Katie Burnage, BPharm and MPharm 2003
Clinical Practice Pharmacist at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre
"Pharmacy is constantly changing and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. It is a springboard into any area you desire. It’s all about choice, knowing what you want to achieve, being the best you can be, making a difference and taking the risk. There are many directions to take. Open your hands to change but don’t drop your values."
My Pharmacy journey started following graduation from the University of Bradford in July 2003. I was fortunate enough to have two job offers prior to graduation. One in hospital pharmacy (Bradford Royal Infirmary) and the other in community pharmacy (Lloyds Pharmacy). I spent two weeks deliberating which direction to follow. I loved the clinical aspect of hospital pharmacy and ward rounds and my pre-registration placement really opened my eyes to opportunities within this environment but my strength, passion and experience was in community pharmacy. Therefore in August 2003 I began working as a community pharmacist in West Yorkshire for Lloydspharmacy. I was a Relief Pharmacist for the first five months and then progressed to a Pharmacist Manager where I managed a branch in Normanton, Wakefield for just short of three years. Even at this early stage I developed good working relationships with local General Practitioners (GPs) and the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and was very keen to get involved in delivering any service possible to optimise the patient centred care my team and I could provide.
In November 2006 I made the decision to work closer to home and became the Pharmacist Manager at Rowlands Pharmacy Church Lane in Brighouse. Here my networking circles expanded through good interaction with the PCT and attendance at various training evenings. Within three months I was approached to become a committee member of Calderdale and Kirklees Local Pharmaceutical Committee and later Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire (CPWY), following the merger. CPWY represents all pharmacy contractors across West Yorkshire. During this time, I presented as a guest speaker for the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (Medicine Use Reviews) and conducted a lecture at the University of Huddersfield on three consecutive annual occasions introducing third year pharmacy students to CPWY. I stayed at Church Lane for nine years and one of the greatest achievements was gaining accreditation as a Healthy Living Pharmacy within the first wave of this concept. Recently I was invited to join the steering group for West Yorkshire Local Practice Forum (WYLPF).
Through networking with other pharmacy colleagues an amazing opportunity was brought to my attention. Clinical Practice Pharmacist at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre in Pudsey. The job description depicted my dream job and seemed to be the amalgamation of clinical demand with the continuity of community that I had endeavoured to find. I did not have a prescribing qualification but I had the passion, motivation and commitment to make a difference. The interview went really well and I was successful. Three months into my new role I can honestly say, this is most rewarding, challenging and exciting role I have ever experienced. Community Pharmacy gave me a strong foundation but I had reached the stage where progression was either higher management or clinical. I wanted clinical progression but was restricted in opportunity. Community Pharmacy was my comfort zone and I’m very appreciative of its influence in my current role. It was difficult to leave but it was the right decision. I feel that I am applying my knowledge and using my clinical pharmacy skills more effectively than previously and that I am valued. I help the Oncall GP, other GPs and Nurse Practitioners and the reception team with prescription queries, conduct medication reviews and take blood pressure measurements, I’m involved with medicine optimisation, medicine management (including Datix reporting), training, care home visits, clinical executive meetings and the role is still evolving. It’s not just switching patients from one statin to another. I’ve implemented new systems for distribution of prescription pads within the Practice and stock maintenance logs and am involved with audits. Hypertension, asthma and flu clinics will be part of my role, especially once I achieve the prescribing qualification. There is even the possibility that a Pharmacist Practitioner role could be the natural progression from Pharmacist Prescriber (this would involve physical examinations in addition to prescribing). I have been asked to continue my annual lectures at University of Huddersfield and will be collaborating with CPWY in the future regarding Community Pharmacists in General Practice. In March 2016 I will be presenting “Early Learning in General Practice” at the WYLPF symposium.
Pharmacy is constantly changing and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. It is a springboard into any area you desire. It’s all about choice, knowing what you want to achieve, being the best you can be, making a difference and taking the risk. There are many directions to take. Open your hands to change but don’t drop your values.
Published January 2016