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Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Locum Pharmacist in Ireland

Are you a pharmacist seeking flexibility in your career? Are you interested in exploring different pharmacy settings and developing your professional skills? If so, becoming a locum pharmacist in Ireland might be the perfect path for you. And what better guide on that path can you want than one of the best locum agencies in Ireland & the UK? In this article, we walk you through the ins and outs of being a locum pharmacist in Ireland in 2023.

What is a Locum Pharmacist?

A locum pharmacist is a qualified pharmacist who temporarily fills in for other pharmacists when they are unavailable.

As with any role, a pharmacist may find themself needing to take some time off now and again, whether it’s due to vacation time, sick leave or maternity leave. By law, pharmacies in Ireland are not permitted to open without a qualified pharmacist on the premises. For that reason, they need a substitute to cover these gaps.

Locum pharmacists are essentially freelance professionals who provide vital pharmacy services when the regular pharmacist is unavailable. Their roles can vary from covering shifts at community pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.

Locum jobs can be short-term with varied working hours and working places, but they can also be long-term (to cover maternity or sick leave in a specific pharmacy, for example). 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.

Locum pharmacist in Ireland showing medication to a customer

Locuming opens up many doors for pharmacists in Ireland.

5 Benefits That You Can Enjoy as a Locum Pharmacist in Ireland

There are countless reasons why it could be beneficial to step away from your regular full-time employment and instead take up locuming. Here are the top five reasons why becoming a locum pharmacist can improve your quality of life:

#1: Flexibility & Control

Never miss an event again! Locum pharmacists are completely in control of their own schedules and get to enjoy a high degree of flexibility in their work. That is what makes pharmacy locum jobs the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t like to be tied to one specific job or location.

Choose when and where you want to work, creating your own work patterns:

  • Enjoy time off during the holidays
  • Workaround appointments
  • Take time to continue your studies
  • Get weekends off

Basically, you get to create the ideal work-life balance that works for you!

#2: Higher Earnings

Due to the necessity of their position, locum pharmacists often earn more than their full-time counterparts thanks to higher hourly rates and the potential for overtime pay.

Currently, our team is seeing rates average at €45 to €60 per hour, depending on location and day of the week, with these figures skyrocketing into the hundreds during busier seasons such as Christmas.

#3: Fast-paced Experience & Skills Development

Working in various settings exposes you to different challenges, environments, and people, and this could all be within just one week! Locuming allows you to experience different types of management styles used in different pharmacies. 

This type of experience can be extremely useful in making future career choices or 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.

#4: Reduced Management

Working as a locum pharmacist allows you to focus on providing core services only. That means that you don't have to worry too much about the pharmacy’s ongoing management and end-of-month paperwork. Compared to a full-time pharmacist, this not only saves you time and energy but it's a huge burden off your shoulders.

Of course, while you don't have these responsibilities, you will occasionally find yourself as the most senior or experienced member of staff. You will need to lead by example in such situations, which again leads us back to valuable experience.

#5: Networking Opportunities

Working in different pharmacies in various parts of the country means that you will meet a lot of new people. Working alongside numerous healthcare professionals will allow you to expand your network of professional connections as well as casual acquaintances!

Pharmacist stocking shelves in the pharmacy

Pharmacists can find thousands of locum shifts through Clarity Locums

How to Establish Yourself as a Reputable Locum Pharmacist

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:

  • Be friendly, professional, proactive and a team player.
  • Build a good reputation.
  • Know more than one dispensing system.
  • Keep your diary organised to make sure you don’t apply for more than one role at the same time.
  • If you are taking some time off, let us know in advance about the days you’re not available for work.

Working as a Pharmacist in Ireland

Before you can become a locum pharmacist in Ireland, you need to meet certain requirements.

Firstly, you must be registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI). Depending on where you received your qualification, there may be different routes of registration that apply to you. You can find more information here.

You will also need to read up on visa requirements. If you qualify outside of the EU or UK, you will need to obtain a visa. Learn more about the visa requirements here.

As part of the registration process, you will need to undergo Garda Vetting, which is a background check to ensure you have no criminal convictions that would disqualify you from practising.

Pharmacists are also required to engage in ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain their registration. This involves completing a certain number of hours of professional development each year.

*Those registered with Clarity Locums gain access to our CPD Hub, which is accessible through your locum account.

100+ Locum Pharmacy Shifts on Your Phone

Once you've made the decision to locum as a pharmacist in Ireland or the UK, the first step is to register with Clarity Locums.

Register Now

To get started, create an account on the Clarity Locums website or app and complete your profile. You will need your PSI number to complete this step.

Upload your mandatory documents, and get the all-clear from our team – then you’re ready to browse and apply for shifts! 

Pharmacists who decide to register with Clarity Locums can enjoy a range of benefits and reward programmes, including:

*Terms & conditions apply.


Take the Leap With Clarity Locums

Becoming a locum pharmacist in Ireland can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice. With the flexibility to choose your schedule and work in diverse settings, you'll have the opportunity to grow as a professional and make a significant impact on the healthcare system.

So what are you waiting for? Start your locum pharmacy journey today with Clarity Locums! Sign up or contact our team for more information.

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Posted on 04 October 2023 by Hannah Phipps
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Hannah Phipps

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