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A career new year

Published on: 28 Jan 2010

A career new year

As the season for resolutions rolls in, Zoe Smeaton reveals the top 10 you must make for your career in 2010

1. Network, network, network
Making time each week to build relationships with other local healthcare professionals should be a priority, according to Barbara Sutherland, head of capability at Lloydspharmacy. But also think beyond that to who you can build links with in pharmacy and within your own company – having relationships with these people gives you somewhere to go for advice and support and they might be able to help you to boost your career at a later date.

2. Get healthy
The importance to your career of a healthy lifestyle should not be underestimated – if you’re fit and healthy, you’re far more likely to be able to perform better at work. And as Salim Jetha, CEO at Avicenna, says: “As pharmacists we readily hand out this advice but rarely follow it ourselves.”

3. Work on your store’s layout
It’s often easy to ignore with the constant pressure pharmacists are under, but how the pharmacy looks can really make a difference to business and to the impression your employer might have of the pharmacy you are running. Mr Jetha advises: “Get a friend or family member to look at your pharmacy from a customer point of view and ask them to visit others to help evaluate your pharmacy.”

4. Upgrade your skills
Clare Clark, from the Alphega Pharmacy support team, says her resolution is to ensure she and her team are trained to offer more professional services within the community. This will mean patients can benefit from having total healthcare on their doorstep, Ms Clark says, but completing training and showing you are capable of running in-pharmacy services will also boost your own credentials.

5. Start delegating
The message from pharmacy leaders has been loud and clear on this – pharmacists need to delegate if they are to adapt to the new, service-led, way of life. As Mr Jetha says: “If OTC business is on a downward trend then your counter staff will have less work. Train them to be smoking cessation advisers, signpost the services you provide, link your sales and be a healthcare professional.” He suggests keeping a regular note of the tasks you are carrying out over the course of one week and then going back to highlight those that could have been delegated to save your time.

6. Where are you going?
In any career it’s important to have some sort of plan for where you might want to go next, and spending time thinking about this and about how you can best get there is likely to be well worth the effort. Tony Mottram, Numark’s managing director, says: “My top new year’s resolution for community pharmacists is simple: invest time to think about where you are going in business and life, asking for help along the way to achieve it.”

7. De-stress your pharmacy
Pharmacists have been vocal in recent times about the amount of pressure they are under, so use the new year as a prompt to try to minimise stress in your workplace. Mandeep Mudhar, Alliance Healthcare’s director of commercial services, advises: “Take a lunch break, try to work sensible hours and also manage expectations.” Also remember it’s important to take time out to recharge your batteries, so make sure you take your days off each week and have holidays as and when you can.

8. Befriend your local GP
As GPs become increasingly influential in primary care trusts, getting on their good side could make your working life easier and help you create opportunities for yourself or your business to deliver locally commissioned services. Alastair Buxton, head of NHS services at PSNC, says: “Commit to spend more time talking to your local GPs – done effectively it will improve the service you offer and should make your working life easier and more fulfilling.”

9. The all-important CPD
Undertaking and recording your CPD diligently should be a given for any pharmacist in 2010, but where to start? Mr Buxton suggests you look at adherence and causes of non-adherence. “Non-adherence costs the NHS a great deal every year and has a significant individual impact on patients’ lives. Community pharmacists need to consider how we can help tackle this challenging issue,” he explains.

10. Focus on your team
Whatever the size of your pharmacy and responsibility, try to set aside some team time. Ms Sutherland advises: “Have a team meeting every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes to discuss priorities for the day, and – importantly – recognise team success.”