Pharmacy Intern Job Description
Review Required For The Pharmacy Intern Job Description As Preregistration Places Drop
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the schools of pharmacy should work towards maximising job opportunities in industry for pharmacists, and the pharmaceutical industry should change the way it recruited pharmacists, Mr Adrian Bone (Eli Lilly & Co) said. Quoting from a 1998 Industrial Pharmacists Group working party report, Mr Bone said that there was a perception that fewer pharmacists were entering the industry. There had been a reduction in preregistration training opportunities, pharmacists were not responding to advertisements in major journals, and the positions advertised were being filled by other life science graduates. At the same time, the working party had found that the situation for pharmacists employed in industry was changing.
Looking at why the numbers of preregistration places in industry had gone down, Mr Bone said that, although students were still interested in considering working in the industry, by their final year many were more interested in better paid jobs in community pharmacy. They saw preregistration training in hospital or community as an easier option than industry, and careers in hospital and community as less competitive than industry. There were also the following general myths about working in industry: preregistration training had to be done in industry in order to work there, pharmacists only worked in R&D or manufacturing, the jobs were too specialised and there was little opportunity to progress outside the immediate area, you needed a PhD, you must have a first or upper second class degree, and there was no way into industry once you had worked in hospital or community pharmacy. Again this was after reading the pharmacy intern job description.
Yet industry was still interested in pharmacy graduates, Mr Bone said. They had many strengths, including their good scientific background, their relevant pharmaceutical training and their breadth of knowledge which could be transferable. However, pharmacy graduates were in danger of losing their advantage over other life science graduates if pharmacy undergraduate courses continued their present trend away from practical pharmaceutics and if the number of preregistration opportunities continued falling. There should be more training opportunities for pharmacists to gain experience of industry, he said.
One of the problems was the way jobs in industry were "sold" to undergraduates, Mr Bone went on. The available pharmacy intern job description needed improvement, the role of the pharmacist throughout the entire discovery-patient supply chain needed greater emphasis, and teaching staff needed to know more about current industry practices. The IPG working party had noted that the hospital and community areas of the profession communicated far more effectively with undergraduates than industry did. Another problem was recruiting, he said. The recruitment process was complex, and maybe those doing it were not pharmacists. Advertisements were placed in an increasingly diverse range of publications, and pharmacy graduates might not respond if the word "pharmacist" did not appear.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the schools of pharmacy should have an interest in maximising job opportunities for pharmacists, Mr Bone said.
Adapt to change
Pharmacy undergraduate courses had to adapt to industry changes, not to produce scientific specialists but to ensure that pharmacists' breadth of knowledge enabled them to continue to apply their recognised skills in this changing environment.
The routes of entry into the industry were changing, and those working there needed to look for opportunities to promote these routes; in the long run it might be more fruitful for the industry to sell job opportunities to pharmacists than to sell the merits of pharmacists to industry, Mr Bone concluded.