First of all, congratulations on getting a pre-registration position! Obtaining a position is not something that should be taken lightly as the market is becoming more competitive year on year. Embarking on this new stage of your career can be daunting. Entering the world of full time work can be a challenging experience for anyone, and pre-registration pharmacists need to also consider things like demonstrating GPhC competencies and the small matter of the GPhC exam.

But worry not! Allow yourself time to settle in and get to know your new team. After all, you will be working closely with these colleagues for the next 12 months and a strong team is one that communicates effectively and works well together.

Ask questions of not only your tutor, but your dispensers, healthcare assistants etc. Everybody in the pharmacy has vital role to play and understanding the responsibilities of the different members that comprise the healthcare team will allow you to gently merge into the skill mix and ultimately may reveal potential opportunities in terms of your own personal development.

There are three main pieces of advice that I would give to someone starting their pre-registration year. Organise your time effectively, do not neglect your competencies, and begin revising for the GPhC exam early. There is no denying it, the pre-registration year is challenging and it can be difficult to complete all of the tasks expected of you in addition to full time work. That is why it is important that you manage your time effectively and prioritise tasks to make sure that you don’t get bogged down.

This leads me nicely on to your competencies. Understandably, it is not sufficient for pre-registration pharmacists to only pass the GPhC exam to become a qualified pharmacist. Trainees are also required to provide examples of occasions where their behaviours or actions have demonstrated one or more of the competencies expected of pharmacists by the GPhC. At the start of the year it's easy to put things like evidences for competencies on the back burner but you will be amazed at the amount of potential evidences that will be forgotten if you don’t document your actions as you progress through the pre-registration year. You will not be happy if it comes towards the end of your pre-registration year and you have pages and pages of evidences to write and are unable to remember any specific actions that you took which would provide evidence of competence. You will have enough on your mind by this point and could do without the extra worry  of convincing your tutor that you have demonstrated all the competences that the GPhC expects. 

This brings me on to the small matter of the pre-registration exam. It's natural to be nervous about such a significant hurdle in your progression but if you embrace all your opportunities during your training, if you are organised and prepare early for the assessment, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pass. We will provide you with as much support and training material as possible to give you the best chance to pass the exam. Our revision notes and test areas will be of particular use for exam preparation but we will also keep you aware of any news relevant to your training or progression, such as the changes to the GPhC exam. And if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us directly or get involved in the subscriber forums.

Remember, for better or worse, everyone's pre-registration year is different, and you need to be proactive and receptive to feedback from your tutor and other colleagues to get the most out of training and identify learning and development needs  which, once addressed, will provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to successfully complete your pre-registration year.