Pharmacy as we know is ever evolving and there has never been a time when there are so many options and opportunities out there. I personally know pharmacists working in various roles such as in the pharmaceutical industry, GP practice, CCG medicines optimisation, entrepreneurs and drug database pharmacists. My Name is Jason Steele and I have been asked to write this article to inform pharmacy students of my pharmacist role which would be deemed as innovative and non-traditional.
Let me start by giving you some of my background. I studied pharmacy at Queens University Belfast and back then, in 2008, there were 2 main options for pharmacists, either community or hospital pharmacy. There was also the problem of having ‘too many’ pharmacists in Northern Ireland and I knew that if I wanted opportunities and an accelerated career progression I would have to move to a destination in Great Britain.
It was then in 2013, 2 months after passing my pre-reg exam that I made the big decision of leaving my home and moving to sunny Devon for which I started my pharmacy career as a relief pharmacist for Boots. Not long after, I went on to have a store-based pharmacist role in the seaside town of Teignmouth. I was very good at what I did and progression of my career in community pharmacy was rapid as it is with many other pharmacists in that sector. I had been offered a pharmacy manager role just at the cusp of being 1 year with the company however it was then I knew that I couldn’t see myself doing this in the future. It was a mixture of things really that made me arrive to this decision. It was the role itself that I just didn’t fully enjoy, and I also felt that I wasn’t best utilising my clinical knowledge.
I came across an advertisement for a role as a clinical pharmacist based in the Exeter area on the Chemist & Druggist website and the moment I read the post it just felt right. I produced a successful interview process and this I how I came to work for Interface Clinical Services.
Interface Clinical Services is a company predominantly made up of clinical pharmacists across the UK however we do have many other professionals who work here such as in the IT, compliance, marketing or business side of things. We deliver clinical reviews to GP practices with the aim of improving patient care and at the same time providing extra resource to these practices and the NHS. Our clinical reviews are mostly in the long-term condition categories such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, osteoporosis etc and can involve seeing patients in clinic or providing notes-based reviews. We would then help facilitate interventions where necessary. Ultimately the recommendations we make from these reviews help achieve better patient outcomes and improve patient safety, by adopting best practice guidelines and treatment pathways which also helps provide educational aspects to the practices we visit.
I have been working for Interface Clinical Services since 2014 and it has been amazing to be a part of something that is continuously growing and striving to be the best it can be. The company is made up of knowledgeable and creative pharmacists and working with such a group has helped develop my skills to heights I could never have imagined working in community pharmacy. I am now one of the National Lead Pharmacists for the company and am responsible for ensuring the delivery of high-quality reviews in practices nationwide.
My advice to pharmacy students would be ‘to go with what you feel is right’. Don’t delay in going down a career path that is ‘non-traditional’ if the ‘traditional’ roles do not appeal to you. Also, if you are in a traditional role and are not happy in what you do then don’t panic, take a step back and explore your options, I can assure you there are a plethora of roles out there for pharmacists that will meet your needs.
National Lead Pharmacist
Interface Clinical Services