Community Pharmacists can be Clinical Fellows too

By Sarah Crawshaw, Clinical Fellow, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer's Clinical Fellows Scheme

The largest proportion of the pharmacy workforce work in community pharmacy, so why is it that we don’t put ourselves forward for Clinical Fellow schemes?

Out of the 14 Fellows on the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellows Scheme in England, I am the only one with a community pharmacy background.

For a sector that represents around 70% of the pharmacy workforce, this is something we need to change! Pharmacists from our sector  are also the pharmacy leaders of the future. Fellowships allow us to demonstrate at a national level the benefits our sector offers patients and help to make a difference to every single patient who walks through the doors of their local community pharmacy, not just our own.

As part of the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow Scheme, you work in different host organisations for a 12-month period ‘ alongside senior leaders, leading on key projects which have a direct impact on primary care and community pharmacy.

You can do this too! I’d love to see more colleagues step forward and apply.  The skills you’ve gained working in community pharmacy are ideally suited to a Fellowship role. As a community pharmacist I was the leader of a team of people (sometimes in new locations) and responsible for the safe day to day running of the pharmacy. I had to build rapport with staff and understand how to listen, persuade and negotiate with each individual so that tasks were completed effectively. Alongside this, I supported staff development and was responsible for their education and training.

Being organised and prioritising time to ensure that urgent and important tasks are completed is a key day to day skill in community pharmacy. Often, I was faced with doing this in high pressure environments where I had challenges and uncertainties that I had to overcome and deal with in a logical manner. We are the masters of multi-tasking! Running alongside this was the need to ensure patient safety was maintained and to continually seek out ways in which this could be improved and how risk could be effectively managed. All of these are things that many of you will be doing every day, so don’t underestimate the skillset we have and how you can transfer these.

Community pharmacy has a crucial role in our health system. We need passionate people to come forward and advocate for the sector, shaping future developments but also bringing new ideas to the table of what the sector is capable of.

So, what are you waiting for…? Register your interest for recruitment into the next cohort


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