A hospital pharmacist needs:
- an interest in biology, physiology and pharmacology
- excellent communication skills to liaise with other professionals and provide clear information to patients
- logic and problem-solving skills
- an interest in the health and wellbeing of people
- discretion and respect for patient confidentiality
- the ability to lead and train others.
Hospital pharmacists may work in an outpatient hospital dispensary, or in a central dispensary with medical and nursing staff providing medications for inpatients in hospitals. They often prepare medications for injections and intravenous (IV) therapy, and monitor the dispensing of clinical trial medications. They may be required to wear protective clothing.
Hospital pharmacists may be required to do shift work including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular.
On average, hospital pharmacists can expect to earn between $1,500 and $1,749 per week ($78,000 and $$90,999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.
Hospital pharmacists often use laboratory equipment, a mortar and pestle, and measuring equipment to combine and prepare medicines. They use computers to consult pharmaceutical manuals, and may have to wear sterile protective clothing including gloves, coats, masks and goggles while preparing medicines. They may work with a range of pharmaceutical and medicinal drugs in tablet, liquid, injection, inhaler or ointment form.
To become a hospital pharmacist, you need to study a degree in pharmacy at university. Alternatively, you can study a bachelor degree in a related field, followed by a postgraduate qualification in pharmacy.
Curtin University offers a four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy. This is the only undergraduate degree specialising in pharmacy in Western Australia. Curtin University and the University of Western Australia both offer a two-year Master of Pharmacy.
Contact the universities you are interested in for more information. Learn more about your study options.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.