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Kamsons’ professional development manager: Getting your ideal job

Written by: Eliza Slawther
Published on: 9 Feb 2018

Mark Donaghy

Kamsons Pharmacy’s development guru reveals need-to-know ways of winning your ideal job in the sector

Mark Donaghy had been managing an independent community pharmacy for over 10 years before a chance meeting with a Kamsons director in 2005 led to a career change.

As professional development manager of Kamsons – based in Uckfield, East Sussex – he oversees service provision and staff training in the chain’s more than 50 pharmacies, spread across Sussex, London, Kent, Surrey, Yorkshire, Manchester and Bedfordshire. Despite this wide-ranging responsibility, Mr Donaghy still finds time to be vice-chair of West Sussex local pharmaceutical committee.

Mr Donaghy tells C+D that among the most enjoyable aspects of his role at Kamsons are seeing a new service come into fruition, and being the pre-registration pharmacist training manager. He particularly likes teaching pre-regs about “the joys of the drug tariff!”

“I am lucky to enjoy nearly everything I do,” Mr Donaghy says, “but if I have to name one thing I don’t, it is dealing with difficult customer complaints. Mostly, it is satisfying to resolve a complaint, but on rare occasions it can be very frustrating.”

To maintain a happy working life, Mr Donaghy says it is key to enjoy your work. “Pharmacy can be very pressurised and stressful, but if you have good support both within the pharmacy and from your managers, then community pharmacy is a wonderful job.”

As for careers advice, Mr Donaghy stresses that community pharmacy is “all about people”. He says that pharmacists “have to show love and care” to patients and to respect staff, adding that “a good pharmacist has fine-tuned that balance between efficiency and being able to talk to everyone. It’s a wonderful job to be paid to help and talk to people each day.”

“To get your ideal job, go out and meet fellow pharmacists, attend meetings and talk to your colleagues. Building up contacts is vital.”

Stand-out candidates are the ones who “have demonstrated that community pharmacy is a vocation and not just a job”, Mr Donaghy explains.

And what about those all-important job interviews?

To stand out from the crowd you should be able to speak about “examples of how you have delivered [services], and how you have helped your patients”, he says.

This article was amended on February 15, 2018 to change the location of where Kamsons is based.