Ways to make the most of a rotational pharmacy career

 Hospital pharmacists who choose to stay in rotational posts gain all kinds of skills for their future careers. Read on to find out how

Choosing to remain in a rotational post for several years can allow clinical pharmacists to continue learning about different areas of specialist practice without committing to a specific career path.

For anyone still weighing up their options, this provides a real opportunity to discover where your clinical interests lie and also provides a solid foundation of clinical knowledge and skills — not to mention the opportunity to work with specialist pharmacy colleagues and in multidisciplinary teams.

Consider the rewards

Each specialism will usually require a different knowledge base; adapting to the new environment and developing additional skills can prove to be challenging but, ultimately, is highly rewarding. Different directorates will have different priorities and objectives. Pharmacy roles will also vary. So each rotation provides a new opportunity to understand the various clinical and organisational pressures.

The gold standard of practice in one clinical area might not be applicable to another, and such broad exposure allows pharmacists to develop flexibility and to apply skills developed within one rotation to the next.

Recognise the drawbacks

Most positions have rotations ranging from six to 12 months, with no guarantee that you will have the opportunity to do your preferred choices or rotate in a specific order.

It is highly likely that you will have to rotate through areas that are not so high on your list; yet service demands mean that these positions must be filled. It is important to manage your expectations on this front.
A realistic and mature approach is necessary when working within a rotational role and it would be sensible to ascertain how rotations are allocated before accepting such a position.

Being allocated a rotation that is not one of your choices can be disappointing (and it can feel like a long time to be working within an area that does not hold your interest). It is important in such a situation to focus on the positives and what you can do to get the most out of the rotation. There are always skills and knowledge that can be developed.

Maximise your rotation

Before applying for rotations draw up a personal development plan for your career over the next few years and think about which rotations would help you to complete the goals within this. It would be a good idea to discuss your choices with your mentor or tutor and ask his or her advice as to whether your choices are realistic and appropriate to your objectives and experience. Think about:

• How rotations are allocated
• Which areas interest you most
• What you would hope to get out of each experience

Within the first few weeks, arrange a meeting with the lead pharmacist to discuss what is expected of you and to get a clear picture of what your role will be within the rotation.

Make a list of objectives to achieve during the rotation and regularly review your progress to ensure you maintain the momentum to complete them within the rotation period.

Ensure any objectives you set are “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) and cover both clinical and non-clinical growth.

This piece is abridged from an article by Lucy Hedley, MRPharmS, first published in Clinical Pharmacist (2011;3:259).

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2013;():DOI:10.1211/PJ.2013.11118117

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