It is mandatory that every community pharmacy at every point in time must have a seating Pharmacist. Most community pharmacies at least operate within the range of 14 – 24 hours. Consequently, the superintendent pharmacist may not be able to seat for this length of hours. Therefore, there is need for another pharmacist – the locum pharmacist to step in and help manage the pharmacy.
Who is a Locum pharmacist?
Locum simply means a person who stands in temporarily for someone else of the same profession, especially a cleric or doctor.1 Therefore, a locum pharmacist is a pharmacist that is on a contractual agreement to stand for another pharmacist for an agreed period of time.
In Nigeria, it is the commonest way of starting the journey of professionalism prior to internship or after internship. In addition, it is a very lucrative and flexible type of job that can allow you work in so many Pharmacies at the same time. However, The job requires commitment and its very stressful.
The job description is same as that of a every retail pharmacist which includes;
- Offering advice to patients on their disease condition, the symptoms, the pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to managing the condition.
- Pharmacovigilance; Discovering and reporting Drug Therapy Problems to the appropriate bodies.
- Processing prescription and dispensing medication
- Drug evaluation and monitoring of medication outcome.
- Compounding and extemporaneous preparations.
- Inventory and supply chain management.
However, fresh graduates who are still to complete their internship program will require supervision while carrying out these functions.
Is locum worth the stress?
Yes, Its an avenue for further learning and gathering of experience especially young Pharmacists that are new to the profession. Pharmacists that tend to do locum first before going into hospital pharmacy or any other niche of pharmacy profession tend to be exposed more because it involves a pure clinical approach of meeting the patients and learning how to make clinical judgments.
Locum is a flexible job that can allow you to work in so many places at the same time. This variety in working in so many places gives a wide range of exposure to different types of practice and methods of managing patients. More so, you will meet so many colleagues in the profession and learn from many too.
Finally, locum pharmacy is profitable because it gives you so many options and avenues of earning money.
However, the cons of this type of job is that it is so demanding; it can take your time and can be stressful as well. Therefore, if you must be a locum pharmacist, you must know how to manage stress. Secondly, constantly moving from one pharmacy to another will demand that you always try to adjust in new environments and different working conditions.
Locum Pharmacist pay in Nigeria
The locum pharmacy in Nigeria is seen as an adjunct practice and therefore, the pay is not so lucrative. The pay however is influenced by two factors;
- Level of experience of the locum Pharmacist
It is a common practice for the Managing Director or the Superintendent pharmacy to employ young graduates from school who are looking for a place to attach themselves and learn. The freshers are paid little or non to be compared to the pay of Post Internship or Post NYSC pharmacists. Another criteria is previous job experience, preference is on applicants who must have worked before in any community pharmacy or hospital.
2. The Locality of the Pharmacy
When looking for a lucrative locum in Nigeria, It is important to think of big cities such as Lagos, Abuja and Portharcourt. While locum pay in some cities is nothing to write home about.
In summary, when thinking of doing a locum, it is important not to look at the pay especially a fresh graduate that will need experience to start the profession. Also, bear in mind that you have to deal with stress. However, if your aim is to make money, i advise you target locations that pay Pharmacists very well.