13th August 2018
From a pre-registration experience in hospital I went into research, where I had the opportunity to participate in the management of clinical trials and projects, looking at the application of personalised medicine for better diagnostics tools and better treatments based on individual genetic variations.
Thinking that I would continue my career in clinical research, the unexpected turns of life brought me into community pharmacy where I spent 5 years loving the patient facing role. Unfortunately I still felt very limited in what I could do and I started my postgraduate studies in community and clinical pharmacy with the idea of pursuing new opportunities and have more impact on patient care.
The opportunity finally arose when I joined the Prison Service, a multidisciplinary environment where my role evolved very quickly whilst closely working with prescribers to continuously improve the provision of therapeutic services.
A list of my day to day responsibilities will summarise my experience well whilst working in the GP practice within the Prison setting, which is attached to a pharmacy dispensary that I also need to attend.
Demonstrating the benefits of any time spent out of the dispensary was extremely hard (as I had been primarily employed as a pharmacist for the pharmacy within the prison)
Time management and organisational skills against my continuously increasing workload and to finish my shift on time!
I had to find more efficient ways of working that would allow me to ensure patients were for example reviewed and monitored ‘in bulk’ rather than incidentally found during the clinical screening of their prescription. So I started to learn more about systematic reporting and clinical audit which would facilitate the identification of patients that required for example a blood test, or whose clinical review was due. This saved a lot of time in the day to day workload.
Keep calm and carry on demonstrating your value. No matter how many barriers you face and how discouraging it can sometimes be, you will always find a solution with perseverance and support.
Do not allow anyone to tell you different and be proud of the skills you can bring as a Pharmacist, who are without a doubt complementary (and essential) to those of nurses, doctors and other allied healthcare professionals in increasing access to an efficient healthcare system and preventative treatment, enhancing patient safety, improving the monitoring of patients or facilitating the screening whilst reducing pharmaceutical waste and unnecessary visits or admissions to hospital.
I have so many projects in mind, several others drafted or started but never finished. So I had to sit and think what I would require before I could continue.
I am therefore undertaking self-directed learning in project management and the service has also agreed to allow time for training opportunities that will allow me to appropriately change manage and more consistently implement the required adjustments.
I need to focus on enhancing my skills in project and change management to prevent me from leaving plans buried under a pile of things to do.
Apart from the obvious clinical skills and competences required for a safe provision of healthcare, I would highlight the need of skills that facilitate collaborative working relationships (influencing skills, persuasion, motivation, negotiation) that will make it possible for any designed action plan to be appropriately implemented and communicated to all the members of the team whose work may be affected by the changes.
I would also suggest enhanced clinical audit skills that will ensure a well-structured and accurate review of practice and results against agreed standards for appropriate identification of where practices should be improved.
The i2i Network has been key in my development as a practice pharmacist as it has coached me to more efficiently prioritise the patients that would benefit the most from my input, producing a drastic change in how I would implement monitoring services and the design of medication review clinics.
The ABCDE methodology for implementing change has helped me to bring more ideas from my pile of papers, into delivering a meaningful clinic that could also demonstrate the outcomes achieved.
I could not be more grateful for the i2i network to deliver exactly what is required to empower the right practice pharmacist workforce.
I would have appreciated to have learnt the ABCDE methodology when I started 3 years ago as it would have made my journey a lot easier (less headaches and fewer unpaid hours) and would have meant by now that more patients had benefited from a wider scope of clinical reviews.
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