As a child, I was a big fan of the television show, “Casualty,” a show about staff and patients in a hospital’s emergency room. Growing up, I always dreamed of working in the medical profession and saving people’s lives. Initially, I was against the idea of becoming a pharmacist because I thought of a pharmacist as a glorified shopkeeper and I did not want to spend the rest of my life working in a shop. However, I was attracted to the opportunity to care for patients. I realised I could be caring for patients in a community setting, supporting them with their medication and their healthcare needs.
I started working in a pharmacy at the age of 23. Most of the people in my team were older than I was, so I felt a little intimidated. Checking my first prescription was exciting and a little scary.
I love how pharmacy has evolved massively in the 17 years since I started. Pharmacists are no longer stuck in the back of a dispensary checking prescriptions. We are now face-to-face with our patients, advising them on their healthcare needs as well as delivering various pharmacy services.
Part of my work as an independent pharmacist prescriber for Boots involves working at a substance misuse clinic in Glasgow, Scotland. This area of clinical practice can be very demanding, and I am dealing with very vulnerable individuals who are susceptible to setbacks.
One of my regular patients being treated for addiction issues was also having difficulty managing his epilepsy, which in turn, was affecting his memory. He would forget his general physician (GP) appointments, which were important to his care. I stepped in as his advocate to make sure he got the help he needed to treat his epilepsy. He has continued to make progress in tackling his addiction.
My patient shared feedback with me on the impact I have had on his life: “Paul has literally changed my life and I don’t even know how that happened. I didn’t even attempt to change, but Paul showed me support and respect, and made me feel like I was a human being, not just a drug addict. Now with his help and a bit of effort, I can happily say I am clean thanks to Paul, myself and my own efforts.”
I am passionate about patient care and working in the field of addiction has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. It is nice to see patients progress on the road to recovery. It gives me a warm feeling inside and a massive sense of achievement.
I genuinely believe that WBA cares for its patients and staff. My advice to pharmacists everywhere is to focus on the patient, making sure he or she is treated as an individual. As pharmacists, we should strive to deliver the best possible care for every patient.