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Your First Locum Pharmacist Shift: How to succeed!


Embarking on your first locum pharmacist shift can be a daunting prospect. At Clarity Locums, we understand the importance of your first shift under your belt and getting your career as a locum pharmacist off to the best possible start! Our comprehensive guide for beginner locum pharmacists equips you with the essential tips and strategies to navigate your first locum shift with confidence and professionalism.

Understanding the Role

Before jumping into the finer details of your first locum pharmacist shift, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of the role. As a locum pharmacist, you step into various pharmacy settings, filling in for permanent staff during their absence. This role demands adaptability, excellent communication skills, and a solid understanding of both the legislation and the various computer systems used in each pharmacy.

Preparation is Key

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Pharmacy

At the start of your shift, make sure to thoroughly check the key operational aspects pharmacy where you'll be working. Familiarize yourself with the basic layout of the dispensary, their methadone dispensing process, order cut-off times, and the controlled drug safe. Proactively checking these items minimizes potential issues later in the day, perhaps if an issue pops up when the technician is on break or is not contactable.

2.Review SOP’s

Each pharmacy operates under a specific set of SOP’s. Depending on the client, they may supply these in advance of the shift, others may leave you to refer to a hard copy in the pharmacy when required during your shift.

3. Arrive Early and Organised

Punctuality sets the tone for your locum shift. Arrive early to your shift, allowing ample time for to familiarise yourself with the dispensary and address any initial queries. By giving yourself these extra five to ten minutes you ensure you do not arrive to the pharmacy panicked and rushed, allowing you to take the initiative right from the start.

4. Communicate Effectively

Clear communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Establish open lines of communication with fellow staff members, ensuring seamless collaboration throughout your shift. Prioritise patient communication, addressing their concerns with empathy and clarity.

5. Prioritise Patient Safety

The safety of patients should always remain paramount. Adhere rigorously to prescription-checking protocols, double-checking prescriptions for accuracy and verifying patient information. Stay vigilant for potential drug interactions or contraindications, advocating for patient well-being at all times.

6. Handling Stressful Situations

In the fast-paced environment of a busy community pharmacy, encountering stressful situations is inevitable. Develop coping mechanisms to navigate these challenges effectively. Utilize time and stress management strategies, and seek support from colleagues when needed.


Your first locum pharmacist shift is a significant milestone in your career as a pharmacist. By adopting a proactive mindset, prioritizing patient safety, and focusing on effective communication, you can navigate this experience with confidence and professionalism. At Clarity Locums, we place hundreds of locum pharmacists every day in shifts all over Ireland, so if your thinking about starting your locum pharmacist career then email us at [email protected]

Posted on 05 April 2024 by Anthony O'Neill MPSI
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Anthony O'Neill MPSI

[email protected]

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