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Pharmacy University Interview Questions and Answers

Pharmacy Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

Interviews for Pharmacy school can require a breadth of knowledge and attributes. Here, we present 10 high yield questions and answer suitable for candidates to Pharmacy schools in the UK.

Experiences and Ideas Around Pharmacy and Healthcare

How do you see the pharmacy profession evolving in the next 5-10 years, particularly in the context of the UK healthcare system?

I anticipate several key developments and trends shaping the pharmacy profession over the next 5-10 years within the context of the UK healthcare system.
First Integration with healthcare services, as pharmacists are expected to play an increasingly integral role in the multidisciplinary healthcare team, collaborating more closely with general practitioners, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. This will involve a greater emphasis on shared patient records and seamless communication to optimise patient care and outcomes. Second is that the scope of pharmacy practice is likely to broaden, with pharmacists taking on more clinical responsibilities, such as prescribing medications, providing immunisations, and managing chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. This shift will require pharmacists to develop advanced clinical skills and knowledge, positioning them as more prominent primary care providers within the healthcare system. Last is an emphasis on preventive care and public health – pharmacists are well-placed to promote preventive care and public health initiatives, such as smoking cessation programs, weight management services, and vaccination campaigns.

What inspired you to pursue a career in pharmacy, and how do you see your role as a pharmacist in the UK?

My inspiration to pursue a career in pharmacy stemmed from a combination of factors, including a strong interest in science, a genuine desire to help others, and witnessing the vital role pharmacists play in the healthcare system. As a pharmacist in the UK, I see my role as not only dispensing medications but also as an accessible healthcare professional capable of providing expert advice, counselling, and patient education. I am keen on using my expertise to optimise drug therapy outcomes, promote public health, and contribute to collaborative efforts in addressing the ever-evolving healthcare needs of the UK population. I wish to truly be part of the broader healthcare team, rather than simply a dispenser of medicines. 

How does the NHS structure impact the role of a pharmacist, and how do you see yourself fitting into the larger healthcare system?

The NHS structure significantly impacts the role of a pharmacist, as it emphasises collaboration, cost-effectiveness, and quality of care. The structure is ever changing, with CCGs recently having become ICBs, for example – and these changes impact practice. As a pharmacist within the NHS, I envision myself actively participating in multidisciplinary teams, working closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure optimal patient outcomes. I aim to stay current with the latest research and guidelines, continuously improve my clinical skills, and contribute to the development of innovative practices that enhance patient care and contribute to the overall efficiency of the healthcare system. 

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Professional Value

What are your professional values?

My professional values include integrity, accountability, continuous learning, empathy, and collaboration. I believe in always being honest and transparent in my actions, taking responsibility for my decisions, and continuously striving for improvement. Empathy and active listening are essential components of my approach to patient care, as they enable me to understand and address individual needs effectively. Collaboration, both within the healthcare team and with patients, is vital for delivering the best possible care and achieving optimal outcomes.

How would you handle a situation where you had to make a difficult decision about a patient's care?

I would first gather all relevant information and assess the potential risks and benefits of each available option. I would consult the latest evidence-based guidelines, as well as consider the patient’s preferences, medical history, and unique circumstances. If necessary, I would seek input from colleagues or other healthcare professionals to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the situation. Before making the decision, I would weigh the potential outcomes carefully, considering the ethical implications and striving to uphold the principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice. Once a decision is made, I would communicate it clearly and empathetically to the patient, providing an explanation for my reasoning and addressing any concerns they may have. Throughout this process, I would prioritise patient safety and well-being, as well as remain accountable for my decisions and actions.

What are your thoughts on the importance of teamwork

Teamwork is of paramount importance in healthcare, as it promotes a collaborative and patient-centred approach to care. Working effectively within a multidisciplinary team allows healthcare professionals to leverage their collective expertise and knowledge, leading to better decision-making, improved patient outcomes, and increased efficiency. Effective teamwork fosters a culture of mutual respect, open communication, and shared responsibility, enabling healthcare professionals to learn from one another and continually grow in their practice. As a pharmacist, I will recognise the value of teamwork and strive to contribute actively to collaborative efforts, ensuring the best possible care for patients.

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Ethical Questions

What are your thoughts on the importance of ethics?

Ethics plays a vital role in the healthcare profession, ensuring that practitioners uphold the highest standards of conduct and deliver care in a manner that is compassionate, equitable, and just. In the context of pharmacy, ethical considerations encompass a wide range of issues, such as patient privacy, informed consent, medication safety, and professional integrity. Adherence to ethical principles is crucial in fostering trust and confidence between patients and healthcare providers. It also ensures that pharmacists make decisions that prioritise the well-being and best interests of their patients, while balancing the needs and concerns of other stakeholders, such as colleagues, regulators, and the broader community. As a future pharmacist, I am committed to upholding ethical principles in all aspects of my practice, continuously reflecting on my actions and decisions to ensure that they align with the core values of the profession and promote the best possible outcomes for my patients and the healthcare system as a whole.

 

Describe an ethical problem that you recently came across in the healthcare realm.

An ethical problem I recently came across in the healthcare realm involved the allocation of limited resources, specifically the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines during the early stages of the vaccination rollout. Healthcare authorities had to make difficult decisions about prioritising certain groups based on factors such as age, underlying health conditions, and occupation. This ethical dilemma raised questions about fairness, equity, and the balance between individual rights and the collective good. In this case, the challenge was to develop a distribution strategy that maximised the overall benefits of the vaccine while minimising harm and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations. Such ethical problems underscore the complexities and responsibilities inherent in healthcare decision-making, emphasising the importance of ethical reasoning, transparency, and stakeholder engagement in navigating these challenging situations.

It is possible, of course, that the patient was cannulated in order for the blood to be taken and as such no new needle needs to be inserted – in which case I would simply ask the nurse to get another blood sample. If this were not the case, then I would speak to the patient and inform them that a mistake was made with the labelling of their sample. I would explain that I am very sorry for the mistake, and that it does mean that a new sample will need to be taken. I would ask open questions, like, ‘is this OK with you?’ or ‘is that an issue for you?’ This would allow them to express their concerns. I would empathetically deal with their concerns and work with them to find a solution.

What would you do if you suspected that a doctor was prescribing medication inappropriately?

If I suspected that a doctor was prescribing medication inappropriately, my first step would be to gather as much information as possible, reviewing the prescription in question, and considering the patient’s medical history and any potential drug interactions or contraindications. If my concerns persisted, I would contact the prescribing doctor to discuss the issue, seeking clarification and sharing my concerns in a respectful and professional manner. If the issue remained unresolved after discussing with the doctor, I would follow the appropriate escalation protocols within my workplace, involving my pharmacy supervisor or manager, and potentially contacting the relevant regulatory body or professional association for guidance. Throughout the process, my primary focus would be to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient while maintaining professional integrity and upholding ethical standards.

 

As a pharmacist, how would you handle a situation where a patient's cultural or personal beliefs conflict with the recommended course of treatment? How would your values and attributes guide your response?

It is essential to approach such situations with sensitivity, empathy, and respect for the patient’s autonomy. My values and attributes would guide my response in the following ways. First,  I would begin by listening carefully to the patient’s concerns, making an effort to understand their perspective and any underlying fears or misconceptions. By demonstrating empathy and acknowledging their feelings, I would create a supportive environment for open dialogue. Next, I would approach such situations with sensitivity and respect for diverse cultural beliefs and practices. It is essential to acknowledge the patient’s values and strive to find a solution that respects their beliefs while ensuring optimal health outcomes. Then I would provide clear, accurate, and culturally appropriate information to address the patient’s concerns and help them understand the rationale behind the recommended treatment. This may involve using visual aids, analogies, or translated materials, and ensuring that the information is presented in a manner that the patient can understand. Lastly, I would  involve the patient in the decision-making process, exploring alternative treatment options that align with their beliefs while still addressing their health needs. This may require consulting with other healthcare professionals, referring the patient to a specialist, or seeking guidance from relevant cultural or religious leaders.

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