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Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.
We asked Brian Howard from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:
This career involves working with people in a caring capacity. If you have no interest in helping people personally or educationally then this may be the wrong profession for you.
Empathy, patience and respect are important qualities for this job, in addition to be able to relate well to the person you are dealing with. As there is also a large amount of information to be handled in the job, good organisational, IT and time management skills are also quite important.
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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.
For GCSE I studied Maths, Additional Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography, English Language and Literature and German.
I do regret not continuing on with art, although at the time I wasn't sure I could spare the time to commit to an extra subject that wasn't really going to come in useful. I guess you just have to weigh up costs and benefits. I found it very helpful to have a good grasp of statistics and pure maths as these topics came up quite alot during the pharmacy degree.
If you are thinking of taking a degree in pharmacy make sure you look at the admission requirements in good time as they can be quite specific and I know the grades are increasing every year so you need to be sure you are capable of making the grades.
I have 9 GCSEs, 3 A-levels, a Masters in Pharmacy and am half way through a Masters in Clinical Pharmacy.
The degree is specific to the job!
I am currently studying for a Masters in Clinical Pharmacy. It is possible to undertake further training in specific ares e.g. psychiatry, respiratory and I may consider this if I find I develop a particular interest during my Masters. If I return to the NHS at some point I will probably do an independent prescribing course as this would open more doors for me in the future.