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Pharmacist skills and qualities that employers look for

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​The role of a pharmacist is incredibly varied and requires you to have many different skills and qualities. If you’re thinking about progressing your career and are looking for your next permanent role or temporary work opportunity, it’s valuable to know what employers are looking for.

Here at Maxxima, we look for pharmacists with a certain set of skills and qualities. Those that are the most important to us include:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Organisational skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team

  • Clinical reasoning skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Ability to work under pressure

  • Ability to prioritise

  • Attention to detail

  • Ability to multitask

This article has expanded on these skills and qualities and why they are so important for a pharmacist.

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1. Communication and interpersonal skills

As a pharmacist, you interact with a wide range of patients, and your work also involves communicating with other medical professionals at various levels of seniority.

Often, you’ll have to explain to patients how their medication should be taken, why particular medications are being prescribed, possible side effects and the benefits they can expect. In certain settings, you’ll also have to communicate critical information to patients, caregivers, and family members, helping them to understand their health better and explaining the decisions being made about treatment.

As such, pharmacists must be good communicators and have strong people skills.

2. Organisational skills

Organisation is key in pharmacy, as you work with many patients requiring different medications. It’s imperative that you can plan your time efficiently to provide the highest level of support to every patient you see.

You’ll also need to be able to maintain online records effectively and keep your working environment well organised too. In pharmacy, mistakes can severely impact patient safety, so meticulousness is crucial. You need to be able to stay on top of your correspondence, too, as you communicate with many professionals and patients over the phone and email.

3. Ability to work as part of a team

It’s also essential that you have excellent teamwork skills. You must be able to work alongside pharmacy managers, assistants, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare scientists as you deliver quality care to patients.

You need to be able to follow instructions and recommendations from others and give direction and advice. It’s important to be attuned to the needs of your colleagues and anticipate any support they may require, providing it in a timely fashion.

4. Clinical reasoning skills

Applying clinical reasoning is fundamental to decision-making in your work as a pharmacist. With either direct or indirect patient observation forming part of a pharmacist’s role, you need to be able to weigh up the evidence and provide advice based on individual patient health.

As you pass on medication information and suggest lifestyle changes that can influence patient outcomes, it is important that you can carry out informed decision-making, as you may not always have much time to consider this information.

5. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving is another sought-after pharmacist skill for a variety of reasons. As you support a range of patients of various demographics with an array of health conditions, challenges and needs, you need to be able to identify the most effective solution for each person.

You should also be able to take appropriate action when unexpected issues arise, whether they relate to customers, patients, staff members, managers, external suppliers, or technological difficulties.

6. Ability to work under pressure

Being able to deal with stressful situations will take you a long way as a pharmacist. You always need to remain calm and in control, mainly if dealing with sudden changes to workloads or tight deadlines. This will help patients to feel safe and supported while inspiring your colleagues to maintain a level-headed, capable attitude.

Bring able to listen to patients and keep a professional, empathetic attitude is also key, as well as utilising your problem-solving abilities quickly.

7. Ability to prioritise

Another top pharmacist skill is prioritisation. This means you’ll be versatile and able to adapt to changing circumstances and workloads. When something urgent comes up, you can make a call on what is moved down the list of importance.

8. Attention to detail

Pharmacists have to exercise attention to detail to ensure patient safety.

When dealing with medication, patient records, and prescriptions, everything must be correct. There’s no room for error in pharmaceutical work, so it’s critical that you're able to maintain accuracy by being always precise and thorough.

9. Ability to multitask

Multitasking is another valuable pharmacist skill because of the busy working environment and the varied duties carried out in a typical day.

At any one time, you could be required to interact with patients on the phone or in person, communicate with your immediate team, speak to other healthcare workers outside of your workplace, and continue managing your daily workload.

Throughout it all, you need to maintain total accuracy in your work.

Pharmacist job opportunities at Maxxima

At Maxxima, we have been connecting pharmacists with great jobs at leading healthcare organisations for more than 20 years. We’re the preferred and sole supplier to more than 36 NHS trusts and private healthcare organisations, meaning that we can bring you exclusive, rewarding opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.

Browse through our wide range of pharmacist jobs.

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