7 steps to become a skilled pharmacist

The role of pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry is very important and critical. The pharmacists are involved in all departments starting from raw material,  R&D, manufacturing, IQPC, and Quality control to packaging. So pharmacists working in the pharmaceutical industry should be skilled and master of their field both in practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge.

All the departments in the pharmaceutical industry are important but production is the backbone of the pharmaceutical industry so pharmacists working in the production area should be skill full.

Following are some key points that will help to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists.

Be a Silent Observer

Pharmacists after getting their professional degree, enter into professional life and this environment is different from the academic environment. In the pharmaceutical industry, he is directly involved in all manufacturing activities.

He has a degree and is equipped with theoretical knowledge but he lacks large scale practical manufacturing skills. So the first point is that he should learn as much as he can at the start of his career, he should become a silent observer because we can not gain skills without observing small and large activities. Make a schedule to observe all activities on the production floor one by one.

Observe every machine and process with deep interest. Try to observe the basic working principle of all equipment and basics of manufacturing processes.

Write Notes

Try to make a habit to write down all your observations. Make flow charts of all activities. Highlight the important points.

Discuss with Operators

An operator working in a manufacturing area or operating a machine is a skill full to operate that machine and to manufacture that specific product. The operator practically knows well about equipment or a process but he lacks theoretical and scientific knowledge so discuss with the operator about that machine or process to know about equipment and simply process details.

The operator will tell you about the machine working, its parts and about the handling of machine parts regardless of theoretical knowledge. Try to discuss the process layout with the operator and ask him to tell you about the previous history of breakdowns,  troubleshooting and failure of any kind. It will help you to understand possible defects.

Key point is

An operator is practically more skilled and a pharmacist is equipped with theoretical knowledge but when a pharmacist learns practical skills and combines his theoretical knowledge with practical work he becomes master of his field.

Important point to remember is that the operator is not a qualified person and has no pharmaceutical degree so he will tell you according to his experience or old observations of problem solving. So do not think that whatever operator tells you is always scientifically right

Study Regularly

Make a habit to read books,  pharmaceutical blogs and take part in pharmaceutical discussion forums. Whatever you observe or discuss with operators try to read it from authentic sources to make your concepts clear.

During the academic period, the focus of the students is usually on theoretical knowledge with some small scale or lab-based practical knowledge.

For example, he may know about simple mixers or single punch compression machines or small rotary compression machines but he does not know about the working of high shear granulator or high-speed automatic compression machines and complex manufacturing procedures like Sterile manufacturing, filling etc.So when he observes these in his job period and study it,his concepts are more clear.

Discuss with seniors

In pharmaceutical industries trained qualified pharmacists are also working there from years. Try to find a person who is a master in his field and discuss with him your queries and spend some time with him on the working floor, check his working style, skills and approach to handle the problems.

One important step to remember is that skills are not inherited but are gained by dedication, hard work and learning.

 Sometimes we can find a junior pharmacist who may be more skilled than a senior pharmacist so try to find the exact qualified person in your organization who is expert in his field no matter if he is senior or junior.

Do not hesitate to learn from juniors.

The benefit of discussion with a qualified person is that he will guide you according to his practical skills and theoretical knowledge. He will solve your queries with his scientific knowledge which the operators are not able to answer.

Be Practical 

With time when you think that you are confident enough to perform a manufacturing activity yourself then start it and try to perform some critical processes yourself but in the presence of your skilled trained seniors.

For practical pharma learning, confidence is the key to success.

 In the pharmaceutical industries, it is a common culture that operators or old working staff discourage the pharmacists to operate or perform critical activities themselves  and they make pharmacists afraid of the fear that you will break the machine tooling or process will not be effective, so the majority of pharmacists lose confidence.

Do not lose confidence, good operators are also present in the pharma sector who are eager to learn and give courage to the pharmacists by motivations that you can do that,so try to work with them. Operate processes yourself like granulation, develop skills to determine the granulation endpoint etc and how to perform tablet coating process.

When a pharmacist do all activities himself he will not be deceived by any operator because he can understand either he is lying or not.

 Working with his own skills, a pharmacist can understand the behaviour of every product very well.

Be A Teacher

When you gain much experience, skills, and are equipped with background theoretical knowledge then do not limit that knowledge to yourself. Spread your skills and knowledge to others so that they may also be able to develop the same skills. If anyone comes to ask any question or problem, entertain him decently and in a polite way. Motivate others by asking practical questions and inspire them to answer the question of whatever they know about that. Motivate others to read books, learn and improve their knowledge.

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