Quickly familiarising with your surroundings is a sure-fire way to get the most from your next locum placement.

Pharmacist Aidan explains how his “new-starter” regime helps him settle in to a new hospital – simply by following these three top tips.

The first few weeks of a new locum position at a new hospital can be both demanding and challenging. But at the same time, meeting a new team, experiencing a new working environment and heightening your pharmacy skills can be very rewarding.

I have compiled my top three tips that I find useful to do at the initiation week of each new locum position; to help ensure that I can get up to speed working as a pharmacist in the new working surroundings in an efficient, safe and effective manner.

1. Communicate previous experience to your pharmacy line manager

Managing expectations as well as utilising your skills will be part of your new manager’s role.

Although the new manager may be familiar with your experience from selecting you on the basis of your curriculum vitae, I find it very helpful to reiterate this at the induction day(s) to my manager but also to the support staff and pharmacy teams that I am working with.

In this sense with clear communication of the different areas I worked in and how recent that experience is, it has helped in terms of training and support requirements.

For example with clinical trials – outlining that you have clinical trial screening and accuracy checking experience but you haven’t been involved with the management of Investigational Medicinal Products in terms of receipt and returns to the sponsors.

2. Familiarise yourself with standard operating procedures (SOPs)

One thing that I always treat as an ultimate priority during the induction day(s) is to find, familiarise, read and sign off on all of the pertinent SOPs at the new location.

Although the principals may be similar in terms of the expectations and the previous training, the actual operational processes can vary between hospitals.

Reading the SOPs first thing can be valuable as it will be at a time during the induction where you can become familiar with the various procedures and clarify any specific areas that need to be addressed – or that are different to what you have experienced before.

During the induction there is normally a facilitator with you – and by reading the SOPs at this time, this allows you to maximise the benefits of this induction and supervisory time as much as possible rather than a few weeks in and trying to contact that specific person while you are half way through a ward round.

3. Familiarise yourself with the hospital website and intranet

Most hospitals now have their own individualised intranet where invaluable information is for all staff members – and particularly for pharmacists.

Commonly the pages have information about the facilities and the different departments, phone numbers and bleep numbers details, clinical pathways, pharmacy and medical resources, opening times, drug and therapeutics committee information about the electronic systems used in the prescribing formularies – the list is ongoing!

By becoming familiar very soon into your induction with the layout, the various avenues, what information it contains and how this information can be accessed it can really help to both yourself and the teams you will be working on for future weeks when quick access is required.

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