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5 minutes with… Lara Seymour


Student leadership award winner Lara Seymour

Congratulations on your Student Leadership Award. How does it feel to be recognised in this way?
I am absolutely delighted to even have been nominated and shortlisted for the award! It is great to be recognised in the pharmacy profession for the work I have undertaken as a student. Not only has it given me the motivation to continue to do better, but it has opened many doors too.

Can you explain a bit about what contributed to your win?
I founded the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Group at Robert Gordon University (RGU) back in 2014. I started the group shortly after winning the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA) annual essay competition.
The group is entirely student-led and we deal with ethical dilemmas and legislation in pharmacy practice through a variety of platforms.
We publish two newsletters annually, host debates (most notably the ‘Assisted Dying Debate’) and via our social media channels. This year, I have been mentoring the new committee as I hope the group will continue after I complete my course in June.

What are your hobbies outside pharmacy?
I actually love sailing! I think it is so important to have other interests outside of pharmacy. I took a week out just before I started back in September and sailed to Arran, Tarbert and Little Cumbrae. I am a member of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and I am just about to start my volunteer training with the Ocean Youth Trust (OYT). OYT work with young people in Scotland to help them realise their full potential.

What advice would you give to the new intake of pharmacy students?
Embrace all the new opportunities you are given. Although it is a highly demanding course, it is extremely rewarding. Try and find out what interests you from the very beginning, work on that and hone your skills — this will lead to further opportunities. It is not about just getting to the end of it and then getting a salary. In the long-term, it is about job satisfaction, supporting others and actually enjoying what you do. I would also say if you are ever struggling, ask for help – there are plenty of support networks in place.

When you qualify as a pharmacist what sector of pharmacy would you like to work in and why?
Before coming to University, I worked in community pharmacy for 3 years and as a student, I have been working in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for 3 years, so I have had a good experience of both hospital and community! Although I enjoy both, I chose to do my pre-registration training in community pharmacy. I have missed the unexpectedness that community pharmacy brings.

You don’t know who is going to come through the doors or what query you will be asked. Community pharmacy is so accessible to the public that there is a real potential to make an impact to a person’s day-to-day life. After finishing pre-reg, I aim to continue working in community pharmacy. In the future, my ideal job would be doing policy and development work.

Are you positive about the future of community pharmacy?
Absolutely! This is a very exciting time to be starting a career in pharmacy. There is more and more emphasis on what a Pharmacist can do and the public are becoming more aware of the services that pharmacists can provide. Prescription for Excellence also places emphasis on the unique skills that pharmacists have. I am very excited to see what the future holds.

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