As part of the student-led blog entries from MPharm students at the University of Lincoln, Beth, a third-year student wrote the following entry:

At the start of my third year of the MPharm course at the University of Lincoln, I knew I wanted to gain as much experience as possible within a hospital setting before I applied for my pre-registration year at the start of year four.

Having completed various community summer placements over the last couple of years, I wanted to make sure that hospital pharmacy was the area I wanted to pursue in my pre-registration training.

Beth is currently a third-year student at the University of Lincoln.

After I applied for work placements at a selection of hospitals in London and East Midlands, I gained a six-week summer placement at Nottingham University Hospitals after a successful interview, as well as a four-week placement at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital later in the summer.

During my placement here, I completed a clinical audit, which I found very helpful before starting my fourth-year project. I also had the opportunity to visit a variety of wards, including A+E, cardiac and cancer specialities and an HIV clinic run by the hospital. This was an invaluable experience that showed me the various roles that a ward pharmacist can undertake and it also consolidated what I had learnt in lectures at University, which helped to put my knowledge into context with real-life cases.

In addition to the clinical experience, the placement gave me the opportunity to work in a hospital pharmacy dispensary – this is a very different setting to working in a community dispensary.

My placement at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital allowed me to gain a range of clinical insights into multiple specialities including renal, maternity and dermatology. Primarily, I was assigned to the pharmacy critical care team, where I gained first-hand experience of the intensive care wards across both hospital sites.

As a result, I feel I learnt a great deal as critical care is not normally an area covered on placements, however, it is a very diverse and complex sector where clinical pharmacists can play a highly valued role.

I would advise students who may be unsure of what area of pharmacy they would like to pursue to try and gain as much work experience as possible. In my experience, I found that a lot of application deadlines for hospital summer placements were before December and would suggest keeping an eye out on the University of Lincoln’s Blackboard system and hospital Twitter pages for details about deadlines.

Finally, I would recommend attending the Pre-Registration Careers Fair organised by the School of Pharmacy which is held at the start of Semester Two, as this can provide a great opportunity to find out about summer placements that may be on offer and how to apply.