Happy international women’s day everyone !
To celebrate we are posting interviews with some of our facilitators to really shine a spotlight on the incredible work they do for patients in Hillingdon.
Our interviews with facilitators include:
Clinical pharmacist Karishma Thakrar
Dr Anjaly Mirchandani
Dr Rabaab Bharmal
We will be posting these fantastic story’s all through the week to say a massive thank you to these incredible women.
You can read our first interview with Karishma Thakrar below
How long have you been a Pharmacist and what other roles have you had in health?
I graduated from King’s College London MPharm programme in 2006 and I registered with the GPhC in 2007. I have worked in various pharmacy healthcare roles such as counter assistant, healthcare assistant, dispenser and student placements in community and hospital. Whilst working across the NHS I also trained in best practice amongst healthcare professionals with regard to communication and consultation. I completed my pre-registration training with Alliance Boots which allowed me to gain a wealth of experience in community pharmacy. After qualification I gained skills in management through various professional development courses.
During this time, I also embarked on the opportunity to enrol onto the independent prescribing course and this was completed in February 2018. I then became a clinical prescribing pharmacist with a special interest in diabetes. This enabled me to register for the MyHeath facilitator course and my journey into health coaching and support began.
Has your ambition always been to be a Pharmacist ?
My first insight into the world of pharmacy was the first-hand experience as a weekend job at a local pharmacy when I was at school. The combination of the subjects I was studying and the role of the pharmacist really inspired me to opt for this career . My ambition has always been to be a pharmacist from then as I also learnt that the profession offers an opportunity to combine a professional career with family. It fascinated me that upon graduation there were good job prospects across many sectors such as industry, hospital, NHS roles and community. Furthermore, the flexibility and diversity of roles have allowed me to strike a good work life balance. Currently in the UK 62% of women make up the workforce, this exemplifies work life balance within the profession. I was very blessed to have the continuous support and encouragement of my family, especially my mother who constantly inspired me to achieve my goals and to develop a strong desire to succeed in my career. I will always be in debt to her for her continuous blessings during my career path which forever keeps growing!
What do you enjoy most about your work ?
I absolutely love what I do and take pride to be part of a profession that is able to give back to the community every day. I am able to interact with patients regularly and provide them with the support and knowledge with regard to their healthcare. My role is very rewarding; being assured that patients come to pharmacists as their first point of call, which has been clearly evident during this pandemic. We are the experts in medicines and to be allowed to share the wealth of knowledge is a wonderful experience. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I am able to help an individual patient in any way possible to manage their condition and make a positive difference in their lives. My goal is to enhance every patients journey by educating them about their medicines for optimal quality of life especially regarding long-term conditions. As a profession pharmacists have been able to use their clinical expertise and are becoming more and more integrated into the NHS pathway as we embark on working with multidisciplinary teams in the hope of further improving the patients journey. Our recognition as a career has already been revealed on the government NHS 5-year plan and the impact we can have. I feel that we are now able to use our clinical expertise and deliver an outstanding level of care to our patients and the wider community.
What are you currently working on and working towards ?
In pharmacy you get a breadth of knowledge and experience from working behind the scenes, frontline and providing support and guidance to patients. I have been fortunate to gain this experience through working in a hospital environment whilst on the MPharm course. The community setting allowed me to gain confidence in providing care to patients and using my clinical knowledge to assist them with various cases. Patient management and team leadership was a big component of the role and helped me to learn good team cohesiveness and effectiveness whilst ensuring all codes of ethics were abided to. My experience in this setting provided me with the tools that enabled me to be in a pharmacy partnership which will hopefully continue to expand.
Predominantly I am based in a Clinical setting at the GP surgery and my time here has been second to none. The GP partners have provided me with all the necessary training and support to develop the best patient care possible and further enhance and develop my professional skills as a clinician in ways that I didn’t know were possible. The time provided by them has been a valuable asset to my learning journey which has allowed me to expand my clinical knowledge. I am now providing clinics in my area of expertise and also currently training in other areas with supervision from the GP partners and other training providers which I am thoroughly enjoying.
Alongside these roles I provide the MyHealth workshops on diabetes management, pre diabetes as well as health coaching. I am passionate about health coaching as this technique empowers patients to make long-term health behaviour changes that improve overall well-being. It provides patients with health care implementation options that better fit their lifestyle and abilities. I am also currently working with the administrators to provide a new workshop based solely around diet and weight management taking into account mental health. This is extremely exciting as it would give patients an all-round step by step programme to enhance their own healthcare.
Why did you join MyHealth ?
MyHealth was an exciting opportunity for me to learn something new and be in close contact with patients and their healthcare needs. This structured education programme allowed me to provide care to patients and work with my colleagues in the local area to ensure that best practice is in place. When it first started it was based on healthy heart, childhood asthma and diabetes which are all areas of interest to myself and as an independent prescriber I was able to start my role with them.
What do you enjoy most about MyHealth ?
MyHealth provides a platform for patients to gain the power and knowledge to manage their diabetes and provide them with the confidence and motivation to be in control of their condition. There is an element of fulfilment and joy when empowering patients to believe that they can take the necessary steps to improve their overall health. The patient journey is individualised and fit for purpose for them. It is based around observing and supporting them to make their plan and implementing it into their daily lives to ensure it is achievable and sustainable. This can be challenging but also extremely rewarding to see positive results and a happy healthy patient outcome.