Why visible leadership matters

During LGBTQ+ history month, two deputy chief pharmacists tell us what visible leadership means to them

Rajiv Pandya, Deputy Chief Pharmacist Dudley & Walsall MH Trust

For me, leadership is about being able to be authentic and to allow my personality to be intrinsic to my leadership style. As a professional, feeling able to show the whole of my identity hasn’t always been easy and I have often struggled in terms of whether to be open about being a gay man in the workplace.  I’ve worked in a whole plethora of teams within the NHS and I found that how comfortable I felt about being open about my sexuality differed significantly depending on the organisation I worked in.

One of my most significant negative interactions was when working as a pharmacist visiting a GP surgery to support with their medicines optimisation work streams.

I remember the homophobic conversations in the room which made me feel uncomfortable and I remember almost feeling that I had recoiled into a shell of who I truly was. I remember feeling physically uncomfortable, which impacted on my interactions with the staff and my focus to carry out the task at hand.

On the other hand, the culture within my current organisation is very different. A culture of openness and equality and diversity is high up on the trust’s agenda.

I feel I am able to be my authentic self, which I believe brings richness to my leadership and helps me to establish meaningful professional relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.  Ultimately, I feel I work more effectively in my role which benefits my team and leads to better patient care. I feel empowered within my organisation and I have also taken on the role as chair of the trust’s LGBTQ+ committee, which comes at an exciting time as we begin to prepare our plans for Birmingham Pride.

I am likely to be one of many LGBTQ+ people who have had these experiences and this is why I believe visible diversity and inclusion within leadership is so important. We need more visible LGBTQ+ role models to ensure our workforce feels empowered and enabled to shine as their authentic selves as it will lead to increased confidence, motivation and ultimately positively impact the quality of care we provide to our patients.




Sam Malton, Deputy Chief Pharmacist, University Hospitals Derby & Burton

I work in a teaching hospital. I am also gay. I also have type 1 diabetes. I’ve also struggled with my mental health. Sounds a lot? Perhaps, but there’s not much I can do to change any of it. Instead I accept the challenges and do not allow them to hold me back.

I’ve had a varied and interesting career to date and leadership has been at the heart of it. I’ve watched leaders and their styles over the years and this has helped to develop my own leadership.  Interacting with leaders of other professions, with whom I work closely has also taught me a lot.

I can honestly say that being gay has never affected my career. My sexuality has always been accepted, from being a student, up to the present day. I was worried at university about the demographic of my peers being different to mine, but I was lucky to have a large and diverse friendship group. I’ve watched gay leaders in pharmacy with respect and really feel that sexuality has been a non-issue in my career.

In 2016 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes out of the blue. This led to a very difficult episode of anxiety and depression, having lived with anxiety all of my life. I felt like my career was over and could not imagine ever leaving the comfort of my role at the time. I knew that I wanted to be a leader and develop further – but could not see how I could ever do that.

Thanks to support from various leaders, I was able to get back to normal over a few months. I began to develop my leadership again and thanks to visible and honest leaders who showed interest in me, I took the next step in my career.

In all this I learned a valuable lesson that leaders are not perfect. They are human and have the same individual challenges as everyone else. I was surprised to learn how many leaders struggle with anxiety. It’s taught me that with the right mind set anything is possible. As a leader I can be confident and anxious at the same time. I can do my job and not worry about hypos, so long as I have sweets in my pocket. I can openly talk about my male fiancé and not be judged. I feel privileged to be in this position and to have had the same chances as everyone else.

Find out more about our work on Inclusion and Diversity

My experience at the RPS Mock Exam Event

by Alya Jassim, Pre-registration trainee 2020

The first day of the event started with an introduction to the course, outlining the important changes that we needed to be aware of, such as the updated de-regulation of medicines. The lecturer, Nadia Bukhari, was great at explaining information and giving lots of little hints and tips along the way. The pre-registration manual evidences were again put to light to ensure the topics were fully covered. We then moved on to calculations. There were quick-fire questions to get us warmed up and I liked how the calculations were categorised into 12 categories highlighting the possible questions that the exam could potentially ask, with slight variations. It made things much simpler. A reflection after each set of questions was particularly useful, as we had the opportunity to think about where we may have gone wrong in the calculation.

There were a few ice breaker sessions which opened conversations with other pre-registration trainees and proved great for networking opportunities. After the break, there was a very thorough clinical session about high risk drugs. The key points were again highlighted, and the speaker did a great job at challenging us to think at a deeper level, which gave me a very clear indication about how in-depth my revision needed to be.

After lunch we had another clinical session, however this was slightly more interactive, with a case study of a patient that had several commodities and risk factors. This was particularly useful as it allowed me to look at a case with a more holistic approach rather than look at one aspect. It gave us the opportunity to speak to other pre-registration trainees and discuss our answers. This was a very enjoyable session.

We then moved on to OTC treatments, another interactive session that I enjoyed. There were lots of example questions that could be asked in the assessment, which I used as guidance about what I should be looking out for when studying OTC medicines.

Day Two was the big day where the assessment took place. The assessment started after a very informative law and ethics lecture. The lecturer, Atif Shamim, gave lots of examples that really resonated and were very applicable to real life. I found it very helpful how the references to the MEP were highlighted on each slide.

Paper 1 was the hour-long calculations paper and then after lunch, we sat the second paper, which was the clinical paper. The feedback session was helpful, as I got to see where I was going wrong and what gaps I needed to address in my revision.

Overall, the experience I had at the event was extremely insightful. The information was well organised, the lecturers were very helpful and I found them greatly inspiring. I highly recommend the event for all pre-registration trainees, an absolute must!

If you’d like to find out more about the RPS Pre-Reg events taking place across the country, take a look at: https://www.rpharms.com/events/pre-registration-mock-exam-and-revision-course

Women in Science

By Dr Amira Guirguis

My entry into Science and Research was a long one as I initially trained and worked as an accountant. After becoming a mother, I decided that I wanted to help people from a healthcare perspective and I undertook the daunting task of training to be a Pharmacist in the UK. I say daunting because I was an Arabic/French speaker but I loved science. Becoming a Pharmacist – it was the best move I ever made! 

Working within community and hospital pharmacies taught me that building a rapport with patients can be magical and can significantly enhance overall patient outcomes.

During my career, I encountered patients chewing Khat claiming that it provides them with alertness and enhance their libido. I encountered patients who self-medicated with cannabis for pain relief. I was formally asked by coroners to comment on why death of a patient who has taken novel psychoactive substances, the so called “legal highs”, could not be prevented.

This failure prompted me to think that despite being an expert in medicines, my knowledge of these new emerging drugs and herbal supplements sold over the internet was limited. So I undertook a PhD in Pharmacy and began my career in Academia at the University of Hertfordshire and now as MPharm Programme Director at the new Pharmacy degree in Swansea which is now being provisionally accredited.

Through my research, I have taken the initiative to a new concept, providing insight among pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in the dynamic area of substance misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). My research focussed on how to identify these drugs to inform clinical decision-making and prevent pre-mature deaths.

I believe I represent the many women who try to balance the Research/Teaching careers as well as being a single mother. I do get a buzz from publishing my research from my group and international collaborations, even more so, when you can see your research shaping policy not only in the UK but other countries such as Australia!

I would like to feel that I can be a role model for many women in academia and one which many women can relate to, and in that perspective, I am also a mentor at Swansea University and RPS, mentoring 3 undergraduate students and 3 pre-registration pharmacists so that they can learn from my experiences in pharmacy.   

As I write this blog, I am preparing for a visit to the Middle East where I will be talking to school children about pharmacy and the varied career opportunities for pharmacists – I am really excited to be given this opportunity as I feel many children would choose pharmacy if they had the opportunity to meet pharmacists earlier on in their educational journey.

I think my enthusiasm for pharmacy is infectious as my daughter has become a fully qualified pharmacist and works in hospital pharmacy – may be it is in our genes, but for me it took a little longer to express itself!

A Reflection On The RPS Pre-Registration January 2020 Mock Exam Event

Pardis Amin-Eshghi

Your Pre-Reg year is a tough one, no question: finally putting all of your hard-earned knowledge to work in the real world. And you still have your Pre-Reg exams to pass at the end of it!

Fortunately, the RPS offers events across the country to ensure you get into practice with a minimum of sleepless nights!

These interactive sessions look at real-life examples to help you pass your exams and be ready for practice. They’re an invaluable opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses, highlighting key areas to focus your revision on.

At every event you’ll hear from experienced tutors with top tips, both for exams and challenging practice situations. You’ll also get to know fellow Pre-Reg pharmacists, as well as recruiters looking for their next generation of top pharmacists. We spoke to RPS member Pardis Amin-Eshghi, who told us all about her experience of the two-day event in London.

“I heard about the upcoming RPS event from my tutor, swiftly booked my place and then attended a weekend of intense, focused learning on how to pass my pre-registration exam in order to become a qualified pharmacist.

When it comes down to how to prepare, neither the tutors nor the GPhC recommend making your revision an exercise on how much one can memorise from the resource materials (and there is a lot to memorise). It’s more about how well one can apply that knowledge to the everyday scenarios found in practice, whether it be in hospital or community pharmacy.

The Pre-Reg event is split into two days.  Day 1 revolves around clinical lectures, case studies, calculations, and (my personal favourite) OTC. During the sessions, it was great to have the opportunity to bounce off ideas and then network with the other pre-reg’s. In addition to this, the calculation section (hosted by Simon Harris) involved going through all 12 types of pharmaceutical calculation questions listed in the framework – all in a succinct, step-by-step manner.

Being a big clinical buff, one of the highlights of the event was a clinical lecture hosted by Nadia Bukhari (who’s also the series managing editor of ‘Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions’, a series that has been a staple in my exam practice). I was enthralled by the way the subject matter was taught, with the key take-home message being that this exam is checking our depth in knowledge. When tackling a scenario, ask yourself, e.g. “Why should a patient be on this medication?”, “Why does this medication cause this side effect?”, “What is the result of this interaction?”, “What other medications should this patient be on?” etc.

Day 2 commenced with an interactive session on Law & Ethics, with the main event being the mock paper (done under strict exam conditions, reflective of the actual day), with the questions representative of the style of questions provided by the GPhC. Once both papers were complete, they went through the answers and the rationale behind them. In the end, we got to take the paper/ resource packs home to go over again, along with our booklet of the slides used throughout the event. Overall, I found these events to be pivotal for the learning and development of any pre-reg that’s on the final hurdle to qualify as a day 1 pharmacist.”

If you’d like to take some of the pain out of your Pre-Reg and boost your chances of passing, there are RPS Pre-Reg events across the country – find out more at :https://www.rpharms.com/events/pre-registration-mock-exam-and-revision-courses

Mentoring is not just about asking an expert

By Helen Middleton, MSc (Education), FFRPS, FPharmS

Mentoring provides opportunities for pharmacists to obtain guidance and support at any time in their career. Those who are new to the profession, changing sector of practice, dealing with difficult work situations or developing a career plan often enlist the help of a mentor.

Mentoring is traditionally defined as “a relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or knowledgeable person”. However, there are other definitions of mentoring which describe the mentor’s role to facilitate reflection and learning in relation to the mentee’s agenda rather than acting as an expert or adviser

A mentor supports and encourages another to manage their own development in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the professional they want to be”.  Eric Parslow, The Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring

By taking this approach I do not need to be more experienced that my mentee. It is also not necessary for me to be specialised in his or her area of practice. This approach opens the door for mentees to learn with a wider range of mentors; for example, I have been successfully mentored by a dietitian and even by the director of an art gallery!

Anyone can be a mentor provided they have good communication skills, are able to use a variety of different questioning techniques, are willing to listen and put the mentee’s needs first and view the time spent with their mentee as a valued investment. I hope that this will empower pharmacists who don’t consider themselves as ‘experts’ to sign up to be a Mentor on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society mentoring platform and contribute to the development of other pharmacists.

The four stages of mentoring are:

Getting together involves finding a suitable mentor. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society mentoring platform launched to members in October 2019 facilitates easy and appropriate matching of mentor to mentee. When you join the platform as a Mentor – you create an online profile which describes your experience and what you can offer as a Mentor. Mentees create an online profile which describes what support they are looking for. Then the mentee searches for a Mentor who matches their needs, e.g. the mentee might want to change sector of practice and look for short term mentoring from someone who already works in that sector including CV building and interview practice. Or they might be looking for a longer term mentoring relationship to develop leadership or research skills. The mentoring platform provides a list of potential Mentors and the mentee can view potential Mentors’ profiles, decide on a preferred Mentor/s and send a request for mentoring via the platform.

The first meeting between a Mentor and mentee is a way for you both to check the compatibility of the relationship. You should discuss your preferred mentoring and learning styles with each other, to make sure that you understand how the relationship might work. I ask the mentee two key questions: “How would you define mentoring?” and “What do you want and expect from a mentor?” Mentoring is likely to be ineffective if the mentee is seeking advice and guidance (a directive approach) but the mentor intends to empower the mentee to find their own solutions through questioning and reflection (a non-directive approach). In these situations, it is better for the mentee to search for an alternative Mentor using the RPS mentoring platform. 

All too often mentoring relationships miss the vital step of getting to know each other before launching straight into discussing difficult work situations or developing a career plan. Taking time to get to know the “whole person” (rather than his or her professional persona only) at the start of the mentoring relationship is necessary to establish rapport and trust, otherwise mentees can feel uncomfortable disclosing information. In my opinion, the first and second stages of mentoring are the most important in determining the success of a mentoring relationship. Get these initial aspects right and you will be well on the way to fulfilling the next step: learning together. I believe shared learning within the mentoring relationship brings many benefits for the mentor as well as the mentee.

The final stage is saying goodbye, since all good things must come to an end. My motto is: “Mentoring is like Red Bull — it gives you wings!” One of the hardest things for mentors to do is to let go and let their mentees fly. I always like to end by looking back over the mentoring relationship together and celebrating success.

Join the RPS mentoring platform today and find your perfect match
It’s easy to sign up and the mentoring platform facilitates easy and appropriate matching of mentor to mentee. 

You need to decide what you would like a Mentor to support you with. You can then select a Mentor based on their profile of skills, experience and interests.

Sign up on www.rpharms.com/mentoring 

Parental leave and returning to work

by Elen Jones, Director for RPS Wales, and Robbie Turner, RPS Director of Pharmacy and Member Experience

Elen Jones

Elen: Swapping the baby wipes, nappies and the bottles for policies, business plans and strategic meetings.

Maternity leave is over. In a blink of an eye, my baby boy is babbling away and walking round the furniture. He’s nine months, I just about feel like I’m getting to grips with being a mum of two and all of a sudden, it’s time to go back to work.

It’s been amazing to spend so much time with the boys; watching the little one develop and being able to take my eldest to school every day as he starts nursery has been brilliant. On the flip side, it’s often felt chaotic. The demands of two children are something else!

Three weeks into maternity leave I attended an interview and was fortunate enough to get a new role as Director of RPS Wales. 

It’s such a privilege to be returning to work and starting this role. I definitely had huge anxiety during the days leading up to my return. How will we cope with getting the boys to nursery and all be out the door by 8am? How will I catch up on the last 9 months? RPS think I’m the right person for the job, but what will members and my team really think? Impostor syndrome was creeping in! I did check out the RPS Return to Practice guide which helped allay some of my worries. I’ve been back in work for two weeks, and I miss my boys very much. Fortunately, my youngest has settled into nursery quite well (better than his big brother did!)

If I’m really honest, I’m actually feeling more like me again. I’m back to feeling more in control, enthused by the work and by my colleagues.  I’m full of ideas, getting out there and speaking to like-minded pharmacists. I’ve caught up with lots of our members already, everyone’s been so kind and supportive.

The sleepless nights unfortunately don’t stop when you return to work, but I don’t mind them as much now, time with the boys has become more precious. I so look forward to getting back from work to their big smiles and hugs.

So, a big thank you to all my colleagues and our amazing members for all the support and your patience while I’ve been away! I look forward to working with you all to make sure RPS and pharmacy continue to go from strength to strength.

Robbie Turner

Robbie: This year I’m going to get an extra three months off work. And, I’ve been surprisingly anxious about it.

Not that pre-holiday anxious when you’re trying to work out exactly how much ludicrously expensive sun cream to pack so you don’t need to bring any back with you. No, it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe but I bet there are millions or people (mainly women) who have experienced it even more deeply than me.

My partner Ben and I are soon (everything crossed) going to adopt two children. We’ve been aiming to make this a reality for over a year now. A big thank you to work friends and colleagues who have given me support and advice over the last year. Your words of encouragement have been hugely helpful. But, nobody warned me about this bit – preparing for paternity leave.

I know we’re lucky at RPS to have a good paternity leave entitlement. As part of our work on inclusion and diversity we identified that our gender pay gap was too high and introducing paternity pay was one of the tools we put in place to start to be a better employer for both men and women. Check out this article “Men’s parental leave is key to women’s progression

I’d like to think that I’ve always been supportive of women (and I think it has always been women who’ve taken any form of parental leave in my teams) when they announce the news that they are pregnant. I’ve cried a few times, but that’s always been with excitement rather than thinking about covering their maternity leave! I know this isn’t the experience of lots of women and that’s one of the reasons why I’m committed to taking my full paternity allowance. What I’ve never considered is what could be going through an expectant mother’s mind when they’re thinking about taking parental leave. And I now have a small insight into both their perceptions AND the realities..

I work with a great team who are brilliant at their jobs.  Even then, I’m worried about the added pressure me going off for three months will put on them.  BUT, when I really reflect, my main worry is the complete opposite. It’s that I will get found out as a bit of a fraud. That everyone will cope just fine without me or (arghhhhh) that it will be even better when I’m not here interfering and distracting people. Will I still have a job at the end of it all? How much will the world of pharmacy have moved on – will I be able to catch back up?

So, if I’m feeling like this – a (fairly confident), white man, in a senior role, only going on paternity leave for three months – then what must it be like for others who don’t have the same privilege of gender, colour, or seniority facing up to a year away from the work place?

Now, when women (and increasingly, men) tell me their great news about their pregnancy or adoption I’ll be just as excited but I’ll also understand how stressful planning for parental leave can be. Wish me luck!

Are you returning to practice? Check out our Return to Practice guide which is packed full of practical advice and tips to help you return to the workplace with confidence.

Help us tell your stories

By Sandra Gidley, RPS President

Pharmacists are highly trained and knowledgeable health professionals. We are available without appointment in our local communities and are on hand in our hospitals to advise patients and doctors on the safe and effective use of medicine.  Many people really value and often rely on their pharmacist to help to keep them well, so I was disappointed to see an opportunity to highlight the valuable role they play completely missed by ITV on its This Morning show last week.

And I was obviously not alone. Many people were moved to raise their concerns with Ofcom, with over 2,300 complaints made over the weekend. It’s no surprise to me that so many people felt so strongly. As pharmacists we are committed to supporting people to live healthy lives, to advise and treat many of the illnesses and conditions that they face. What did surprise me though was how out of touch and misinformed the guests on the show were about what pharmacists actually do.

For some, a big part of the role may be dispensing prescriptions and other medicines, but there is so much more to our jobs. One of the privileges of my position is that I see first-hand that pharmacists are going the extra mile every day. Pharmacists make sure that people – whether they are suffering from a long-term condition, fighting a one-off illness or perfectly healthy – are receiving the best quality of care and medical information possible.

There is strong evidence for our role in helping people to stop smoking and we are well equipped to advise about alcohol use and weight management in a sensitive and discreet way. We can help people stay healthy, avoid having to visit their GP and stay out of hospital, we support the earlier detection of long-term conditions, and we provide easy access to expert advice on medicines. We work in the community, hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, prisons and lots of other sectors. And I could go on….

RPS has taken immediate action to counter the comments made last Friday and you can be assured that we will continue to champion the role of pharmacists, challenging misconceptions and promoting the great work that you do day in and day out.

But we can’t do this without you. We need you to tell us your stories, what you do every day, so we can shine a light on the profession’s achievements. Get in touch on TwitterInstagram or Facebook and share your  stories using #WeArePharmacy.

Together, we are pharmacy.

Championing the wellbeing of the profession

Pharmacist Support Trustees and Staff Chief Executive, Danielle Hunt

By Danielle Hunt, Pharmacist Support

For those unfamiliar with Pharmacist Support – we’re the profession’s independent charity supporting pharmacists and their families, former pharmacists and pharmacy students in times of need.

In the past 10 years we’ve seen the number of acts of support the charity has been called upon to provide increase from over 700 in 2008 to over 7,000 in 2018. As we’ve grown and developed as a charity – so have the pressures. Although this is something we’ve been monitoring over the years through enquiries and service use, in May of this year we felt that the time was right to reach out to the profession once again, and to ask more generally about the issues and the challenges causing you the most stress today.

Through an online survey and series of in-depth interviews you told us that you needed support with stress at work, with work-life balance and with managing your wellbeing. In October we joined forces with the RPS as part of their workforce wellbeing campaign to dig a little deeper into these issues. You highlighted that this stress was linked to unrealistic expectations, leading to concerns around making mistakes and burnout.

Back in 2013 the charity recognised a need for more proactive support and following receipt of a large legacy from Pharmacist Robert Wardley, set about researching, piloting and launching a new wellbeing service. This service – delivered in a workshop format – consisted of information to help individuals understand the importance of wellbeing, recognise the signs and symptoms of stress in themselves and others and to provide tools and techniques to help manage those pressures. To date this service – now made up of workshops covering resilience, time management and assertiveness, webinars and fact sheets – has supported thousands of individuals (students and pharmacists) across the profession – almost 5,000 acts of wellbeing support in total.

Another part of this wellbeing support is our Listening Friends stress helpline. Staffed by trained volunteers who are pharmacists, this service provides a listening ear to individuals struggling with a range of personal and professional issues. In the last 10 years these dedicated volunteers have made over 2,700 calls to colleagues in stress & been able to help them navigate their way through many challenging situations.

Monitoring and understanding these pressures helps us ensure the charity’s services remain relevant and useful and the information we’ve gathered and you’ve provided through these surveys has informed the development our new 5 year strategy. Moving forward Pharmacist Support will be looking to further develop and shape our proactive wellbeing support and will aim to champion the wellbeing of those in the pharmacy profession alongside partners like the RPS.

So, thank you for your input over this past year. We look forward to sharing our new strategy with you and hope that you’ll join us on this new phase of our journey!

Your Mental Health Matters

By Ravi Sharma, Director of England, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Like with any profession, the mental health and wellbeing of a workforce is paramount to being successful. As pharmacists, we have a duty to provide the best possible care for patients and I realise this means our job becomes very intense and stressful at times. We know that pharmacists continue to work tirelessly on the frontline every single day to help improve patient care, safety and reducing pressures on the NHS.

New research

Our recent research with Pharmacist Support to investigate workplace pressures has been very revealing and shocking. With over 1300 responses to our survey in just two weeks, we know that this is a topic people really care about, with nearly 75% of pharmacist saying their workplace environment has negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing. As a staggering 80% of respondents also highlighted that they are at high or very high risk of burnout because of exhaustion and a further 44% concerned about potentially making mistakes or providing poor quality to patients, the magnitude of the problem is much more significant. We have released our initial survey findings which indicates the problem and our full report will be published in the spring next year.

What next

This is a real problem which needs to be addressed by the government immediately. The RPS is calling for access to NHS commissioned mental health and wellbeing services to cover all pharmacists working in any area of practice, just like what all doctors and dentists are entitled to. What we need to understand is the root causes to these problems and why the health and wellbeing of pharmacists is compromised. This will enable preventive measures to be put into place. We will be engaging with key stakeholders and our members in the new year to help understand the causes and the best solutions.

Having recently written to the Secretary of State for Health calling for pharmacist’s wellbeing to be supported more proactively, we hope this is a key issue for the government to address. We will continue to lobby and fight for pharmacists and ensure that the newly formed government tackles this as a priority.

Our aim is to ensure we can look after our pharmacists. We need to work with and listen to our members and form key relationships with stakeholders to produce a brighter future for the workforce. Together, we can make a real difference for our profession.

Student placements… what’s the point?

By Holly Hayne – Lead Writer Pharmaceutical Press


Internships, work shadowing or student placements. All necessary of course, but how do you set yourself apart from others in a competitive industry like pharmacy? Lead writer for Pharmaceutical Press, Holly Hayne, answers a few burning questions on what she looks for when filling that ‘student placement’ role.

Can you give us an overview of your role within RPS?

Lead Writer for one of the teams working on BNF content. Our team looks at all the content in the BNF as part of our regular review schedule to make sure it is up to date.

What is the importance of having placements outside of your Pharmacy degree?

To gain experience in a workplace that traditional university placements cannot offer. It is impressive to employers when students have actively sought out work experience beyond those that are mandatory. This indicates motivated students who have taken the initiative to gain additional skills, or further develop existing skills.

What is the number one thing you look for on an application/ CV of a potential intern?

We usually ask students to submit an essay as part of their application. This is an opportunity to really set themselves apart from other applicants. We are looking for people who answer the question well and within the set parameters (e.g. word limit). This tests their written skills, but also their ability to follow instructions.

Can you tell us one piece of advice you’d give to pharmacy students when looking for the right placements for them?

Think of the opportunities that the placement can provide you, and the skills and experience you can gain (e.g. more one-on-one time with supervisors, good exposure to different specialties).

What are the skills/ aspects a student can take from their course into a work place like RPS?

Good communications skills, attention to detail, the ability to work in a team, and enthusiasm – we want people who really want to work for the RPS!

More questions? Get in contact with our support team!