Finding Your Mentor: A Guide for Locum Pharmacists

Mentorship is a vital aspect of professional growth and development, playing a crucial role in the success of all pharmacists, including locum pharmacists. A mentor provides guidance, support, and advice to a mentee throughout their professional journey. In the field of pharmacy, mentors assist pharmacists in navigating the complexities of their work, from technical aspects of medication management to interpersonal skills required to interact with patients and healthcare professionals.

But how do you find a mentor, and what should you look for in a mentor? And once you’ve found a mentor, how do you get the most out of the mentoring experience? Let’s take a closer look.

Finding a Mentor

Finding a mentor can be a daunting task, especially for locum pharmacists who work in multiple locations. However, there are several avenues you can explore to find a mentor. One option is to reach out to professional organisations such as Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) or the Pharmacy Guild. These organisations may have mentorship programs or be able to connect you with potential mentors. 

Another option is to reach out to colleagues or managers at the various pharmacies where you work. These individuals may be able to provide guidance and support or connect you with other pharmacists who would make good mentors. Additionally, social media platforms such as LinkedIn can be an excellent way to reach out to someone who aligns with your goals and interests and can further help develop your skills.

What to Look for in a Mentor

When seeking a mentor, it’s important to look for someone who has experience and expertise in the areas where you need support. For example, if you need guidance on how to succeed in the world of IT in pharmacy or navigate locum pharmacy, you should look for a mentor who has experience in that area. It’s also essential to find a mentor who is a good communicator, patient, and willing to invest time and effort into the relationship. The mentor should be someone who is approachable and open to feedback, as this will facilitate a productive and supportive mentoring experience.

Getting the Most out of the Mentoring Experience

Once you’ve found a mentor, it’s important to establish clear expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship. This could include setting regular meetings, identifying specific areas for improvement, and establishing timelines for achieving goals. Communication is key to a successful mentoring relationship. Be open and honest about your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Be receptive to feedback and willing to act on the advice and guidance provided by your mentor. It’s also crucial to take ownership of your development. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities to learn and grow, and be willing to put in the effort required to achieve your goals.

Mentorship is a powerful tool for professional growth and development in the field of pharmacy. Don’t be afraid to seek out a mentor – it could be just what you need to take your career to the next level. Remember to look for someone with experience and expertise in the areas where you need support, and to establish clear expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship. And above all, be open, receptive, and proactive in your development – the sky’s the limit!

Thriving Outside Your Comfort Zone: A Guide to Growing as a Pharmacist through Challenging Experiences

As a locum pharmacist, it’s common to find yourself in unfamiliar territory, whether you’re working in a new environment, with unfamiliar colleagues, or dealing with new patients. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a challenging but rewarding experience that can help you grow both personally and professionally. In this article, we’ll explore how you can embrace challenging experiences and get the most out of them as a locum pharmacist.

Growing as a Pharmacist -Embrace the Challenge

The first step to getting the most out of a challenging experience is to embrace it. Rather than seeing it as a negative, try to see it as an opportunity for growth. Facing obstacles may not always be pleasant, but they can guide you in where to go next. Obstacles shift our perspective by equipping us to handle what is thrown our way.

Instead of viewing setbacks as roadblocks, choose to see them as opportunities for self-improvement. Leaning on your mentors during difficult times can also be beneficial in providing advice or a different outlook on the situation (see our article on mentorship for more information on the importance of mentors and finding a mentor).

Be Prepared

Before stepping into a challenging situation, it’s important to be prepared. This means researching and learning as much as possible about the new environment or situation you’ll be working in. You can ask other pharmacists who have worked in that particular pharmacy or area before, research the area or pharmacy branch online, or reach out to the person who hired you for more information.

Utilising the chat functionality in the Locumate app can be particularly useful in ensuring effective communication between you and the pharmacy. It will allow for an exchange of information to ensure that you are well-prepared before you start your shift. Visit the AppStore or Google Playstore to download Locumate.

Growing as a Pharmacist – You have to keep an open mind

When you step out of your comfort zone, it’s important to keep an open mind. You may encounter new ways of working or different perspectives from your new colleagues. Try to be open to these new experiences and ideas, and learn as much as you can from them. This can help you develop new skills and perspectives that you can bring back to your work as a pharmacist, professionally and personally.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a challenging experience, and you may make mistakes along the way. However, it’s important to learn from these mistakes and use them as opportunities for growth. Take the time to reflect on what went wrong and what you could do differently in the future. Reflecting with a mentor can also be beneficial. This can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future and become a better pharmacist overall.

Take Care of Yourself

Finally, taking care of yourself is important when stepping out of your comfort zone. Challenging experiences can be mentally and emotionally taxing, so it’s important to practise self-care. This can mean taking breaks when you need them, getting enough sleep, eating well, and doing activities that help you relax and recharge. If you require additional support, the Pharmacists’ Support Service is available all year round (every day from 8 am to 11 pm AEDT). The service provides a listening ear over the telephone to pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and students.

Professional pharmacist explaining prescription A Guide to Growing as a Pharmacist through Challenging Experiences

Embracing challenging experiences can be a rewarding experience for locum pharmacists. By embracing the challenge, being prepared, keeping an open mind, learning from your mistakes, and taking care of yourself, you can get the most out of these experiences and grow both personally and professionally. So, the next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, take a deep breath and see it as an opportunity for growth.

3 Tips for How You Can Best Equip Yourself For The Flu Season This Winter

Winter is coming, and so is the flu season. As pharmacists, we know the importance of being prepared for the upcoming flu season. This year, the flu season coincides with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it more critical than ever to take proactive measures to protect your patients and yourself. So, let’s dive into some helpful tips on how to best equip yourself for the cold and flu season this winter!

Stay Up-to-Date on Flu Season Information

Staying informed is the first step in preparing for the flu season. As a pharmacist, it is essential to keep an eye on the flu season start date, which typically runs from May to September. Monitor the severity of the flu by keeping up-to-date with news articles and listening to patients’ experiences. The Australian Government Department of Health provides regular updates on flu activity across the country, including vaccine effectiveness rates. So, make sure to check their website regularly.

As pharmacists, it is also essential to familiarize yourselves with the latest flu vaccine recommendations, including dosage and administration guidelines. Keep track of any changes in vaccine formulations or recommendations and inform your patients accordingly. You can find this information on the ATAGI website.

3 Tips for How You Pretty mature pharmacist giving you best medication Can Best Equip Yourself For The Flu Season This Winter

Encourage Vaccination

Vaccination is the best defence against the flu, and pharmacists play a vital role in increasing vaccination rates. In Australia, pharmacists can administer flu vaccines, making it easier for patients to get vaccinated. Pharmacists can also educate patients on the importance of getting vaccinated and answer any questions they may have.

In addition to flu vaccines, pharmacists can also encourage patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As COVID-19 is still prevalent, getting vaccinated is crucial to protect against the virus and its variants. Inform your patients about the availability and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to get vaccinated or up-to-date with vaccinations as soon as possible. In fact, if a patient comes in for a covid booster, check if they would like to get their annual flu vaccine at the same time!

Get Qualified to Administer Vaccines

To administer vaccines, pharmacists must have the proper qualifications. In Australia, pharmacists can obtain certification to administer vaccines through various programs, including the Immunisation Training Program for Pharmacists offered by the Australian Pharmacy Council. This program provides pharmacists with the training and knowledge necessary to safely and effectively administer vaccines and the appropriate accreditation.

By obtaining certification to administer vaccines, pharmacists can expand their role in patient care and improve patient outcomes. Pharmacists who can administer vaccines can provide a valuable service to their patients and the community by increasing vaccination rates and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. As a locum working within the community, having certification to administer vaccines is a valuable skill that many pharmacies will appreciate. Be sure to update your Locumate profile to include this skill, so prospective owners are aware.

Preparing for the flu season is critical for healthcare professionals, especially pharmacists in Australia. Staying informed, encouraging vaccination, and getting qualified to administer vaccines can help pharmacists better equip themselves for the upcoming flu season. By taking these steps, pharmacists can help protect their patients and communities from the flu and other infectious diseases while expanding their role in patient care. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get ready to fight the flu and COVID-19 this winter!