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Occupation Details

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Pharmacist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€22k > 85
Pharmacist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€22 - 85
Related Information:
Retail Pharmacist: 30+

HOSPITAL PHARMACIST:
Hospital Trainee Pharmacist: 22 - 24
Hospital Experienced Pharmacist: 31 - 62
Hospital Senior Pharmacist: 59 - 66
Hospital Chief Pharmacist: 65 - 81

INDUSTRIAL PHARMACIST
Trainee: 24 - 45
Qualified: 55 - 65
Senior: 75 - 85
Data Source(s):
HSE.ie

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Works in the safe dispensing and use of medicines, including providing advice, information and counselling, mostly in a community or hospital setting.


Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:1

Rachel Berry
Pharmacist

Rachel Berry is working as a Pharmacist in University Hospital Galway. She studied for her A Levels in Banbridge Academy Northern Ireland and took her Pharmacy degree in Queens University Belfast. Initially she worked in retail but moved to a job as a dispensary/rotational C Grade pharmacist in a hospital in the NHS, for the next couple of years. Deciding that her career needed some direction and focus she applied to work for the HSE as a Basic Grade pharmacist and to start a Masters in Clinical Pharmacy.

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Follow the links below to watch videos related to this occupation:

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Go..Search YouTube for Pharmacist videos

The Work header image

Pharmacy is an applied science concerned with the chemistry and action of drugs, and their preparation and production for use in medicine. Central to pharmacy work is the science of 'formulation'. This is the process whereby a drug is combined with another substance, such as ointment, tablet, injection or liquid, for its use as a medicine. The formulation and dispensing of medicines require detailed understanding of the action of drugs and medicines on the body.

There are three main areas of work for Pharmacists:

1. Hospital Pharmacist

Hospital pharmacists are responsible for the ordering, quality testing, storing and security of drugs and medicines in hospitals. They must also ensure an adequate supply of medicine and that it is secure and accounted for. Hospital Pharmacists work closely with doctors and nursing staff to make sure that patients receive the best treatment. This includes discussing appropriate medicines, or safe combinations of drugs in a course of treatment.

In most hospitals, pharmacists have direct contact with patients on the ward, advising them how to take medicines and of any possible side effects. They also make sure that patients have enough information about their medicine to be able to safely take it when they have returned home. Pharmacists use computers widely. They help with day-to-day work, such as storing information, stock control and drug monitoring.

Pharmacists may also use the Internet and worldwide databases when answering drug queries from hospital staff and from patients. Pharmacists supervise the work of pharmacy technicians. Technicians prepare medicines according to a prescription, and dispense them to patients or to the hospital staff who treat patients.

2. Retail or Community Pharmacist

Community pharmacists supply prescribed and over-the-counter medicines to the general public in a retail pharmacy (such as a local chemist). They may give advice to customers on the safe use of medicines and their possible side effects.

They also advice on the treatment of minor ailments, such as colds or sore throats, and sometimes refer cases to the doctor. Most medicines are supplied ready-made by the manufacturer. However, some may need to be made up in the pharmacy, for example, when a particular strength dosage is wanted, or for very small quantities of potentially dangerous substances.

In most cases, pharmacy technicians (often known as dispensing technicians) carry out the routine work. The pharmacist checks that the dosages are right and that labels show the correct information.

Most retail pharmacists use computers for stock control and for producing labels. Some now have computerised databases that can hold information on regular customers' health and medicine records.

Retail pharmacists usually stock a wide range of other goods, such as perfumes, cosmetics, baby care products and photographic materials. In rural areas, the pharmacy may also sell agricultural, horticultural and veterinary products. The retail pharmacist is, therefore, involved in the wider role of retail management.

This includes supervising and training sales assistants to give an efficient service to the public, marketing goods, keeping records of stock, ordering new goods and maintaining accounts. This work carries a high level of responsibility.

3. Industrial Pharmacist

The aim of pharmacists in industry is to discover safe and effective new drugs. They also develop them into effective medicines, and market the finished product to customers.

Industrial Pharmacists also work on improving existing medicines and finding new ways of formulating old drugs. Industrial pharmacists work alongside pharmacologists, specialist chemists, microbiologists and other experts in the pharmaceutical industry.

Many industrial pharmacists work in the area of medicine formulation. This is the process of turning a basic medicinal compound into a useful product that can deliver a drug safely and effectively to the patient and set up processes used to manufacture on a massive scale. In order to find the most effective formulation of a medicine, industrial pharmacists have to rigorously check the concentration, impurity levels and stability of products. This checking is carried out throughout the production process, from the piloting stage (known as clinical trials) through to the manufacture and launch of the medicine.

Industrial pharmacists are also employed in quality assurance. They look at the processes and raw materials involved in making a medicine and assess the final product. For example, they carry out tests to establish the shelf life and stability of a medicine.

Industrial pharmacists may work in a pharmaceutical company's registration department. Before a new or modified drug can be marketed, its prospective manufacturer must get a licence from the Department of Health. In the registration department, the relevant data is collected for presentation with the licence application to the Department of Health.

Some pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry provide an information service about the company's own and its competitors' products. They use on-line databases to search medical and scientific literature. In the course of their day-to-day work, they develop detailed knowledge of a company's products. They may use this knowledge to train medical representatives and write technical literature.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability.

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Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.

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Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.

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Plan, implement, or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.

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Assess the identity, strength, or purity of medications.

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Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.

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Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.

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Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.

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Advise customers on the selection of medication brands, medical equipment, or healthcare supplies.

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Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards: Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Assisting and Caring for Others: Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

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Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Medicine and Dentistry: Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

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Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

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English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.

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Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

In both hospitals and shops, pharmacists have direct contact with patients, customers and health care professionals. Therefore, you will need good communication skills. You will also need the confidence to talk about a wide range of general health matters.  
 
When liaising with doctors and other health care professionals, you will need to use tact and discretion. A good aptitude for chemistry and an interest in studying chemical compounds and structures would be favourable to the career choice.

Industrial pharmacists work mainly in laboratories or manufacturing/production environments. The work involves using a wide range of specialist equipment and automated systems. You will need to have strong analytical skills and be able to develop a good understanding of health and safety in the workplace.

In areas such as production or marketing, your knowledge of pharmacy needs to be complemented by good management, communication and customer liaison skills. Research is very much a team effort, so it's important to enjoy working closely with colleagues as well as making use of your scientific knowledge.


Entry Routesheader image

The model of pharmacist education and training in Ireland has changed in recent years. It now takes five-years to become a pharmacist here.

The qualification for practice as a pharmacist is a 5-year integrated Master's degree in pharmacy with a strong clinical focus. Students complete a four-year Bachelor's degree programme in a school of pharmacy accredited by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), followed by a one-year Internship Programme which results in the award of Level 9 Master's degree.

Accredited degree programmes in pharmacy are offered by UCC CK703, Trinity College TR072 and the Royal College ofSurgeons RC005

[Scholarships are available for the RCSI course - details here].

These new programmes provide a greater level of practical learning in work place settings. 

Those who successfully complete year four of the programme will be awarded the B.Sc.(Pharm.) and may progress to a postgraduate fifth year which leads to the award of a M.Pharm.

The M.Pharm. is required for registration as a pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

Note: Students are subject to the postgraduate fees and costs  payable for the fifth year.

See: Pharmaceutical Society Ireland 

Last Updated: October, 2017


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Community/retail pharmacist - from: GradIreland
Go..Pharmacist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Pharmacist (hospital) - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
Address: 18 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 218 4000
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: Irish Pharmacy Union
Address: Butterfield House, Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Tel: (01) 493 6401
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: Health Service Executive (HSE)
Address: Dr Steevens' Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin, 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare
Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Sales, Retail & Purchasing

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