A day in the life of a leading pharmacist in health education

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After holding several leadership positions in community pharmacy, I decided to pursue my passion for learning and development. In the beginning, I worked for several multiples, preparing pre-registration pharmacists to become pharmacists and training pharmacy support staff.

However, after obtaining a graduate certificate in clinical pharmacy, I felt that something was missing from my career. To really make a difference in patient care, I knew I needed to understand the NHS landscape in more depth and understand how different healthcare professionals can work together to achieve positive results.

In April 2020, I joined Education for Health – an organization that teaches a wide range of healthcare professionals – of which I am now Deputy Director for Clinical Learning. My role is to oversee our courses on long term conditions which are accredited by the University of Hertfordshire, as well as oversee the clinical content of our unaccredited training and newly developed spirometry program.

Education for Health was established in 1987 with a focus on respiratory education, but has since grown to also include courses in cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and many other long-term conditions.

The key to a successful vaccination program is to make sure people are vaccinated, but this can only be done if people want to be vaccinated.

Our commitment to providing high quality, impactful education has meant that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and Training Centers come back to us time and time again as a training provider for healthcare professionals ranging from general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have moved our programs online while maintaining an interactive approach. We wanted to continue to allow learners to ask questions in a live, yet virtual, environment with an expert clinician, while responding to different learning styles, which allowed them to progress at their own pace. Our goal is to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes.

8:30 am – departure

My day begins with a meeting on the COVID-19 Resource Center, which we launched in early January 2021. Our program focuses on providing the minimum training standards so that an individual can safely administer the COVID-19 vaccine. and efficient.

It also provides a library of resources on the management and recovery of COVID-19 patients for a period of six months. It’s about providing our learners with the tools to deliver effective counseling, whether it’s supporting a person’s recovery or addressing vaccine hesitancy, regardless of the context in which they work.

During the meeting, we focus on emerging data and the different vaccines coming to the market, as well as areas of vaccine delivery that healthcare professionals are grappling with, such as the average number of doses obtained per vial, so that we are able to develop a content that meets their needs.

09.00

After that, I start planning the next 12-18 months with Director of Learning Design and Quality Ann Saxon and Managing Director Linda Edwards. The impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system has been immense, from managing the backlog of appointments to delays in diagnoses, so it is very important for us to be flexible and agile in our delivery of training.

By pulling together data from the CCGs, NCPs and training centers where we do the majority of our work, we begin to examine the knowledge and skills needed by the workforce to meet the needs of today’s patients. hui while ensuring that we deliver to the patients of tomorrow. We then align this with our current offering and identify changes and gaps in our diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and public health courses, including smoking cessation, vaccinations, and COVID management and recovery. -19.

10:00 a.m.

My next job for the day is to record a podcast with a distinguished professor at King’s College London on how to tackle vaccine reluctance using lessons learned from other public health programs. This is going to be essential for the community pharmacy as it has a role not only in administering the vaccine, but also in engaging with the public in the future. The key to a successful vaccination program is to make sure that people are vaccinated, but this can only be done if people want to be vaccinated.

11.00

At a time when healthcare faces unprecedented challenges, partnering with other organizations is essential to support the health of the nation. Today one of our expert associate clinicians is hosting an interactive virtual webinar for Asthma UK British Lung Foundation on wheezing in children. I try to attend these virtual sessions so that I can hear feedback from learners first-hand, making sure that we consistently deliver impactful programs.

12h00

At my next virtual meeting, my associate director of partnerships, Adam Smith, and I are working with a pharmaceutical company to develop a training program that will help nurses take diagnostic steps during the clinical trial of a new drug. . The workshops will be offered online with a clinical expert from my team. This will be our first virtual workshop in North America.

12.30

Moving away from learning solutions, I continue to work with our Associate Director of Partnerships focusing on refining our long-term condition profiling tools. These can be used by healthcare professionals to identify different levels of risk in patients with long-term conditions, whether in community pharmacy or general practice.

This is particularly important because profiling tools are an ideal way to support healthcare professionals with their patients with long-term conditions, prioritizing patients who require special attention while capacity demands. have never been more important. Helping healthcare professionals manage long-term conditions is a real area of ​​interest for me as we consider the impact of COVID-19 on capacity, now and in the future.

13.30

As part of my role, I take care of a group of 50 clinical associates, including primary and secondary nurses and community pharmacists, as well as pharmacists practicing in general medicine. Each of them specializes in a clinical condition, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and COPD. Today, I am working with a secondary care nurse to develop a new program, focused on severe asthma. These one-to-one discussions with the whole team keep me up to date with what’s happening on the front lines.

2:30 p.m.

Quality assurance is an extremely important part of our courses, especially those which have been accredited by our partner university, the University of Hertfordshire. We organize a moderation committee twice a month where we make sure that the passing marks awarded comply with the scoring criteria.

Before we end the day at 4:15 p.m., I look to see what meetings I have over the next few days and make sure I’m prepared for them. Then, as I drive to pick up my kids, I take the opportunity to collect my thoughts and talk to my family and friends. I will log back in normally when I get back to check if something urgent has happened.

Box: Are you interested in a similar position?

  • Start from the ground up – I can only play my role today because I learned what life was like on the front line, from meeting patients and managing teams to collaborating with others health professionals, such as general practitioners and nurses. It is this experience that allows me to ensure that I design impactful courses that meet the needs of the learner;
  • It is important to develop. This can be by improving your clinical knowledge or passing the relevant learning and development qualification. It is important that you reflect and reflect on things that would help you make the transition to a learning and development role;
  • Seize every opportunity to support the design and delivery of pharmacy education, whether within your organization or externally. This will help you understand how to shape your material to meet the needs of different learning styles and provide you with a facilitation experience;
  • Don’t expect a linear career path. You may need to step sideways or even back down, but don’t let that distract you from your educational goal. Each experience will help make you a genuine leader;
  • Reach out to colleagues who take on a role in learning and development. Learn from their experiences and, if applicable, ask them to be a mentor. Make sure you understand what you want to get out of the mentee-mentor relationship.
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