The core skills required to become a pharmacist are similar to the many scientific roles found in UK Healthcare and include:

  • Numerate and scientific nature – Pharmacy is a science subject which focuses on chemistry in a large way. Good problem solving skills are also natural to scientific or mathematical individuals
  • Good communication abilities – the role requires clear communication skills to explain treatments to patients as well as liaise and co-ordinate treatment with other healthcare professionals. Also frequently requires the management of other staff in both community and hospital pharmacy jobs
  • Attention to Detail – Dispensing the right medicines in the right dosage can be a ‘life and death’ activity. Mistakes really could be fatal
  • Organisation – Pharmacies, at busy times, can be extremely hectic. Consequently a pharmacist needs to be highly organised not only to meet the demands of the role but also to avoid mistakes being made along the way
  • Interpersonal skills – Patients from all backgrounds can often find doctors intimidating, and may not ask the questions they need to know about their medication. As a result it’s vital that the pharmacist is approachable to all and indeed recognises when a patient may extra help and advice to understand their treatment
  • Adaptability – Medicines are changing and developing all the time. The modern pharmacist needs to constantly keep updated on changes in the licenses (uses) or medicines as well as learning about newly launched medicines
  • Commercial skills – community pharmacy may require the pharmacist to set up buying arrangements with suppliers, the results of which will determine the profitability of the business. Community pharmacists who own their businesses are entrepreneurs who live or die by profits.
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