What previous roles have you undertaken as a pharmacist?
My career has been quite short so far, however, I have worked to provide pharmaceutical care and advice to patients, medical and nursing staff in the acute hospital, primary care and community pharmacy settings.
Which role did you find most challenging and why?
My current role is probably the most challenging as I had no prior experience of primary care before starting the role which has made for a very steep learning curve, but I like a challenge!
Do you think all community pharmacist should be independent prescribers?
Absolutely. The community pharmacist is the most accessible member of the healthcare team and this accessibility is one of the unique selling points of community pharmacist prescribers. As pharmacists, we spend a lot of time providing prescribing advice to other healthcare professionals who then take responsibility for this advice by signing a prescription whilst possibly being unfamiliar with the medication they are prescribing and the monitoring and follow up required. While this is, of course, their responsibility as a prescriber themselves, I feel if we are prepared to provide this advice then we should be prepared to take ownership and responsibility for our own clinical choices and be accountable for ensuring that the patient receives the appropriate monitoring. The scenario where all patients have equitable access to a community pharmacist who truly independently reviews, prescribes for and follows up on their long-term conditions would be fantastic.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I learn something new every day whether it be clinical, technical or behavioural. I also really enjoy the way that the role of the pharmacist is constantly evolving which gives me a lot of confidence in the future of my profession.
Any aspects you dislike?
The fact that pharmacists cannot prescribe at the point of registration has been frustrating, especially when other health care professionals have the expectation that I can prescribe because the pharmacist who covered the ward or GP practice previously was able to prescribe. However, as I have gained more experience as a pharmacist, I have reflected that I have gained experience in clinical decision making that I did not have on day 1 on the register and this is something that needs addressed in pharmacy education and training if we are to aspire to having prescribing-ready pharmacists from registration.
Who are the top five mentors in your career?
There have been many people who have supported me in my career, challenged and encouraged me to become a better pharmacist and to seek out opportunities.
As part of the NES Foundation Training, I have a small team of more experienced pharmacists working across both areas of my practice who are able to review my portfolio and provide feedback. This has been valuable to my development as a recently qualified pharmacist and has generated discussion about future career progression.
I also have a great short-term goal mentor in Andrew Carruthers who has been practicing pharmacy for a couple of years more than me. His recent experience of my stage in practice has been invaluable and has really helped me to push myself and remain focused on my goals of where I want to be in the next two years.