Despite achieving the grades to do medicine at university, my surgeon father, who thought I wasn’t quite cut out to be a doctor, suggested a career in pharmacy instead – because I loved the science and social aspects of health. My motivations were never prizes or accolades but helping my patients as much as possible, because success is not about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make to peoples’ lives and there’s nothing more rewarding or satisfying.
Very few people outside our profession realise pharmacists possess a wealth of knowledge; from clinical skills to public health and professional behaviours which result in effective patient-centred care and the best use of NHS resources. Our profile is not the greatest among healthcare professionals, our expertise understated, our role often unrecognised and even the public we serve don’t exactly know what we do. So elevating our Cinderella profile in the public eye is always vitally important to get us into the premier league of healthcare professions.
When I was short-listed for ‘I Love My Pharmacist’ I was surprised and thrilled to be in the company of some of the greatest ambassadors and well-known trailblazers for our profession. Shaheen Bhatia, Reena Barai, David Sharpe and Giovanna DiTano were all pharmacists known to me and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d win but nevertheless I knew it was a privilege to share the journey with them.
There was a buzz in the pharmacy and the team which intensified each day the results were due. When I was a kid I was mad on football and I always dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the England football team. I could only imagine what that must feel like. The day I won the Editor’s Choice, it felt like they’d just given me the shirt and my heart was fit to burst.
The multitude of congratulatory calls, texts, emails, tweets and Facebook messages from friends and strangers reached a few hundred and it was humbling to have the confidence of so many, and business increased. Clearly this competition is highly regarded across the sector. Not only that it raised awareness and made an impact like no other competition in pharmacy outside our profession and amongst the public.
The plaque awarded to me and my team by the mayor made the local papers, TV and radio station. It stands loud and proud in the pharmacy alongside my prescribing certificate and although I feel very proud to be recognised in such a way, I’m not convinced for a second that I deserve it. I’m well aware what I do is what we all do every day and that there are many pharmacists who probably deserve it a lot more than I do.
There was only one person more ecstatic than the whole pharmacy team when I was chosen to be the Editor’s ‘I Love My Pharmacist’ competition winner and that was my father, who died suddenly less than four months later. His smile could have been fed into the national grid to light up the whole country as he reminded me that he was proven right all those years ago!
Find out more about entering the I Love My Pharmacist competition »