What has been your career path to date and could you tell us a little about your current role?
My current role is Senior Teaching Fellow and Head of Professional Experience in Aston Pharmacy School, Aston University, Birmingham and I have been in post since August 2018. My early professional experiences were as a community pharmacist.
After registering in 1990 and practising for 6 years, my passion for education led me into a Teacher-Practitioner post (split between teaching and practice) and subsequently, in 1999, into a full-time academic position at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen as a Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice. This was followed by promotion to Senior Lecturer (in December 2011) and Course Leader for the Master of Pharmacy and I continued in this role until 2018 when I moved to Aston University. In addition to this, I have been a Local Pharmacy Postgraduate Tutor for NHS Education for Scotland and I undertake regular locum work in community pharmacy.
Since registration as a pharmacist, I have obtained an MSc Clinical Pharmacy, a Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Level Teaching and completed a Doctor of Education at the University of Stirling in 2013. I am a Faculty Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I contribute to teaching at an undergraduate level in pharmacy practice in a broad range of areas and have had extensive experience at postgraduate level in development and delivery of Masters and Independent Pharmacist Prescribing programmes and research supervision.
I was also previously an elected member of the RPSGB Academic Pharmacy Group Committee and in this capacity contributed to the development of the RPSGB Student Fitness to Practise procedures.
My research interests centre on educational research, teaching and learning and assessment and her thesis is entitled ‘Opening the door on student learning: using artefacts to explore pharmacy students’ learning practices’. I also was a co‐author of the textbook ‘Minor Illness or Major Disease?’.
What was the toughest lesson to learn in your career?
That other people often do not try to understand things from someone else’s perspective and can only see things from their own. In these circumstances, decisions that they make revolve around the impact on themselves and they often impose their motivations and values on your actions and decisions rather than trying to understand them for what they are.
What is your advice to newly qualified pharmacists?
Be the best you can be. Pharmacy is an amazing career and you should take the opportunity to develop yourself, your career and our profession. Seek support and mentorship from people that you respect. And most of all place ‘the patient’ (their needs, desires and perspectives) at the very heart of everything you do and every decision that you make.
Why did you accept the invitation to be part of the Pharmacy in Practice editorial board?
My claim to fame is that I accepted Johnathan, the Director of Pharmacy in Practice, on to the MPharm course and was right there at the start of his amazing career. I love to support and encourage all my graduates and being part of what Johnathan does and helping support the work of PIP is a natural extension of that.
What is the point of Pharmacy in Practice and what direction do think it should take?
Pharmacy in Practice for me is a place for sharing ideas, debate and good practice and I think it should continue to do all the things it is good at!