I am delighted to present you with some snippets of my working week as a rheumatology, biologics and biosimilars specialist pharmacist at one of the largest integrated healthcare trusts in the country.
Rheumatology covers the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. These conditions affect the bones, joints and tissues in the body such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. They include diseases such as inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis), osteoarthritis, gout, connective tissue diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus or ‘lupus)’ and osteoporosis.
I work closely with our team of 10 consultants, 7 specialist registrars, 7 specialist nurses, physiotherapists, podiatrists, hand therapists and radiologists as a fully integrated member of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) across 3 different hospitals making up the Trust.
I have always wanted to study pharmacy, having had a fascination over the way drugs work in the body and the treatment of disease rather than its diagnosis. I worked every Saturday in a community pharmacy through college and then university which kept me touch with community pharmacy whilst I studied to become a pharmacist. At the same time, I was fascinated by hospital pharmacy roles through exposure at university. I knew by my 3rd year of studies that I would pursue a career in hospital pharmacy where I was intrigued by enhanced clinical roles. I elected to do my pre-registration year in a hospital pharmacy with absolutely no regrets and the rest is history.
I have been working with the rheumatology team as a specialist for nearly two years now, previously working in haematology, patient services and dispensary management. In my current role, I lead on the delivery and development of clinical pharmacy services to rheumatology, in order to provide safe, clinically effective, cost-efficient use of medicines with particular focus on biologics and biosimilars.
I am an independent prescriber, working as part of the MDT assessing patients in the early arthritis clinic to optimise pharmacological management of their disease as well as physical assessments.
I have a large role in the education and training of the department and my passion for helping others to learn and develop has led me to become the deputy chair of a national group of specialist pharmacists called ‘Rheumatology pharmacists UK’. We have a vision to share best practice nationally, support and offer guidance to our peers and push the boundaries of specialist pharmacists.
My hopes for sharing my work with you this week is that you get to enjoy and love pharmacy as much as I do, getting a real insight into the varied roles available in hospital practice and how by developing a set of novel skills, you can make yourself truly indispensable!
Kalveer Flora is Lead Rheumatology and Biosimilars Specialist Pharmacist, Deputy Chair, Rheumatology Pharmacists UK (RPUK).