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Pharmacy sector joins forces on charity campaign for 'anxious' trainees

Organisations from across the sector have teamed up on a week-long wellbeing campaign for trainees facing assessment pressures, the pharmacists’ charity has announced.

Independent pharmacy charity Pharmacist Support revealed this week (May 15) that it has partnered with Boots, Locate a Locum and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) on the annual campaign running next week (May 22-26).

Its week-long ACTNow wellbeing campaign helps trainees coming to the end of their training placement to “get mentally prepared for the upcoming summer General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) assessment and subsequent transition to registered responsible pharmacist”, it said.

Read more: The award-winning trainee pharmacist looking to the future

Funding from campaign partners Boots, Locate a Locum and the PDA has enabled the charity to “respond to need and develop resources targeted to the specific issues and challenges” faced by students, trainees and pharmacists, it said.

Their support has also enabled Pharmacist Support to continue providing free and confidential services to thousands across the sector every year, as well as the “now well-established” campaign, it added.


Live workshop


This year’s ACTNow wellbeing campaign will provide support through a range of resources and activities on topics such as “managing anxious thoughts, preparing for the assessment and sleep” as well as “getting ready for the pharmacy”, Pharmacist Support said.

The charity will also run a live workshop with the PDA on getting “mentally prepared for the assessment”, it added.

Pharmacist Support said it is “absolutely delighted” to be partnering with the organisations.

Read more: Well Pharmacy launches in-store micro-donations for mental health charity Mind

“We know just how overwhelming this period can be for trainees managing work and revision,” chief executive of the charity Danielle Hunt said.

Many trainees have “anxiety” about the upcoming assessment and results, as well as the “prospect of the weight of responsibility that comes with becoming a registered and responsible pharmacist”, she added.

This year’s campaign aims to “alleviate” some “worries” pharmacy students may have and “build confidence” by giving them tools to help them “prioritise their wellbeing” and “better manage their stresses and anxieties” around assessments and result days, Ms Hunt said.


“Disrupted and uncertain pharmacy journey”


The charity recognises “just how challenging these past few years have been for this particular group, who have had a disrupted and uncertain pharmacy journey so far,” she added.

And she said that the charity is keen to “get people talking more” about their difficulties with the GPhC assessment and “share the stories of others who have experienced challenges in their training but who have gone on to enjoy successful careers”.

Read more: Superdrug newly qualified pharmacist pay to rise 11% to £50k

“There are many pharmacy leaders now in quite prominent and high-profile positions, for example, who didn’t pass on their first or second attempts at the assessment and they often say that it made them a better pharmacist,” she added.

“Ultimately, we hope through this campaign that our trainees feel better equipped for the journey ahead – whatever path it may be that they take,” she said.


Boots “delighted” to support the campaign


Boots superintendent pharmacist Claire Nevinson said that the multiple was “delighted” to partner with Pharmacist Support on the campaign.

“Pharmacists are at the heart of delivering care to patients and customers in their communities and so it’s important that we at Boots look after their wellbeing and the wellbeing of the team that support them,” she added.

Ms Nevinson said that this is “especially important” for trainee pharmacists as they “take their final step and enter into the profession to play an important role as part of a wider healthcare team in community pharmacy”.


“Crucial” work


CEO of Locate a Locum Jonathon Clarke added that the company is also “happy to be working with Pharmacist Support to help guide the next generation of pharmacists at the beginning of their careers”.

“Starting your pharmacy career can feel daunting and the work Pharmacist Support do at this time to help trainees is crucial,” he said.

The PDA is also “pleased to continue to support the ACTNow campaign”, its director Paul Day added.

Read more: Boots trainee pharmacist pay rising to £10.90 from April, PDA confirms

“The intensity of learning while also working and caring for patients can present serious challenges for trainees and it is essential that their wellbeing is given the appropriate attention by the individual and by those around them, such as their colleagues, manager and employer,” he said.

The now annual Pharmacist Support ACTNow campaign was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

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