Who’s influenced you in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to come into contact with, and be influenced by, many outstanding pharmacists. I’d have to single out John Evans, Asda’s superintendent pharmacist until he retired a few years ago for helping develop my leadership skills, and more recently, I’ve been inspired by Martin Astbury who’s been an invaluable mentor and encouraged me to seek further opportunities to make a difference.
What’s been your most significant job move?
It has to be joining Asda. Prior to that I worked as a self-employed locum pharmacist. I had gained a lot of experience both in small independent pharmacy and also with large multiples, however joining Asda gave me the opportunity to build a new pharmacy up from scratch and also take on both local and national leadership roles. I work on the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation & Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board and more recently have been given the opportunity to represent contractors as a CCA rep on Birmingham & Solihull LPC. Neither of these opportunities would have happened without my move to Asda.
What has been your best moment as a pharmacist so far?
I’ve always felt that if you get an opportunity to make a difference and don’t try to take it, you can’t argue with the outcome. Joining the Rebalancing Board was one of those instances. As a full-time practicing community pharmacist, scenarios such as the Elizabeth Lee case would made me shudder. Being part of the work to amend the legislation, playing even a small part in creating the defence against prosecution for an inadvertent dispensing error, was particularly fulfilling. Seeing it come into effect was a real highlight.
What do you get out of bed for each day, professionally?
Well two things really. Firstly, I do genuinely enjoy my job, both the interactions with patients and equally managing/inspiring my team. I get a real buzz from seeing my colleagues enjoy engaging with pharmacy. Secondly, I’ve developed a keen interest in the future of the community pharmacy sector. I guess this goes back to that ‘trying to make a difference’ ideal. I’m frankly terrified about where community pharmacy seems to have headed over the past few years. I want to use any opportunity I can to make even the smallest differences both for patients and the wider profession.
How do you relax?
I’m very lucky to have a lovely family who fill my world outside of work. There’s nothing quite like being shown how to build on Minecraft by a seven-year old to take your mind off things!
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I always wanted to have a career where I was helping people. Pharmacy was a natural fit. If I hadn’t gone down the pharmacy route, I would have gone into one of the other medical profession.
Optimist or pessimist?
Realist. Recent history shows a community pharmacy sector and government engaging in a bruising series of confrontations. I want to be optimistic. I believe pharmacists go into the profession to help patients through supporting them with their medicines, however everyone needs to be remunerated fairly for their labours. I hope the new contract kickstarts a regeneration process for the sector.
What are your ambitions for your career?
I want to be part of shaping the future of the community pharmacy sector. I’m quite idealistic and any opportunity which enables me to do this is where I want to go.