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Overview

Find out more about what a career as a pharmacist specialising in rheumatology looks like.

Most pharmacists practice in either community pharmacies or hospital settings, where they are responsible for the procurement and supply of prescribed medicines, sale of over the counter medicines and provision of relevant information and advice to support their safe and effective use.

Information

Qualifications

To become a qualified pharmacist, you need to do a Masters degree at university. You're taught and trained to understand the science behind pharmacy, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, how drugs are produced and manufactured, how drugs become licensed and how they come to market.

This is followed by one-year of pre-registration training, which can be done in primary care, community care or in a hospital. You will need to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council.

The skills you'll need to become a pharmacist include being accurate and methodical, good communication skills and a strong interest in science.

Pathway

As a newly qualified pharmacist in a hospital, you'll start in the NHS on band 6 and go on rotation around different areas to get a strong foundation in every discipline of medicine.

Over time you can choose to specialise in a particular area. Because of the increasing number of complex treatments and the ageing population with multiple illnesses, there's a growing number of pharmacists specialising in rheumatology and biologics.

With further training and study, you can gain more seniority. You might also move into management, being responsible for a team of staff and managing a budget. Consultant Rheumatology Pharmacists are also beginning to emerge.

Training opportunities

Registered pharmacists are required to keep their knowledge up to date with continuing professional development. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society runs training and events where pharmacists can discuss best practice and update skills.

Conferences such as BSR's annual conference and EULAR are also opportunities for the rheumatology community to come together.

A typical week

You'll run pharmacist outpatient clinics giving patient consultations, ensuring their medications help their quality of life. Between clinics you'll manage all medicine prescribing and all prescriptions for rheumatology patients.

Your role involves managing high-cost drugs, medicine information enquiries and disease assessments.

You'll attend multidisciplinary meetings with the rest of the rheumatology team to discuss cases and work collaboratively. Your role also includes educating and training wider staff on pharmacy issues.

Resources

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Rheumatology Pharmacists UK network

General Pharmaceutical Council

National Pharmacy Association