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Chapter: Hospital pharmacy : Managing services

Preregistration trainees and newly registered pharmacists entering hospital pharmacy may have given little consideration to their potential future roles as managers.

Managing services




Preregistration trainees and newly registered pharmacists entering hospital pharmacy may have given little consideration to their potential future roles as managers. At this early stage of a hospital pharmacist’s career, attention will usually be focused on gaining experience in a broad range of pharmacy services and having the opportunity to apply knowledge to practical situ-ations. Many pharmacists will have aspirations to work in a clinical setting where they are able to operate as part of a clinical team, directly contributing to the management and care of patients.


Junior pharmacists look to their managers to provide them with training opportunities, guidance and support. There will be a reasonable expectation that their managers will be experienced, knowledgeable and accessible, and able to provide a continuous and dependable source of ready-made solutions to problems they encounter. Junior pharmacists will probably have little appreciation of the wide range of leadership and management skills that their managers have acquired and are using for their benefit.


So what is the difference between leadership and management and are both skills required when you are responsible for the whole or part of the pharmacy service? There has been much written on this subject and this short chapter cannot, and is not intended to, do it justice. In summary, leadership is more concerned with finding direction and purpose in the face of critical challenges, whereas managing is about organising to achieve desired purposes efficiently, effectively and creatively. Leaders ensure vision is developed and conveyed to the whole team. A good manager will require leadership skills, but leadership must be displayed by staff at all levels if they are to navigate local circumstances and deliver the best care possible for an individual or group of patients.


Progression up the career ladder, beyond the rotational training grades, will lead to appointment to posts, with an increasing management component within them that may involve staff management and/or responsibility for a section of the service. Indeed, it is rare to find jobs from Agenda for Change band 7 upwards that do not have certain elements of managerial tasks within them, with management and clinical practice becoming increasingly entwined as clinical pharmacists need to align their practice to organisational objec-tives. This is the stage of a pharmacist’s career pathway when he or she must acquire the ability to balance managerial responsibility with the stimulation of working in a clinical setting, as pharmacists are expected to deliver change to the way pharmaceutical care is provided to large groups of patients rather than simply those under their direct care on a ward or in a clinic. Some of the skills needed for a role in management are listed in Table 19.1.


Table 19.1 Attributes for managers


Personal qualities

Strong leader



Copes with conflicting pressures

Team player

Able to work in multidisciplinary environment


Skills and abilities

Presentation skills

Communication skills – oral and written

Personal time management

Analytical skills

Project management

Devise, plan and manage complex work programme

Numeracy and computer-literacy skills


Managing staff

Individual performance review

Personal development plans

Continuing professional development

Disciplinary procedures

Workforce planning

Recruitment and retention


Business planning

Writing business cases

Project management

Budget-setting and management

Financial skills



Evidence of working in relevant settings

Knowledge of National Health Service



This chapter is intended to provide an appreciation of the roles pharmacy managers undertake within the pharmacy department and how they interact with other managers and clinicians in the wider hospital environment. It also provides some insights into the recruitment process and provides some advice to support newly qualified and junior pharmacists when applying and being interviewed for new posts.


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