Sam Macdonald

Sam Macdonald

Quality pharmacy training with a flexible and structured programme.

Sam Macdonald (23) is a foundation level pharmacist working in South Wales. A graduate from Brighton university, Sam came back home to benefit from the new ‘multi-sector’ pre-registration training programme and to begin his career. Now, in his first year as a qualified pharmacist, Sam explains why he always planned to return to Wales:

“I moved away to Brighton University to study for my pharmacy degree as it was an opportunity to discover a new city.  I loved Brighton and thoroughly enjoyed my university experience there. However, I was pleased to come back to Cardiff with my MPharm and excited to start a career here in Wales.


During my pre-registration training year my timetable was split between hospital, community and primary care pharmacy and I had joint pre-reg tutors in both hospital and community pharmacy. I had a wide variety of unique learning opportunities in every sector in supportive environments that encouraged learning and development.


Before the end of my pre-reg year I had secured my first pharmacist post in a neighbouring Health Board. It is a 2 year multi-sector diploma post. These years will focus on developing my clinical knowledge, along with further exams and coursework, under the guidance of experienced mentors and tutors. I’m still not 100% sure what direction I’d like to head in, so the beauty of the training programme is that I will continue to have clinical opportunities to manage medicines in GP surgeries and acute hospital environments, so I will get plenty of experience before I need to decide on the next step in my career.


Training posts like mine are very desirable as they are fully funded by Welsh Government through Health Education and Improvement Wales — I feel confident that I’ve received support that I may not have had in other parts of the UK. There are so many perks to training and working in Wales. Trainees receive high quality support from the tutors, and the training programmes are flexible and structured, ensuring that we gain multi-sector experience which includes working together with many different professionals. There are also lots of new exciting advancements happening across Wales, for example, local to me in South East Wales, a new Specialist Critical Care Centre is opening which I expect to provide lots of opportunities for newly qualified pharmacists.


I’m lucky enough to work sociable hours and have plenty of time to relax and focus on doing the things I love, whether it’s taking in the amazing sights on a run or exploring new restaurants in the city. Everything is on the doorstep here in Cardiff! Coming to South Wales was one of the best decisions I made for my career, and now that I’m here, I can’t ever imagine leaving.”