Case study

Pharmacist — Aqib Sheikh

Aqib studied for a Masters at Medway School of Pharmacy. Find out how his initiative and knowledge of the industry have helped him get ahead in community pharmacy

How did you get your job?

Before completing my final exam in pharmacy I applied to several companies for a pre-registration position. I received a number of offers but decided to start my career with The Co-operative Pharmacy due to its reputation in the industry.

I managed to win the 'the greatest contribution award' for a project which identified a weakness in the branch by analysing revenue reports and business KPI's and developing a strategy to restore the business to an optimum level. My action plan saved the branch £47,349 within 12 weeks. Because of this achievement I was interviewed and offered a full-time position.

What do you do day-to-day?

The bulk of my day is spent dispensing medicines to patients in the community. While dispensing medicines, it is vital to ensure different treatments are compatible, so time is spent checking the dosage and confirming that the medicines are correctly and safely labelled.

Not all medicines are readily prepared by the manufacturing companies due to their stability, so sometimes certain medicines need to be prepared for a patient.

Once a week I will audit the controlled drugs register, to ensure there are correct quantities of each drug.

A typical day can also include selling over-the-counter medicines, counselling and advising the public on the treatment of minor ailments, advising patients of any adverse side-effects of medicines or potential interactions with other medicines or treatments.

How has your role developed?

The jump from university to pre-registration was a big step towards developing and shaping me as a pharmacist.

I spent my first four months working as a qualified pharmacist in a small community pharmacy, which allowed me to settle into the role without overwhelming me. I quickly grasped the daily activities and as a result I was able to increase the performance of the pharmacy I was working at in a short period. This was again recognised by my line managers and as a result, I was placed into busier pharmacies.

My career aspirations include continuing my development both in clinical and commercial aspects and identifying developmental points within the industry. I would like to develop the area of pharmacy further and bring innovation to the field by introducing new ideas.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the satisfaction of helping another human being. For most people in the community, the pharmacist is the first point of call and patients turn to us for professional advice.

What are the challenges of working in this sector?

It can be a challenge dealing with difficult customers especially when trying to ensure that all our patients have received their medications. Answering difficult clinical queries from different medical practitioners can also be challenging.

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