you can locum yourself out of poverty
You Can Locum Your Way Out Of Poverty. Yes! You heard that.

You can’t locum your way out of poverty is a common mantra amongst young pharmacists in Nigeria, but that saying is not entirely true. The truth is that you can locum your way out of poverty, if you have a good plan for yourself and if you’re frugal with your expenses.

The problem always with pharmacy practice (in Nigeria especially) is a lack of defined career pathway. We will partly talk about career path in pharmacy later in this write up..

Most persons even upon finishing NYSC still don’t have it all figured out, hence it is easy to see pharmacists moving from community pharmacy to medical rep and then back to community practice.

But it’s fine really. It is okay not to have it all figured out at first. We all have these dark times in our career pathway and eventually it starts getting clearer over time. However what is not correct is constantly implying that one can’t locum his way out of poverty, especially without a thorough statistics.

You want to hear the truth? You can locum your way out of poverty, but to do that you need to have clear plans and even alternative plans as well. We will get to this in detail when we dissect the case of Pharm Dapo…

But Then Who Said You should be a locum all through your career?

First of all, before we dive into the story, it is important to clarify that you don’t have to be a locum forever; there is always an option for growth.

You can easily move from being a locum pharmacist to a full time pharmacist. This surely translates to better pay.

Similarly, you can move from the normal ‘Eze Pharmacy’ on your street to a pharmacy chain. This could also be directly proportional to better remuneration, better working environment, friendlier working schedule and improved career prospects.

Locum Your Way Out of Poverty; The Story of Pharm Dapo.

I’ve clearly suggested that you can locum your way out of poverty, but I probably have not told you how, right? Well, let’s use the story of Pharm Dapo as an example, hopefully you can pick one or two.

Dapo graduated from UNILAG in 2010, quickly did his internship at a community pharmacy and proceeded for the NYSC. After his NYSC he applied for a superintendent role with one of the growing retail chains in Lagos and was placed on a N800/hr salary for a start.

You see, getting such negotiations for a start in a community pharmacy in Nigeria is not easy. But it was easy for him because he had a wealth of experience in community pharmacy. He had special trainings on wound care, immunization and family planning during his internship and NYSC days.

Dapo worked at this same pharmacy as the superintendent pharmacy for 4 years before moving to Canada with the wife. He had since started to practice as a pharmacist in Canada and is doing way much better than he was in Nigeria.

READ ALSO – Countries To Migrate to As A Nigerian Pharmacist

Before he left Nigeria, his salary further increased and he had made a remarkable impact in the community where he worked. The owner of the premises still misses him till how.

But what do you think Pharm Dapo did differently?

Well, simply put he had plans and seemed to have things figured out. This is exactly what every young person must do irrespective of where you work or even your profession.

While working as the superintendent pharmacist, he completed an online masters program (with a partial scholarship) and aced IELTS as well. Having a masters and also being a health professional probably influenced his easy relocation abroad.

Another thing he did differently was saving wisely. I mean he had to because he technically depended on salaries alone, had no car and just had a 300k room and parlor apartment to maintain. He didn’t live the I am-a-big-boy kind of life.

More so, he married someone with the same vision as him. They didn’t have a child till they moved to Canada; Having a child was going to incur extra cost for their travel. They didn’t have a lavish wedding; it was just the registry.

So in a nutshell, Pharm Dapo moved from a locum pharmacist, to an intern pharmacist, then to NYSC pharmacist and finally to superintendent pharmacist. Saved some money, moved to Canada with the wife, got a better job and settled fine. Can you now say the Pharm Dapo didn’t locum his way out of poverty? I guess not

So you can locum your way out of poverty. You need to plan well for it and you can surely make a good life for yourself. As our father in the profession Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa said in his book ‘Wired To Lead’ – They say life gives you what you want but I add that if you want nothing, life gives you whatever is available.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa on Wired to lead

Quotes on Wired to Lead

Career Prospects in Pharmacy.

Not every pharmacist will do digital marketing, not everyone is interested in artificial intelligence, machine learning or Blockchain technology. We still need pharmacists, core pharmacists who are pharmacists in the very traditional definition of what a pharmacist should be.

READ ALSO – Do it yourself graphics design for pharmacists

Therefore to this generation of core pharmacists, we present to you some career prospects in pharmacy. We urge you that even if the journey starts as a locum for you, be rest assured that within a short space you can locum your way out of poverty.

  1. Hospital Pharmacy

Pharmapproach referred to the hospital pharmacist as members of a health care team composed of physicians and nurses, among others, with direct involvement in patient care.

In addition to direct patient care involvement, pharmacists in hospitals are responsible for systems which control drug distribution and are designed to assure that each patient receives the appropriate medication in the correct form and dosage, and at the correct time.

Hospital pharmacists maintain records of each patient, using them not only to fill medication orders but also to screen for drug allergies, adverse drug effects and equally for research purposes.

  1. Community Pharmacy.

Virtually every pharmacist has a community pharmacy experience. It is about the commonest place a pharmacist can practice. It is also the ideal place where entrepreneurial minded pharmacists can show their talents as independent pharmacy owners.

Community Pharmacists play essential role in the health and well being of the environments they serve. They provide information and advice on health, medications and other associated services. They also refer patients to secondary and tertiary sources of care when necessary.

Community Pharmacists, especially in Nigeria need an increased knowledge of drugs and disease conditions to thrive. This is because the entire community and even beyond primary depend on them to get medical advice and opinion on various ailments.

Locum practice is common in community pharmacies in Nigeria and yes you can locum your way out of poverty from here if you plan well.

  1. Industrial Pharmacy

The pharmaceutical industry produces active drug substances, chemicals, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and all other health products. Pharmacists do such things as marketing, research and product development, quality control, sales and administration.

Many pharmacists go on to obtain postgraduate degrees in this field. Pharmacists with an interest in sales and administration can combine this with their technical background in pharmacy by serving as medical representatives. They explain the uses and merits of the products their firms manufacture.

Experienced and successful medical service representatives with administrative abilities often rise to supervisory or executive posts in the pharmaceutical industry.

  1. Veterinary Pharmacy

A lot of cold wars have been on between the veterinary council of Nigeria and the Pharmacists council of Nigeria, but the definition still remains clear – The Pharmacist is the custodian of drugs. Drugs includes all classes, human and animal.

The Pharmacist interested in veterinary pharmacy is focused on the treatment given to animals. A veterinary pharmacist should have a grounded knowledge of the basic care given to animals. He should be able to provide the necessary medication to animals and livestock.

Veterinary pharmacy is thought across all pharmacy schools in Nigeria. Individuals with special interest in this lucrative field of practice can go ahead to acquire higher degrees and certifications in veterinary pharmacy to further boost their knowledge in the field.

Also important to note is the fact that this field is still grossly under utilized in Nigeria. Venturing into the field of veterinary pharmacy will be rewarding to say the least.

  1. Pharmacy Journalism

Ifeanyi Atuenyi of Pharmanews revolutionized pharma journalism in Nigeria and Africa. What he’s done with Pharma News is worth studying by any business school in Nigeria

The field of pharmacy journalism is an adventurous one and carefully suits the pharmacist who is looking for a not-so-ordinary job. Having a special love for writing combined with being abreast with recent trends in technology will boost your chances of surviving in this field.

With your wealth of knowledge in the pharmaceutical field, you can educate your readers through your work. You can become a journalist for a pharmaceutical journal or you can opt to be a freelance writer.

You can CLICK HERE to start up a career in pharma-journalism with us if you have a good flair for writing.

  1. Academic/Research Pharmacist.

Pharmacists here are interested in training the next generation of pharmacists. They are involved with teaching, research, public service and patient care. Others serve as consultants for local, state, national and international organizations.

Pharmacy graduates can pursue research in pharmacy practice, as well as a variety of other areas including pharmacotherapy, drug discovery, toxicology, clinical sciences, public health and so on.

The pharmaceutical scientists in other departments other than clinical pharmacy are mainly concerned with research that includes sophisticated instrumentation, analytical methods, and animal models that study all aspects of drugs and drug products.

However, in clinical pharmacy, social, economic and behavioral science research often uses survey methods and statistical analyses to solve complex problems of drug utilization management, health care delivery, marketing, management, and other practice issues.

  1. Government and NGO Roles

Most government and even nongovernmental organizations provide avenues for health professionals including pharmacists to climb a career ladder in their life

Such a place where this is possible in a government organization is in the ministry of health, as well as other ministries. NGOs such as the Global funds for AIDS, Society for Family health and so on also require the services of pharmacists in various capacities.

Pharmacists have knowledge, skills and experience that can fit them perfectly into advisory roles, both for these government as well as nongovernmental institutions. Government roles can focus on access to medicines, public health, drug discovery, pharmacovigilance and so on

  1. Military Pharmacist

This might not seem like an obvious career path, but it is actually. The Nigerian Defence Academy often employs registered pharmacists to work in the army, navy and air force.

For a pharmacist, this adventurous role can involve being posted with other allied health personnel to work on board navy ships or be deployed to the various military hospitals around the country.

Sometimes it can even get as daring as being posted to the health centers in some war torn areas in the North East. It never gets less exciting in the military and only the brave and dedicated pharmacist can decide to carve a career in this field.

9.. Mental health pharmacist relates to mental health pharmacists as those who in hospitals are responsible for providing clinical pharmacy services to the adult mental health in-patient wards, and psychiatric assessment and planning units.

It is a highly specialized career path that requires strong teamwork skills and current drug knowledge in psychotropic drug therapy.

Pharmacists here manage the supply of anti-psychotic medications to mental health patients in government units, outpatient clinics, community centers and specialist hospitals. They also counsel care givers of the patients (and sometimes the patients) on how to make the best of their medications.

Summary Notes.

I’ve attempted to clear the air on the popular saying that you cannot locum your way out of poverty. I have in fact suggested in plain terms that you can locum your way out of poverty, especially when you’re focused on the final destination.

Indecision with career choices was also highlighted as part of the reasons why some pharmacists move around various fields without a clear decision on where to major. Attempt was therefore made to highlight some of the various careers in pharmacy and the duties of the pharmacist there.

So next time when someone says you can’t locum your way out of poverty, I will reply that with the right career path you can locum your way out of poverty and not just that, you can climb high in the ladder of your desired career.

About Ishima

Ishima™ is a Pharmacist with special interests in the management of chronic illnesses, gender studies, mental health and psychotherapy. He is the convener of #SaveTheBoyChildMovement which is geared at repositioning the place of men in the society and redefining masculinity . He is a writer, a crazy poet and a firm believer in making the world a better place.

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