Part three – hope
How does running make you feel?
If you’d asked me 2 years ago whether I enjoyed running I would have said no. I’ve never been sporty, although I did sail at school and was Captain of the Manchester University Ladies Sailing team for 2 years and I’ve always cycled to work, but I hated running. My GP suggested I tried to run as a way of getting outside of the house during my depression episode in 2017 and I have gradually come to love the freedom that running offers me. I try to run mindfully concentrating on how my body feels when I run and noticing the environment around me and. I forget about everything that is troubling me. If I’ve had a bad day at work I can clear my mind by going for a run. My challenge for 2018 is to earn a running medal every month and so far I’ve done MIND RED (run every day) January, a virtual 50 km challenge in February, Cardiff Bay 10k in March, Newport 10K in April, the NHS 70 10K in May. I was due to run Swansea Half Marathon in June for MIND, but I tore my ankle ligaments in early June and was unable to run for 2 months. I definitely noticed a difference in how I felt when I was unable to run and it took longer to relax in the evenings. I started running again in August running Barry Island 10K in August. I completed Cardiff 10K in September dressed as Wonder Woman to raise money for Pharmacist Support.
On October 7th I’m running Cardiff Half Marathon as part of the Cardiff & Vale UHB Health Charity team fundraising for the haematology unit. A large number of the trials I’m involved in are haematology trials and I decided to give something back to the amazing patients who sacrifice a huge amount to participate in clinical trials.
What was the toughest lesson you had to learn as a pharmacist?
I’ve had to learn that I can’t do everything. Before my most recent episode, my role was split between dispensary, clinical trials and ward-based clinical pharmacy (I was stroke pharmacist).. The trials and clinical role could have been a full-time job in their own right and the conflicting priorities between the roles was a contributing factor in my anxiety and depression. When I returned to work in March 2017 my role was amended so I spend 3 hrs a day in the dispensary and the rest of my time is dedicated to my clinical trials role. These roles work very well together and I am much happier in work.
What have been your career highlights?
My career highlights include having my 1st paper published and presented at the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists (ASHP) Conference and at the International Pharmacy Federation (FIP) Conference
What is your advice to the next generation of pharmacists?
Pharmacy is an incredibly varied career and just because your initial experience is in one sector it doesn’t mean that you can’t move into another area. I’d recommend moving jobs a few times early in your career to experience different ways of working. I worked in 3 different hospitals in my 1st 5 years of practice and I have benefited enormously from the experience I gained in a small district general hospital (Hinchingbrooke), large teaching hospital (St Thomas?) and specialist hospital (Great Ormond Street). As well as working hard it is important that you have time to recover and enjoy life, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is very important.
Are you optimistic about the future of pharmacy?
I am extremely optimistic about the future of pharmacy. I am watching with interest the development of GP pharmacists in England and Cluster Pharmacists in Wales, the involvement of community pharmacy in minor ailment schemes and the growing development of prescribing and Consultant Pharmacists both in the traditional hospital setting and primary care. With the development of the Health Education England Deans and Heads of Pharmacy a training structure for foundation and advanced practitioners will evolve and a clear career progression for pharmacists will finally develop.
Who are the top five mentors in your career?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a formal mentor, but I have been fortunate to work with some of the pharmacy greats during my career who have in some way influenced the development of my career as a pharmacist. These include the late Professor Mike Barnett and Professor Mike Allwood who guided me while I was writing the BPNG Position paper on filtration with parenteral nutrition; Tony West and Professor Chris Cairns who encouraged me to get involved in pharmacy politics as a member of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) Council and trusted me to be Treasurer for the 2000 GHP weekend school; and Professor Pauline Norris and Professor Gordon Beckett who would have been my PhD supervisors if I’d stayed in New Zealand and who have remained friends since I moved back to the UK.
What’s next for you?
2018 marks the 26th anniversary of my registration as a pharmacist and I potentially have another 20 years left in my career. I’m not sure where my career will take me in the future, but I’d like to get more involved in shaping the pharmacists of the future.
I also want to increase awareness of the help pharmacy students, pre-registration trainees and pharmacists can get from and Pharmacist Support. I’m currently working with Cardiff University School of Pharmacy to ensure their students are aware of the support available from Pharmacist Support and presented the 1st year pharmacy students on their 1st day of University.