Meet my job

Glamour (South Africa) - - Work/Smart Leaps -

Ever won­dered what be­ing a phar­ma­cist en­tails? Ni­cole Jou­bert, 26, shares her pre­scrip­tion.

How I got my job Medicine and heal­ing al­ways fas­ci­nated me, but stu­dent num­bers for phar­ma­col­ogy are limited and I had to work re­ally hard on maths and sci­ence at school to get into North-west Univer­sity. Af­ter my de­gree, I did a com­pul­sory one-year phar­macy in­tern­ship, fol­lowed by a year of com­mu­nity ser­vice at Joburg’s Chris Hani Barag­wanath Hospi­tal. Af­ter that, I moved to Cape Town and got a job with Dis-chem.

What I do Many peo­ple think all we do is count pills and stick la­bels on bot­tles, but there’s much more to the job than that! You need good peo­ple skills, an abil­ity to work well un­der pres­sure and

a team-player approach. The most cru­cial part of the job is en­sur­ing that med­i­ca­tion is cor­rectly pre­scribed, which may in­volve check­ing with the doc­tor, as we ad­vise pa­tients on the dosage, side-ef­fects, generic equiv­a­lents and med­i­cal aid cover.

The hard­est part of my job It can be chal­leng­ing to keep cus­tomers calm if there are med­i­cal aid, pre­scrip­tion or stock prob­lems, so my aim is to be as help­ful and clear as pos­si­ble and to re­solve is­sues to­gether. The hours are long, of­ten in­clud­ing pub­lic hol­i­days and week­ends. And the job is pres­sured and de­mand­ing emo­tion­ally and men­tally, so I’ve learnt to take a mo­ment to breathe and I use my days off (which are usu­ally dur­ing the week), to recharge and re­lax.

What I’ve learnt Hav­ing to han­dle things when we’re un­der pres­sure has taught me to stay fo­cused on one task at a time and to finish what I’ve started thor­oughly be­fore mov­ing to the next one.

What I re­ally love about my job Help­ing oth­ers has mo­ti­vated me since child­hood – I was the girl who shared her school lunch and gave ex­tra lessons to other learn­ers! Now, as an adult, I love be­ing able to make a dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives, even if it’s in a small way. I also en­joy keep­ing up with the lat­est med­i­cal de­vel­op­ments. I be­lieve we should never stop learn­ing, and it’s great to dis­cover im­prove­ments that will make things eas­ier for our pa­tients.

What to know about get­ting into phar­ma­col­ogy I spent some time shad­ow­ing a few phar­ma­cists be­fore de­cid­ing that this was what I wanted to study at univer­sity, and I rec­om­mend go­ing this route, as only five in­sti­tu­tions of­fer phar­ma­col­ogy, mak­ing it highly com­pet­i­tive. The job re­quires an abil­ity to get on with peo­ple from all walks of life. And it goes with­out say­ing that you should be pas­sion­ate about health­care and medicine.

In­ter­ested in phar­ma­col­ogy? Check out these univer­si­ties. North-west Univer­sity nwu.ac.za Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape uwc.ac.za Rhodes Univer­sity ru.ac.za Wits Univer­sity wits.ac.za Se­fako Mak­gatho Health Sciences Univer­sity smu.ac.za

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