It’s that time of the year where those of you who have decided to embark upon a career in hospital pharmacy will have either submitted your application or will be applying the final tweaks. It is a nerve-wracking time, to say the least, and those of you sending off applications will be on tenterhooks until those replies arrive. However there are better ways to spend your time than developing RSI from clicking the refresh button.
Now that the applications have gone, preparation is the key. Last year, when I was in the same position that some of you are, I was determined to be ready for any questions thrown at me.
Don’t expect every interview to be the same. I had four interviews and they were all completely different. Two interviews had an integrated calculations test, one was highly based on clinical knowledge, one interview tested my knowledge on our governing body and the other was based around patients and what I knew about clinical governance.
I pre-emptively carried a little notebook around with me everywhere. I started off by brainstorming about what I should know about pharmacy, including:
Regardless of whether a question is directly asked, by applying these standards to situations you are demonstrating your understanding of how the pharmacy profession isn’t only a job, it’s a way of life.
I took note of the most prevalent issues within hospital pharmacy such as the role of accident and emergency pharmacists, medicines optimisation and implications of the seven-day service. I made notes on what these issues were, had they already been implicated and if not and how they would affect the future of pharmacy.
Don’t just look at the PJ and the C+D, watch the news and read papers. Keeping up to date with current health affairs shows potential employers that you understand how dynamic the pharmacy profession really is.
A question which is often gold-standard to interviewers is “why this hospital?” or “why this trust?” I often found myself reading hospital websites in the wee hours of the morning making sure I knew what wards and specialities were in the hospitals I chose. This gives the interviewers the impression that not only do you want to be a hospital pharmacist but that you have taken the time to look at and research what they take pride in as a secondary care environment.
Royal Victoria Infirmary, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust