When applying for jobs, most people state their hobbies on their CV to make themselves sound more interesting but often ignore these personal interests once they are hired.

“This is a mistake because after-work hobbies — especially creative ones — can boost someone’s productivity,” claimed researchers from San Francisco State University in California.

Studies show that an employee who engages in a creative interest can be a better staff and problem solver at work. All hobbies are considered as an opportunity for pharmacists to learn something new and boost their confidence.

Below are examples of how hobbies help these five pharmacists at work.

1. Flying pharmacist

An aviation enthusiast, Andrew McCoig, chief executive of the Croydon and Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Local Pharmacy Committees in the UK, enjoys flying planes in his spare time and has completed 1,200 hours of flying. He said that being in the air is very similar to running a community pharmacy.

“Both are very unforgiving environments if you get it wrong. Malpractice or a lack of judgement could be fatal,” he explained. “It is therefore essential that you are both fit for purpose and fit for practice in every sense to undertake either professional task.”

McCoig also mentioned that the emphasis on flight safety has helped him in his pharmacy career. “Safety is in the planning around weather and navigation, just as safe pharmacy practice requires vigilance and updated knowledge of the drugs supplied and the patient’s condition,” he added.

2. Pharmacist who pantomimes

A pharmacist at Lorn & Islands Hospital in Scotland, Sandra Melville has written and directed pantomimes since 2004. She said that satire and humour helps express the increasing frustration experienced by the NHS staff.

Every two years, Melville leads her team to perform pantomimes across the hospital. The pantomimes are free and the audience is encouraged to make donations.

“The pantomime is great for team building and for breaking down barriers because there is a staff hierarchy in hospitals,” said Melville. “Morale gets a boost because this is so much fun and those in the cast get to mix with people they would not normally cross paths with.”

3. Pharmacist who models sailing ships

After a hectic day in the pharmacy, Tim Root, a specialist technical and governance pharmacist for the NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, spends his time modelling sailing ships to relieve his stress.

“The benefit to my work is that it has taught me patience and how to deal in small chunks with something that might appear difficult,” he says.

He has been making intricate model 18th century sailing ships for ten years, and says that he finds his hobby therapeutic.

“It’s also helped me to pay attention to detail. Perhaps it satisfies my obsession with detail that afflicts most pharmacists.”

4. Pharmacist as a volunteer

During the day, Roz Gittins is an associate clinical lead pharmacist and receives alerts when an animal is in distress nearby. “This gets the adrenaline going. It’s like being the on-call pharmacist for a busy hospital,” said Gittins.

At the same time, Gittins volunteers for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity that helps seals, dolphins and whales in distress around the UK.

“Assessing and rescuing marine mammals requires decisions to be made quickly and often under pressure, which are skills that can be applied when working in a busy dispensary,” said Gittins.

Her experiences benefit both ways, as she also applies her knowledge from working as a pharmacist to her voluntary work.

“While they may look cute, seals can deliver nasty bites and marine mammals can carry zoonotic diseases. I apply my knowledge of basic infection control measures gained while working in aseptics and offering services such as needle exchange.”

5. Pharmacist as a calligraphy writer

A consultant pharmacist who learnt calligraphy during his student years, Mark Borthwick, now applies his skills at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by writing certificates for nurses.

“I bought the nibs, ink and a book to learn script during my pharmacy degree when I got bored with all the revising,” he said.

“I used to practise my writing on pharmacy orders and I learnt different styles. It became my handwriting and attracted attention at work. It could become a second business in future but for now I am happy to write certificates and cards for colleagues.”

Hobbies can help pharmacists with time management and balance their life. Pursuing one’s passion is important and can bring many advantages career-wise. MIMS

Read more:
Healthcare professionals: 4 hobbies you can consider
6 tips for pharmacists to set themselves apart from the crowd
Healthcare professionals: Useful courses outside of healthcare to consider for further development