Today is World Pharmacists Day – a day to celebrate the contributions of pharmacists in many different settings, from community and hospital pharmacies to prison services and GP practices.
Pharmacists have a crucial role in the safe delivery and administration of medications, with vast roles and responsibilities – from advising staff on the safe and effective use and storage of medications to checking the quality of the medicines supply chain, answering queries from patients, providing health education, conducting medication reviews, medicines safety and reconciliation, managing in-possession medications, promoting antimicrobial stewardship and participating in projects to reduce medication errors and wastage.
To celebrate World Pharmacists Day, we’ve profiled Steven who works in secure environment about his pharmacy career.
Why did you decide on a career in pharmacy?
I had studied the sciences at A Level and really enjoyed them and wanted to find a career that incorporated them all!
When I spoke to the 6th form careers adviser, and she suggested Pharmacy and that (I forget the figure exactly, but it was along the lines of last year 1000s Pharmacist qualified and) after 6 months only 3 were unemployed, I was interested!
I have of course come to love it for more than simply providing stable employment and great science – see below 😊
In your daily work, what do you find most rewarding?
Working with others across the healthcare spectrum since joining the prison sector.
After working in community pharmacy for many years (which also has many positives/negatives) I have found this sector to be very collaborative. I am in the room next to the treatment and consultation rooms where nurses/prison guards/mental
health/managers/patients/Doctors constantly flutter in and out all with their own specific nuance. Pharmacy I find is involved at every turn from “simple” supply to advice/guidance to running clinics etc etc.
No two days are the same and your Pharmacy knowledge and also your knowledge of prison systems need to be on top form to provide the best service you can.
And what is most challenging?
Not the most challenging but I would like to make the point that innately Pharmacists and Pharmacy teams do not shout-loudly enough about the utterly amazing work they do day in day out. I hope to change this.
Sometimes Pharmacies run quietly and smoothly behind the scenes – greasing the wheel of very many other systems – the engine room of many a great clinic and patient interaction.
What do you think is the most important skill for a pharmacist to have?
Adaptable in the sense that Pharmacists work in many sectors i.e. Prison, Community, Hospital, PCN etc
And Knowledgeable in that throughout your day you will have queries across the whole spectrum of healthcare ie a phone call from the GP about an epilepsy dose, a query about the cost and benefit of supplying one product vs another, a prescription with an unlicensed dose that has been recommended by a consultant specialist … the list truly is endless.
You also need to know the rules! SOPs and Model Day are your friend!
What would you like others to understand about pharmacy?
They – like all of us …. just want to be loved 😊 ha sorry I could not resist.
Pharmacy is full of great people all with a desire to get things right first time and in a safe manner. Pharmacy wants to see better outcomes for patients and for healthcare teams.
Pharmacy wants things to be done right and sometimes that needs a moment for pause and considered thought and a quick check against best policy/practice/SOP.
This is for the benefit of everyone.