If you plan to be in this profession, then my question to you is; why wouldn’t you want to progress?Faheem Ahmed, award-winning pharmacist prescriber
That right. I want you to ask why you do not wish to help patients, progress your career, open doorways, unlock your true potential, and earn more in the process?
Seriously stop and think about it; can you see yourself confirming names and addresses and checking prescriptions even though we all know you are capable of more and better?
Now, before I get emotional, I will use myself as a case study to demonstrate some of my reasons as to why I decided to become a prescribing pharmacist with the aim that you will be able to resonate with this.
My journey begins
I qualified as a pharmacist in 2010 and set up the first pharmacy in Bicester. It was a 100-hour pharmacy business, and we all worked tirelessly, starting 8 in the morning till 11 at night, Monday to Saturday. Oh, wait, we also worked Sundays. It was tears, blood, sweat, hard work; you name it, I did it.
The turning point
It was on a cold winter night (I just had to use that phrase) in 2013 when I came across a document Now or Never: Shaping pharmacy for the future. The paper explained that the pharmacist’s role has to change and that the NHS will require pharmacists to focus on the delivery of clinical services.
To cut a long story short, the overarching message of the document was; If you don’t upskill yourself or start developing your skillset proactively, you might be left behind.
At the time, I honestly didn’t think anything of it. I thought to myself, ‘That can’t happen. How can the NHS cope without pharmacists involved in the dispensing process; they would not be able to manage; I mean, it’s impossible to run a pharmacy without a pharmacist involved in the dispensary, right?
Hmm…. and then came 2016, the year where we had the first waves of funding cuts. Oh, and since then, it’s been a trend for the pharmacy sector.
With all the funding cuts happening, I started to work even harder and made changes to stay afloat. But I realized I had to do more because these funding cuts were only the beginning, and I had to think about the future of my business, livelihood, and family.
While this was all happening, I also started thinking of why I became a pharmacist. I mean all these years of hard work; four years of university, one year pre-registration, and now I may not have a future. So I went towards becoming a prescribing pharmacist, which was naturally the next step up.
If you want to progress, then become a pharmacist prescriber
Before you read on, I want to mention that it has not been an easy journey for me to utilize my prescribing qualification, and being accepted within the university was also a struggle. Anyway, I have spoken about this in many articles to leave that tale for another day.
In my opinion, there are plenty of reasons why you should become a pharmacist prescriber, and here are some of mine; (1) I wanted to set up my clinic and be free (this may appeal to a lot of you), (2) I wanted to make a difference and in sync myself with the NHS; essentially I wanted the have the skill should I want to work within a GP practice I could, (3) it felt like a natural progression for me as a pharmacist, and I am sure it must be the same for you?; I mean, do you want to keep checking boxes all your career even though you know technology will replace this?, and last but not least (4) I felt fulfilled; I wanted to make a difference in this world.
Ultimately, the decision is in your hands, but what I will say is there is a massive opportunity for you as a pharmacist to achieve whatever it is you want to, from earning more to benefiting patients and feeling fulfilled; the rest is in your hands.