A varied pharmacy career

I never thought I would have such a varied career in pharmacy. My advice is to grab the chances that appear with both hands!!

I studied pharmacy at The School of Pharmacy, University of London, thinking I would be a community pharmacist. I was surprised when my lecturer asked if I would like to do a PhD in biochemistry following my Pre Reg with Boots in Central London. During my PhD I worked for Boots in Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus. It was a very quick learning curve, thrown in the deep end, but a brilliant experience which gave me confidence in community.

Following my PhD I continued research as a Post Doctorate and lecturing Biochemistry and molecular pharmacology on the pharmacy degree course. I really enjoyed lecturing and mentoring research students however, it became more difficult obtaining research money and I decided it was time for a change.

I took a job with a pharmaceutical PR and marketing company and my team was responsible for Plavix (clopidogrel) and the launch of Nexium (esomeprazole). We developed all the marketing materials for GPs and pharmacies and for the launch in Orlando to the Astra Zeneca sales team. The job involved medical writing, the production of marketing materials, and presenting to GPs and pharmacists.

A job with Lloyds gave me the opportunity to be a mental health unit pharmacist, which was enjoyable and rewarding. I developed the role and had excellent working relationships with the consultants and managers. During this time I also completed a prescribing support project in a GP surgery, an interesting role but perhaps not for me. After four years the itchy feet started again, it was time for another change!

Achieving the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty Advanced stage 11 has opened up some new opportunities. I am now juggling work with Lloyds, assessing Faculty portfolios for the RPS and a part time role as the Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Officer for the Pharmacist Defence Association and Union (PDA). By encouraging other pharmacists to apply to the RPS Faculty, networking and supporting PDA members, hopefully I can help raise the profile of pharmacy and together we can shape the direction of the profession.

Perhaps I have found my role at last?!

Cheryl Smith

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