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5 Reasons To Nurture Your Intern

As a pharmacist, you will have undertaken an internship after graduating.

So how was it for you?

Did you feel valued and appreciated, or more like cheap labour?

Were you offered a job at the end of your pharmacy Internship or did you come away thinking pharmacy was not for you?

It’s in everyone’s interest to support newly graduated pharmacists

There’s a shortage of trained pharmacy staff in New Zealand and this has been compounded by the additional demands created by Covid 19, which means we can no longer rely on locums to fill the gaps.

As a profession, we need to focus on creating a strong supply of highly skilled graduating pharmacists who are ready to hit the ground running and more importantly are enthusiastic to remain in the profession after qualifying.

Fresh raw talent benefits from nurturing

After 4 years at Pharmacy School, Interns are generally eager to apply their academic and clinical knowledge. They’re looking for an opportunity to immerse themselves in on-the-job training to learn as much as they can about the profession. If you’re willing to support this objective and can provide opportunities to experience different situations and events that can occur in the pharmacy workplace you will be well rewarded.

1. A fresh perspective

Interns can bring a bright, refreshing attitude into your team and a fresh perspective to workplace procedures and processes, which we can all learn from.

2. Motivate everyone in your business

Interns are generally at the forefront of the latest teachings and ideas and a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge between the Intern and staff can create a vibrant, dynamic environment that can serve to motivate everyone in your business.

3. Free up time for patient care

A good Intern allows pharmacists to maximise their time engaged in inpatient care-related activities, whilst you can leverage their computer skills and expertise to enhance your own work.

4. Scope out new talent for your pharmacy

Internships are a great opportunity to scope out new talent for your business and if managed well can create lifelong loyalty to your brand (or alienation if it goes wrong). It feels good to give back to the Pharmacy industry by contributing to and investing in an Intern’s future.

5. Valuable additional resource

We can help them make the transition from graduate to competent pharmacy practitioners by sharing our wisdom and providing opportunities for learning. Interns can become a valuable additional resource if we give them a wide range of responsibilities in clinical services, medication distribution, quality improvements, and research project completion. Any pharmacy will find this kind of support hugely beneficial.

Positive role models required

The teacher/student or mentor/mentee relationship between the Preceptor and the Intern is the most significant factor in determining the eventual outcome of an Internship. A good, committed Preceptor will become a role model and teach positive habits like being proactive, embracing a strong work ethic, and prioritising effectively. They will provide close supervision and provide one on one time each week to review the Intern’s evidence portfolio and provide constructive feedback. Care needs to be taken, not to overload the Intern at too early a stage as this is the most frequent reason given for leaving the profession.

It helps if the Preceptor has an enthusiastic team, willing to support new talent, and provides a variety of experiences and a stimulating work environment. Encourage everyone in the Pharmacy to contribute to the Intern’s development by helping them diversify their abilities and strengths. An Intern demonstrating initiative should be encouraged to shine and go the extra mile, to impress and contribute to the team. It’s worth noting that positive relationships created at this early stage in an Interns career, can result in further career advancement and potential employment opportunities, for either party in the future.

Setting the tone for their Pharmacy career

How we nurture our Interns can set the tone for the rest of an Intern’s pharmacy career. I really enjoyed my Internship working with 3 wonderfully knowledgeable pharmacists at the bench. I am still loyal to the Unichem and Life Pharmacy brands as a result. Others have been less fortunate and some have even left the Industry immediately after their Internship. Please don’t let this happen.

Remember that it can be incredibly lonely moving away from University to an unfamiliar town. With no friends or personal support network, your Intern can quickly feel isolated. Remind yourself how you felt when you were in their shoes and consider offering them practical support in finding suitable accommodation or perhaps invite them round for a

meal. This can go a long way to helping them settle quickly into their new position. Check-in with your Intern today and make a positive contribution to the future of New Zealand’s pharmacists.

A word of caution

If you’re a very busy pharmacy looking for cheap labour, a replacement for your technician, or extra hands to cover staff holidays, an Intern is definitely not the solution. Dishing up menial tasks day in, day out will benefit neither party and likely result in the Intern leaving and potential damage to your reputation.

Pharmacy Recruit’s Intern Placement Scheme

Pharmacy Recruit has a well-established student/Intern placement scheme and we can hand-select Intern candidates from our pre-screened talent pool to perfectly match your requirements. Get in touch to discuss your requirements with us today.

Students seeking help in securing an Internship or Interns experiencing problems with their existing Internship are also welcome to reach out to us for independent help and advice at any time.


Mobile: 64 (0)21 164 7368

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