By Hadeel Mohamed, PCN Lead Pharmacist
After qualifying from The University of Manchester in 2010, I started my hospital pre-registration role and then continued working in a hospital Trust for the next five years. At the time, I thought I would always be a hospital pharmacist and switching sector was not on the cards. This changed, however, when we relocated to another town, and I suddenly found myself looking for a new job.
Taking the leap
Whilst searching for my next hospital role, I came across an advert for a practice pharmacist within a GP locality – this was the first time these practices were employing a pharmacist. As I did not know anyone at that time in a similar role, I remember wondering, what would they need a pharmacist to do on a day-to-day basis? But, after some research and excited by the prospect of this new challenge, I went ahead and applied anyway (despite having no experience in primary care)!
What a pharmacist does in general practice
Fast forward to today and I have been working in general practice for six years. It was not long after moving into primary care that I realised how much a pharmacist could do as part of the multi-disciplinary team; complex medication reviews, quality improvement through reviewing prescribing processes, high-risk drug monitoring, answering queries from patients and other clinicians, and with experience become an autonomous practitioner managing chronic diseases. During this time, I have achieved my independent prescribing qualification, and after taking on the role of PCN lead pharmacist following the formation of PCNs in 2019, I completed the CPPE training pathway.
With this position, I have had the opportunity to be involved in recruiting pharmacy professionals and creating a PCN pharmacy team, which we have cultivated together. Mentoring new staff and providing support around the challenges that come with changing sector has been a rewarding experience. There are so many opportunities in primary care now and pharmacy professionals have become integral to practice teams.
If you are considering a role in general practice, my advice would be do not let an absence of direct experience in practice put you off, many skills we develop are completely transferrable, so the key thing is identifying this early on.
Find out more from the Primary Care Pharmacy Expert Advisory Group.