Seriously, if you add the ability to prescribe to your skillset, you’re untouchable.
Faheem Ahmed, award-winning pharmacist prescriber
Oh yes. A topic I love talking about and writing about. At this point, you may be wondering what ‘topic’ am I on about now? Well, the subject is; the opportunities available if you can prescribe!
The fun stuff
Gaining a prescribing qualification is not the fun part. It consists of academic study, which involves exams, tests, essays, and other bits that you may feel are not relevant. However, the fun stuff starts after you gain your qualification on the premise that you can use it. So let us get into the opportunities.
I didn’t always believe this, but I now do think pharmacists can transform into super pharmacists.
Imagine a pharmacist upgrading to a new level and gaining additional skills and strengths similar to a Pokemon transformation or a Dragon Ball Z character. Well, your prescribing qualification can do the same for you if you want it to.
Let’s break down each role and see what is possible after you gain your qualification.
Community pharmacist before
Dispensing. Accuracy checking. OTC advise. Oh, wait, I missed a task, and that was; more dispensing. Don’t you agree that the tasks above are precisely what you do regularly in your average community pharmacy?
Super community pharmacist
Diagnosing, managing, and treating disease. That’s right. Once you gain your qualification and are competent within your scope of practice, you could manage your own cohort of patients, which is more challenging, rewarding, and satisfying and has the potential to generate income.
If you’re like most of us, then the last sentence sounds very appealing; and it is. Remember that there is a shortage of doctors, and people struggle with getting access to quality healthcare and advice, so with your qualification, you could solve that problem and be rewarded financially if you wanted to. I’ll talk more about the private services later.
GP practice pharmacist
Medication discharge summaries. Medication reviews. Chasing up out-of-stock alternatives and plenty more admin work. So that was my assessment during my time in general practice, and it wasn’t because I was forced to do it; it was because my skill set at the time was limited, so that’s what I did.
Super GP practice pharmacist
Once I gained my prescribing qualification and could use it, oh boy, did my demand increase. Firstly, my salary went up because I could command a higher fee now that I was giving more value, and I also had my own consulting room with my own patient list, which was so rewarding.
As you can see, even in general practice, this skill set opens up doors and presents opportunities if you have the proper training.
The reality is the prescribing skill set allows you to do so much more within your scope. For example, you could; (1) set up your own aesthetics clinic without the need for someone to write your prescriptions; (2) set up your own online clinic without any risk; (3) locum for out of hours for higher rates; (4) set up a private clinic where you offer a range of services from blood testing, travel vaccinations, covid-19 testing, ear syringing, moles and skin tag removals and plenty more.
All the above sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s about to get better; just continue reading.
Too good to be true
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you are not able to do all the activities I mentioned above. Well, do not fear because one thing is for sure: you will be ready for the future and in sync with the vision of the NHS. So both ways, it’s a win-win situation for you. But what about those who don’t see value in gaining a prescribing qualification?
Let’s find out.
The ones that don’t care
What I have suggested above is not for everyone, and it’s not possible to please everyone. However, what is also true is that not everyone can be persuaded no matter what evidence or rationale is presented.
So if you are not one for ‘turning’ that I hate to break it to you, you won’t be around in 5-10 years. But, seriously, if you do not develop yourself and capitalize on the opportunities now, then it will be too late, so if you’re looking for an early reason to retire, well, I just gave you one.