by Andrew Hogan, MPharmS
Having worked within pharmacy for nearly 20 years and qualified as a pharmacist in 2005 one theme repeats itself through the experiences, challenges and successes I’ve seen throughout this time, “Communication and relationship building” is everything. Having worked across differing sectors of pharmacy including secondary care, primary care and community pharmacy throughout my career the key principal of good communication and relationship building has been a universal constant.
Good communication by healthcare professionals facilitates better health outcomes for patients and ensures you are able to progress as a healthcare professional throughout the journey of lifelong learning. Being a good communicator and having the skills to build strong relationships with others will ensure you have the help and support necessary during your professional career.
Throughout the varying roles during my career so far, including management roles, training roles, and most recently qualifying as an independent prescriber the principle of good communication has enabled me to enlist the support of others and has been a key enabler to success and ultimately led to better patient care.
As a pharmacist I’ve seen the profession rapidly change over the years, now more than ever pharmacists are integrated into every major part of our healthcare system and have demonstrated what value we can add to delivering great advances in healthcare outcomes for patients.
With an ever-increasing expectation from us as pharmacy professional’s further education is a vital part of our careers from day one. Looking back, I would have benefitted from incorporating reflective learning at a much earlier stage in my own career. Having returned to higher education recently to study and qualify as an independent prescriber, reflective learning/practice and development of a reflective portfolio of evidence was the most rewarding continued professional development I’ve carried out to date. To adopt that style of learning particularly with a reflective element, earlier in my career would have been beneficial to both myself and my patients.
My challenge to any newly qualified pharmacist about to embark on what will be a very rewarding and challenging career would be, “How are you going to use effective communication skills to unlock your potential as a healthcare professional?” Establishing a philosophy of life long reflective learning and practice from the outset of your career will be intrinsic to your success.
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