What is a Relief Pharmacist?

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Have you heard about relief pharmacist jobs but don’t quite know what a relief pharmacist is? In short, relief pharmacists fill open shifts when regular pharmacists can’t work. Relief pharmacists travel throughout their province working at whichever pharmacy needs them at the time. Here, you’ll learn more about relief pharmacist work and find out if this type of job is the right fit for you. 

What Is a Relief Pharmacist’s Role Like?

A relief pharmacist’s job is to provide shift coverage when a pharmacy’s regular pharmacist needs it. Relief pharmacists handle all of the same responsibilities as a regular pharmacist, including filling and dispensing prescriptions, conducting medication counseling, and supervising daily pharmacy operations. 

As a relief pharmacist, you are also tasked with keeping the pharmacy running smoothly. This means you need to be able to quickly familiarize yourself with each pharmacy’s layout, software, workflow, and standard operating procedures. One of the biggest roles of a relief pharmacist is to maintain high-quality customer service at all times. The patients that frequent a pharmacy must be the top priority at all times, even when a relief pharmacist is in charge. 

Relief pharmacist jobs can be for just one day but usually shift coverage is needed for several days in a row. Pharmacies may need shift coverage for a variety of reasons, but the most common reasons are: 

  • Illness
  • Family emergency
  • Unforeseen circumstances 

And sometimes, a pharmacist just needs a break or vacation. A relief pharmacist helps cover these shifts for any reason, easing stress and ensuring a pharmacy stays fully staffed. 

The Struggles of Pharmacy Staffing  

Currently, pharmacies across Canada are struggling to fill open shifts and the need for relief pharmacists is on the rise. One reason for this staffing struggle is that there is a national pharmacist shortage throughout the country, meaning there are fewer pharmacists available to fill relief jobs. 

If a pharmacist has enough notice, they may be able to find shift coverage. But in most cases, relief pharmacists are needed at little to no notice. This makes it even harder to find someone to fill the shift. Pharmacies need one licensed pharmacist to remain open and if they can’t find anyone to take open shifts, the pharmacy may need to close. This leads to lost revenue and customers not getting the prescriptions they need. This is one reason why relief pharmacists are so important. 

How to Become a Relief Pharmacist

A relief pharmacist needs to have all of the same qualifications as a regular pharmacist. This means they have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy and passed all required licensing exams, including the NAPLEX exam. Relief pharmacists are the same as regular pharmacists in every way except they work on-call instead of being hired as a full-time pharmacist. 

Many relief pharmacists work via word-of-mouth referrals or a general staffing agency. These options aren’t ideal, because they typically only lead to sporadic work, meaning relief pharmacists don’t get the amount of work they need. 
When you sign up as a relief pharmacist with ShiftPosts, you can be matched with pharmacies all over the country who are looking for shift coverage. We also verify your credentials before you get matched, which makes it easier and faster for pharmacies to hire you.To learn more about how ShiftPosts can enhance and enrich your relief pharmacist career, contact our team today.

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