For those who are reading from Europe where such a role does not exist, a locum pharmacist is a freelance or temporary pharmacist, registered with their country’s Pharmaceutical society (as is any other pharmacist working in community pharmacy) who provides services to different pharmacies by working shifts when agreed.
Between the UK and Ireland, there are over 14,000 retail pharmacies with each requiring 2 or 3 pharmacists to cover the working hours each week. Thus, many pharmacies choose to hire locum pharmacists to cover gaps in their roster’s, staff holidays, sick leave or maternity leave. Furthermore, additional demands around the administration of vaccinations or end of month claims can also result in a spike in demand for locums.
Locum roles can be short-term with varied working hours and working places, but also can be long-term, for example to cover maternity or sick leave in a specific pharmacy. Longer term bookings are often known as “block bookings” or “Stay aways” as often the pharmacist will travel and stay locally for the duration of the assignment. As you can imagine, the opportunities are numerous and varied.
Below you can find the great reasons why you should consider locuming:
Being a locum gives you control over your career. Locums decide what type of pharmacy you want to work in. Rates and working hours are agreed before you start the work in the pharmacy. This allows you to choose the pharmacies that suit you best and plan your work in advance around other commitments.
Locuming is the perfect career choice for someone who doesn't like to be tied to a specific job or location. Locum pharmacists have the opportunity to travel to whatever location they want as almost every town in the UK and Ireland has more than one pharmacy located in it.
As a locum, you can choose when and where you want to work. Work patterns can vary as much as you want. You do day or night shifts, part time shifts, week shifts, weekends shifts, whenever you are up to.
That means you can work as much as you want and take as many holidays as you wish!
On the other hand, locuming allows you to adapt your work to your family life, scheduled appointments, even other career opportunities. If you are planning to start a family or return to full-time education to complete a masters or PhD, locuming will give you the freedom to adapt to changes and be there for your family when you need.
Working as a locum means that, even in a single week, you can work in a range of different locations, be exposed to different environments and socio-economic groups. Another aspect you will notice is the different types of management styles used in different pharmacies. Such experience can be extremely useful in making future career choices if you decide to take on a full time job at a later stage. It will also allow you to develop key interpersonal and professional judgement skills, enabling you to become a more rounded and ultimately a better pharmacist.
When working as a locum, you will be able to focus on providing core services without having to worry unduly much about the pharmacy’s ongoing management and end of month paperwork, compared to a fullt-ime pharmacist.
It must be remembered that while you do not have these responsibilities, occasionally you will find yourself as the most senior or experienced member of staff and you will need to lead by example in such situations.
Working in different pharmacies in different parts of the country also means that you will meet a lot of people, develop more professional connections which will lead to a great network.
Working as a locum also has its challenges. Clarity Locums has over a decade’s experience within the locum market as a leading locum agency and we are here to help you in every way we can.
Below, we share some tips that will help you succeed as a locum pharmacist:
If you're interested and would like to learn more about locum roles, get in touch with us today. Our recruitment consultants will be happy to assist you in finding what you are looking for.