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Discover how we support pharmacy professionals like you

Hear from colleagues across the pharmacy profession about how being a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society helped them achieve the best outcomes for their patients.


Hayley Gorton

Hayley Gorton

Research Associate & community pharmacist

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

From the age of 14, I had decided I wanted to be a pharmacist. I was determined to follow my passion for science and to apply this to help people.  I was drawn to pharmacy after witnessing the irreplaceable support a local pharmacist gave a family member of mine when their child was unwell, due to a rare and complicated condition. I saw how the pharmacist followed the journey and had the potential to really impact on the day-to-day management. I was also intrigued because the medicines being used were selected because their side-effects were useful to manage the condition. I later completed my work experience with the same pharmacist and this affirmed my plans to be a pharmacist.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

Finding my name on the GPhC exam pass list and then the register.

What has been your biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

For me, the biggest challenge has been embracing the “grey” area. By that I mean: understanding that patients are not clinical guidelines and that the practice environment is not the “ideal world”.  In my teaching responsibilities, I endeavour to be honest about this and aid our students to begin to develop the decision-making thought processes required in practice. Balancing continuing practice alongside my research and teaching responsibilities has also required organisation and careful time management. 

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

RPS provides an essential network of support for me and I believe membership demonstrates my commitment to the profession. As a pre-registration pharmacist, I joined the RPS Black Country steering group and was able to meet inspirational pharmacists who were willing to support and encourage me. No formal mentorship was set up, but that is what it was. When I moved to Manchester, I was again able to meet local pharmacists via RPS Greater Manchester who I would not have otherwise met. I am now lead for RPS Greater Manchester. Over recent years, the virtual committees have become important to me and I now frequently interact with other RPS leaders and members through twitter. Through these networks, I was delighted to have been approached by RPS Support to mentor another newly qualified pharmacist who is also undertaking a PhD. That’s what a professional body is all about.


Ravi Sharma

Ravi Sharma

Programme Clinical Lead (Clinical Pharmacy), NHS England & Senior GP Practice Pharmacist (Prescriber)

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

I think it started during A-levels. I really enjoyed chemistry and biology, particularly intracellular processes and cellular signalling mechanisms. My passion for how medicines interacted in the body came from a careers talk from a local pharmacist. Was fascinated by how the pharmacist was able to translate complicated drug mechanisms into simple non-jargon terms that were easy for people to understand. Based on this, I decided to get some work experience for a few weeks over the summer in a community pharmacy near my home in North London. I was able to see the difference the pharmacy team was making to patient care and how they were able to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses. It was not long after this I decided to apply to do pharmacy as my degree at university.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

Proudest moment for me was becoming a pharmacist! Passing my pre-reg exam and getting onto the GPhC register.  Knowing that I am now able to make a real and positive difference to people’s lives on a day to day basis!

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

Change in any established organisation is difficult, particularly when the ‘status quo’ is ingrained and new ideas are not always understood. This is doubly hard when one’s age is seen as a sole marker of competence, obscuring the vision being put forward. My experience has shown me that those leaders who can embrace creative ideas regardless of where they originate benefit hugely from the innovation derived from a diverse and dynamic workforce.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you?  

  • Connects me to my profession
  • Provides leadership for the profession
  • Make me feel valued and supported
  • A leadership body that support, mentors and pushes the profession forward and in the right direction, aids public health and wellbeing. 

Emily Rose

Emily Rose

Rheumatology Specialist Pharmacist

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

As a lover of science, working with people and problem solving, a career in a medical profession seemed an attractive career option.  I opted for pharmacy as I had heard it was a career that offered a lot of flexibility, and this has proven to be very true.  Many of my peers have interesting job roles from very different career paths and you really can shape your future to suit your preferences.  I love the challenge of working alongside a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and using my expert knowledge and skills to help patients every day.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

Although it was a real honour to win the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s ‘I love my pharmacist’ competition in 2015, I think my proudest moment was in an individual patient consultation.  When a distressed patient who felt let down by medicine, cried in my clinic room because she felt so despondent and unable to care for her children, I had to complete a very difficult consultation and assess suitability for commencing biologic therapy.  Nothing will describe the pride I felt when the patient came bounding in to my clinic room 4 months later for her follow up assessment; she was like a different person.  She thanked me for taking the time to listen to her concerns, help her choose the most appropriate therapy, refer her to our specialist physiotherapist and clinical psychologist and provide the supportive ear she needed to discuss her concerns.  That is an example of what motivates me to be the best I can be in this incredible career.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

My biggest challenge was probably taking on the new post of a rheumatology specialist pharmacist having only been a rotational band 7 pharmacist for a year.  I commenced the prescribing course, had to set up urgent service development work and help the rheumatology team transition to a new hospital, all whilst learning clinical knowledge and the nuances of a primarily outpatient speciality.  I also had the challenge of newly starting in a specialist team with 8 consultants, 3 specialist nurses and no previous experience of a pharmacist in the team.  I had to gain the respect of the MDT whilst following a steep learning curve and treading carefully to not upset the apple cart too drastically in the first instance. 

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

I would never consider not being a member of our professional body!  We need a voice, leadership and resources that are offered by our society and should be proud to be members.  With the separation of the regulatory service, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have been able to become the supportive resource that perhaps was once overshadowed by its regulatory function. 


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Howard Rowe

Former Clinical Director for Medicines Management Cwm Taf University Health Board

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

I also wanted a job that I deemed to be of “value”. It had to be more than just earning a living. It had to contribute more to the wider society and thereby give me both motivation and very importantly satisfaction. By improving the health and wellbeing of patients it also offered me the notion of a role that had true value. 

What is your proudest pharmacy moment?

My proudest pharmacy moments are not specific instances in place or time. They are the outcome of actions, often over a long period, that produced benefits to patients, the service and the profession. 

One example would be the automation of dispensing in hospital pharmacy. A small group of chief pharmacists, including myself, lobbied Welsh Government with an outcome that resulted in every hospital pharmacy in Wales being funded for this development. The real success however was that automation freed pharmacist time for more clinical activities and contributed to the development of technician roles.

On a personal level, becoming a Fellow of the RPS Faculty gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. My practice had been assessed by peers in a well-governed system where there are no vested interests or relationships to cloud or contaminate the outcome.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

The biggest challenge was having a defined career pathway to follow. What did I need to do? How did I need to develop to be a really good senior pharmacist?

This is where the Faculty becomes hugely important. 

The Faculty now assesses the advanced pharmacy practice framework. It recognises advanced practice, it identifies what is needed to develop it further, it identifies competencies which need development in order to have a width of advanced practice. 

Why RPS membership is important to you?

Since the separation of the professional regulator role was taken from the RPS, with the creation of the GPhC, the RPS has stepped up to the plate as a professional leadership body.

Especially in Wales, it also does a lot of work in the background with Welsh Government and other influential organisations. The development of innovations such as pharmacists in GP surgeries does not happen by chance. 

The jewel in the crown of the RPS must be the development of the Faculty. This gives pharmacists, irrespective of the setting of their practice, a framework for professional development. It also gives recognition for the level of their practice. For patients, employers and the wider public it also provides and assurance that pharmacy is responding to an ever changing environment. As a patient and member of the public, pharmacists who are Faculty members give me the assurance I demand about the care I want, need and expect.


Emma Davies

Emma Davies

Advanced Pharmacy Practitioner in Pain Management

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

I chose pharmacy because after spending some time in the department at University Hospital of Wales, I knew it was far from predictable.  It was clear from the work being undertaken there, that pharmacy was an important profession and played a far greater role in patient care than I had ever realised up until then.  

What is your proudest pharmacy moment?

 I'm lucky that I work very closely with my patients to support them through difficult experiences and challenges.  This makes me party to some difficult moments but also times of great joy, perhaps when they have a breakthrough experience or achieve an activity they thought would never be possible again.  There are quieter moments too, when I have spent time talking to someone and they say "Thank you for listening."  We are fortunate to be in a position to have those conversations and spend time with people - it is a privilege to be allowed into people's lives and we should be careful with that opportunity.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

My biggest challenge has been and continues to be, acceptance of my position as a professional who has developed skills and knowledge, seen by some as 'not the place of a pharmacist.'  I'm aware this speaks more of others ignorance of the profession, the many and varied roles within it and the progress we have made in terms of specialism.

Pharmacy needs to be completely integrated into health care, but right now, it sometimes feel as though we're politely knocking on the door asking if it's okay to come in.  

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you?

The RPS is my professional body, my Royal College.  I can't imagine being a pharmacist and not being signed up to the RPS, they do so much work to promote my profession. They provide me with opportunities to develop as a person and a professional


Cathy Geeson

Cathy Geeson

NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

I became a pharmacist because of my interest in medicines, a desire to help and support patients, and ultimately to improve health outcomes.

What is your proudest pharmacy moment?

My proudest pharmacy moment was being awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship. This has given me the opportunity to combine my clinical and research interests, develop my skills, and deliver a project with the potential to improve the efficiency and safety of patient care.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

My biggest challenges have been keeping up-to-date and maintaining best practice which is where my RPS membership has been invaluable. Access to RPS publications, professional standards, and resources have informed my practice throughout my career.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

More recently I gained RPS Faculty membership, which supports my on-going personal development. RPS membership has also provided me with access to expert advice from the Research and Evaluation team, who have supported me throughout my NIHR fellowship.


Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith

Pharmacy manager

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

My decision to become a Pharmacist was guided by two of my passions in life, a love of the sciences and a desire to help others, and I can think of few other disciplines where these elements are so intimately integrated. It is such a pleasure to utilise my knowledge and skills and to collaborate with patients, carers and other healthcare professionals to achieve meaningful improvements in health outcomes. I have been excited to witness the many opportunities that are arising as a result of new roles for pharmacists in primary care, as independent prescribers and as consultant pharmacists. I have personally been fortunate to experience two exciting new fields of practice – working as a pharmacist in primary care and supporting medicines management in care homes through technology. 

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

I was proud and touched that my work in care homes was recognised at the annual Welsh Pharmacy Awards where I won the “Pharmaceutical Excellence Within The Care Home Setting” category in 2016.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

During my time as a primary care pharmacist it has, on occasions, been challenging to articulate the benefits of the roles to patient care and to the practice largely due to a sense of professional rivalry that can exist between healthcare professionals. I think it is fair to say that this is partly because we are less effective than we could be in promoting our unique skills within the healthcare system.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you?

Addressing the issue of how we articulate the role of the pharmacists to other healthcare professionals and patients has been a strong driver for me in continuing my RPS membership as I believe the RPS has a strategic vision for the profession and the means to communicate our value in supporting patients in their medicines needs.     


Daria Boyd

Daria Boyd

PHD Student & Locum pharmacist

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

I was on my first placement as a student nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital London on a cardiac ward. And I remember my mentor asked me why we gave one my patients furosemide. I vaguely knew it was to offload some fluid, so she told me to go read up about it in the BNF. And I was hooked – medication became exciting. The mechanisms of action, the doses, the indications, the interactions - I wanted to learn more. So, a few month later I changed my degree and haven’t looked back since. Of course, it is fantastic to have the knowledge I was able to obtain during my degree, but using it to make difference to patients’ care is what’s most important.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

Most recently, I handed out a weekly instalment prescription for an antidepressant to a patient, who was very frustrated at the idea of having to come every week to pick up the tablets. I asked the patient to see coming to the pharmacy, as an opportunity to talk to a healthcare professional rather than just to pick up the medication. I explained it’s a chance to discuss how they are getting on, if they are having side effects ,or have questions. The patient was really surprised but we were able to have an open discussion about mood improvement and how it may take some time after starting the tablets. I felt happy I was able to change a patient’s perception of a pharmacist role within the community and potentially create a new point of call in their support network.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

The biggest challenge I face is learning how to balance my PhD with pharmacy practice. I struggle with confidence the most. Because I don’t practice as often as my colleagues, I can feel worried about going into a new pharmacy as a locum and most likely facing scenarios I haven’t before. I want to deliver the best service possible to all of my patients and practice and confidence are essential to that.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

 Gaining confidence is where the RPS helps me the most. I rely on them for the professional support. On top of the wealth of information and CPD material available to help me grow and develop as a pharmacist, they have put me in touch with a senior colleague, as part of a mentoring scheme. Hayley who is in the same boat, but few years ahead has lots of experience, tips, advice and support. She has faced the same challenges, so she was instantly able to point me in the right direction. 


Josh Miller

Josh Miller

3rd year MPharm student

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Why did you get into pharmacy?

What initially drew me to study pharmacy was the integration of physical chemistry and modern day health care. To be, quite literal, the scientists on the high street, experts in medicines are so greatly relied upon in today’s society was another attractive feature.

Over the past few years pharmacy has accelerated to becoming one of the most talked about sectors, and I am sure that this evolution will continue over the next few  years. Within my time at university so much has already changed, and this again is something that interested me with pharmacy as there is such a vital role for technology, and with any boys love for gadgets and tech, pharmacy seemed to be the perfect fit!

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

I would have to say my proudest moment was being a shortlisted finalist for Scottish Pharmacists' “Pharmacist of the Future Award’. It was such a sense of pride to be recognised by a profession that I hadn't even become a part of yet. I have been lucky enough to be involved in some amazing opportunities and to be invited to attend the awards evening, and meet some incredible students and pharmacists alike was truly awe inspiring. I believe that from speaking to the leaders in pharmacy today and the leaders of tomorrows pharmacy, it is indeed an extremely exciting time to be a part of the profession.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

I believe my biggest challenge so far is adapting to university life, and trust me after 3 years I am still getting there! Managing the stresses and work load of a masters course, which is predominately science based is a constant challenge but a challenge that I enjoy facing and always look forward to returning to in September.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you?

RPS is a rock and stronghold which although not always present at the forefront is constantly there in my mind. It's a place where I have received amazing opportunities within my short 3 years studying pharmacy, and have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people also! The resources available for students are invaluable and the networking opportunities are constant. It's a great sense of pride to be a member of such a world renowned society and one which has so many influential and positive role models within pharmacy.


Sheena Patel

Sheena Patel

Lead Anticoagulation Pharmacist

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

Pharmacists play a pivotal role in helping patients get better, with medicines optimisation, medicines information and education.  It is a diverse role offering many career paths e.g. optimising patient care, research, innovation and transformation, and working in broad healthcare environments such as hospital, community or industry sector.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

I enjoy pharmacy for not only the lives I have touched but because of the lives that have touched me.

As part of a multidisciplinary team, I continue to strive to reduce hospital associated venous thromboembolism (VTE) events. With changes to practice on improving VTE prevention measures e.g. feedback on VTE risk assessment completion rates, monitoring of patients at risk of VTE with appropriate thromboprophylaxis, providing VTE patient information, introduction of a missed medication doses report, providing anticoagulant stewardship with continuous education.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

One of my challenges has been to remove anticoagulant medications administered subcutaneously, also known as the low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs), off the ‘red-list of medications’ where hospital doctors should not ask GPs to continue prescribing.  LMWHs may be offered to patients who are unable to have oral anticoagulation therapy for a condition requiring anticoagulation e.g. cancer patients, pregnant women.  This is currently being reviewed with clinical commissioning groups to ensure seamless transfer of patient care between various healthcare settings.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

The RPS membership provides professional growth and supported me to achieve Advanced Stage II Faculty member status.  There is a growing body of resources and professional standards to support everyday practice, with networking opportunities.


Rebecca Elliot

Rebecca Elliot

Pre-registration trainee pharmacist

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Why did you become a pharmacist?

Pharmacists can have a huge impact on patient care from treating minor ailments, preventing adverse drug reactions and advising on appropriate treatment plans. I always wanted to work in healthcare and enjoyed learning about the science behind medicines. I am enjoying applying my knowledge from university into practice and developing key clinical skills on the ward.

What's your proudest pharmacy moment?

My proudest pharmacy moment would be winning the BPSA 'Responding to symptoms' competition, which was open to all pharmacy students in Britain.

I was also delighted to be asked to distribute a guide that I had produced during my pre-registration training year on how to use the BNF. This was disseminated to non-medical prescribers within my Trust.

What has been the biggest challenge in your pharmacy career?

My biggest challenge this year has been managing my workload and studying for the pre-registration exam. I have enjoyed making full use of learning opportunities in the workplace then consolidating this knowledge at the end of the day. However, this needs to be balanced with pre-registration exam revision.

Why is being a member of the RPS important to you? 

RPS membership provides opportunities to develop my learning, through CPD articles in the Clinical Pharmacist and Pharmaceutical Journal. I have also attended the RPS pre-registration mock exam which proved to be very useful in guiding my revision and highlighting outstanding learning needs.


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