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7 Common Locum Pharmacist Mistakes to Avoid

So, you’ve done the hard work and have officially qualified as a pharmacist!

While locum work offers flexibility and diverse experiences, it comes with its own set of challenges. To excel as a locum pharmacist, you must be vigilant and avoid common mistakes that can impact your career and patient care. In this blog post, we'll discuss seven common locum pharmacist mistakes you should steer clear of.

1. Not Paying Attention to Travel Details

Locuming offers you the opportunity to work in different pharmacies, making it a very flexible and easy-going experience. One of the most common mistakes locum pharmacists make is not thoroughly considering the travel details of their shift. It's essential to ensure that you can get to your shift location reliably and on time.

Booking a shift in a remote area without considering transportation options can lead to unnecessary stress and potential delays. Always plan your travel in advance, taking into account factors like traffic and public transportation schedules.

Top Tip: You can use the map feature integrated into the Clarity Locums app to see the precise location of the pharmacy. If you do find yourself running late, always let us know by using the ‘Running Late’ feature on the app!

Running Late Feature of the Clarity Locums App

You can notify us through the Clarity Locums app

2. Not Having the Correct Skills or Knowledge

Every pharmacy may have different dispensary systems and workflows. Failing to familiarise yourself with these systems before your shift can lead to costly errors and delays. It's crucial to pay attention to which system is used in the pharmacy you’re booking by checking the shift details section on the Clarity Locums app.

We understand the need to keep up with these systems, and how they can impact your work. We’re currently hosting a number of Touchstore training sessions in our Dublin offices. For more information, you can view our Touchstore training guidelines.

3. Making Dispensing Errors

Dispensing mistakes are by far the most significant concern within a pharmacy, whether it has to do with the medicine itself or the patient receiving the medicine.

As a locum pharmacist, it’s a good idea to develop a systematic approach to prescription verification:

  • Use a checklist when verifying fills and refills;
  • Always double-check patient names and dates of birth to make sure you’re tending to the right patient.
  • When verifying medications in vials, inspect the contents to ensure no loose pills have accidentally been mixed in, as this can sometimes happen when vials are running low. Even if you didn't fill the vial, you are responsible for verifying it!

4. Not Looking After Your Mental and Physical Health

The demanding nature of locum pharmacy work can sometimes lead to neglecting your own well-being. Not taking breaks, neglecting exercise, and skipping meals can take a toll on your physical and mental health. You may also be tempted by the attractive rates that locum work pays and book yourself in for more shifts than you can handle.

Prioritise self-care by ensuring you get enough rest between shifts, have regular meal breaks and stay hydrated. Your well-being directly impacts your ability to provide excellent patient care.

Pharmacist at work

Take care of yourself while working locum shifts to minimise the risk of making common locum pharmacist mistakes.

5. Not Staying Informed

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is crucial for locum pharmacists to stay up-to-date with industry advancements and best practices and is a requirement for practising pharmacists in Ireland under the Pharmacy Act 2007.

Neglecting your professional development can lead to outdated knowledge and skills. Attend seminars, workshops, and training sessions to enhance your expertise and stay informed about the latest pharmaceutical technologies and healthcare trends.

By registering with Clarity Locums, you can access a range of CPD articles from their account in the ‘CPD Hub’ section of the app or website.

6. Not Having Malpractice Insurance

In Ireland, locum pharmacists are typically covered by the pharmacy's professional indemnity policy.

However, in the UK, locum pharmacists need to have their own indemnity insurance before they can start to practice. This cover needs to be appropriate to the nature and extent of the risks involved in your practice so that enough compensation will be paid if a successful claim is made against you. 

Failing to have the necessary malpractice insurance can leave you vulnerable in case of legal disputes or claims.

7. Having a Negative Attitude

Finally, a negative attitude can quickly destroy your reputation as a locum pharmacist. Patients and coworkers appreciate professionals who are adaptable, positive, and willing to collaborate.

The last of the most common locum pharmacist mistakes is resisting change or refusing to adapt to the existing team dynamics. This can create unnecessary tension and hinder the quality of patient care. 

Maintaining a positive and flexible attitude will help you excel in your locum assignments, as well as helping you grow your professional network.

Your First Locum Pharmacist Shift

If you'd like more tips on how to have a great first shift as a locum pharmacist, check out our blog post below! We talk you through some ways to make sure your career starts off on the right foot.

Small Steps for a Great First Shift as Locum Pharmacist

Ready to Get Started?

If you think it's time to work your first locum pharmacy shift, what are you waiting for?! Join the best locum agency in Ireland today and gain access to thousands of shifts around the UK and Ireland. Download our app below.

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Posted on 06 October 2023
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