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News - 11 Aug 2014

Hospital Pre-registration Pharmacist Training

An interview with Aamer Safdar, author of Hospital Pre-registration Pharmacist Training

Aamer SafdarHospital Pre-Reg Pharmacist TrainingPharmaceutical Press: Thanks for chatting to us about your book which covers pretty much everything you need to know when planning for a pre-registration year in hospital. First off, what qualifies you to write this book and why did you decide to write it?

Aamer Safdar: I've been in hospital pharmacy for 20 years and have been doing pre-reg training for 15 years. I've seen over 250 pre-regs to date. There is no book of this kind on the market that discusses the experience of pre regs in hospital. Trainees often say "You have so many stories, you could write a book"; well this is what I have done.

Pharmaceutical Press: Why did you choose to work in hospital setting?

Aamer Safdar: During my pre-reg year, my career plan was to do hospital pre-reg then go and work in community but I got a job in hospital and stayed there ever since. Find out more about my career in "A hospital-based education pharmacist" (article in Pharmaceutical Journal).

Pharmaceutical Press: What has the reception been like since you published the book?

Aamer Safdar: Most students that I have spoken to have found the book really valuable - especially pre-regs and especially those who work in smaller hospitals because they realise they are not alone in their experiences.

Pharmaceutical Press: What would you say was the biggest challenge writing the book?

Aamer Safdar: Trying to capture the thoughts of the pre-regs at the time and being authentic while giving balanced and realistic views of their experiences - both positive and negative.

Pharmaceutical Press: What are your top tips for new pre-regs?

Aamer Safdar: My top three tips are:
  1. Work with your tutors, they are there to help you
  2. Learn from all experiences whether they are good or bad
  3. Don't forget to have fun!

Pharmaceutical Press: What should new pre-regs expect to feel on their first few days in a hospital setting?

Aamer Safdar: I would say:
  • Nervousness - you are in a new environment with new people
  • Anxiety - you are not quite sure what the year will involve
  • Enthusiasm - looking forward to working and getting paid!

Pharmaceutical Press: Can you tell me some of the challenges faced by pre-regs in hospital?

Aamer Safdar: There are a few challenges such as getting used to a full time job and the restrictions that go with it. You will also experience a different type of learning - there will be no lectures but plenty of patients and cases to challenge you instead. It's important to remember that however well you've done so far academically, your new role is a junior one within the team and so be prepared to adjust to that and work hard for your employer.

Pharmaceutical Press: How can a pre-reg really impress their tutor?

Aamer Safdar: Be honest with what you know and what you don't know. There is a lot you know from university but also a lot you are yet to learn about practice. Your tutor will be more impressed with you if you work together in managing your strengths and weaknesses. Your tutor is there to help you become the best person (and pharmacist!) you can be.

Pharmaceutical Press: What advice would you give to students wanting to work in hospital?

Aamer Safdar: The obvious place to start is by getting work experience. However this is not a requirement to get a pre-reg in hospital so don't let that put you off applying. We know that many students have jobs to subsidise living costs and as long as you can demonstrate transferable skills - you will be fine.

Pharmaceutical Press: Are there any societies that you recommend pre-regs to join?

Aamer Safdar: RPS obviously - that's a no-brainer, and BPSA.

Pharmaceutical Press: Finally, when you are not working as a pharmacist, what do you enjoy doing?

Aamer Safdar: I really like football and support Manchester United. I played football too but am now retired due to a dodgy knee. Other than that exercise regularly and do spinning and aerobic classes.

Buy your copy of Hospital Pre-registration Pharmacist Training here.

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