in a pharmacy in 20 years time?
Do you have any hobbies or interests?
Finally to close interview…
Do you have any questions about the placement?
STEP 4 – Make the offer!
The NPA provides a Contract of Employment template and guidance notes that can be adapted to all job roles.
During your trainee pharmacist placement if you need any support, please call Member Services on 01727 800402 – we’re always happy to help.
STEP 5 – Register your interest in advance for the NPA’s Foundation Training Programme – full details will be announced in Spring 2022 and the programme will be open for enrolments from May onwards.
Prior to the programme being open for enrolments you can do this by completing this form – once it is open, please refer to this page. You will need to have a GPhC approved training plan before your student can be registered on this course.