Professor Zubin Austin on what it means to be a pharmacist

Professor Zubin Austin BSc Phm MBA MISc MEd PhD

 

I dropped Professor Zubin Austin an email out of the blue inviting him on to join me on the PIP podcast to discuss a number of aspects of pharmacy. I was delighted to hear the ‘ping’ of his positive reply landing in my inbox.

 

We got together and had a chat about what it means to be a pharmacist and explored what many in our profession believe to be an existential crisis of pharmacist identity.

 

Professor Austin is very interested in all aspects of how pharmacists perceive themselves and how they behave in practice.

 

We discussed some of the following topics:

 

  • Procrastinating perfection.
  • Tolerance for ambiguity.
  • The death of the expert.
  • Professional self-mutilation.
  • The fact that the seemingly fashionable movement to IP might not be the best direction for our profession.

 

I have to say that this was one of the most insightful and interesting conversations I have had in recent years. Zubin and his colleagues in Toronto are involved in extremely important work. As pharmacists, we are grappling what we are for and Professor Austin and his team are helping us to understand where we go next.

 

 

Professor Zubin Austin

 

Professor Austin’s research interests focus on the personal and professional development of the health human resources workforce. As the complexity and interdependency of care provision has advanced, the importance of investing in continuous professional development of health professionals increases. Professor Auston’s research recognises that artificial divisions between “personal” and “professional” development are counterproductive to the goal of enhanced quality care. Failure to recognise these important development needs in the workforce leads to burnout, disengagement, and ultimately error. A particular focus of his research involves internationally educated health professionals, a large and growing component of the Canadian workforce who have particular needs for professional and personal development.

 

 

 

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What can pharmacists learn from this tragic propranolol overdose?

 

Emma was a 24-year-old pharmacy graduate. She had two degrees, was a high achiever and was making the most of her life.

 

Sadly Emma took an overdose of both propranolol and citalopram.

 

Emma called an ambulance, but her condition quickly worsened. Despite resuscitation efforts from both paramedics and medical staff in the hospital she was transferred to, Emma sadly died.

 

The purpose of this podcast was to highlight the findings of the report written as a result of the investigation undertaken by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). We were fortunate to be joined by Deinniol Owens a National Investigator at the HSIB. Deinniol and I had a chat about the aspects of the investigation that are pertinent to pharmacists.

 

The report makes a number of recommendations but also emphasises that there is a link between anxiety, depression and migraine and that more research is needed to understand the interactions between antidepressants and propranolol in overdose.

 

The safety recommendations focused on the following:

 

  • Updating clinical guidance (NICE) and the UK’s pharmaceutical reference source (the British National Formulary) on use of propranolol and highlighting the toxicity in overdose.
  • National organisations supporting their staff members to understand the risks when prescribing propranolol to certain patients.
  • Improving the clinical oversight in ambulance control rooms and the treatment/transfer guidance for ambulance staff for propranolol/beta-blocker overdose.

 

 

Deinniol Owens, National Investigator, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.

 

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Delving into the detail of NHS Pharmacy First with Matt Barclay

 

I recently wrote an article about the Scottish NHS Pharmacy First service but I wanted to find out more so I got in touch with Director of Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland, Matt Barclay.

 

He was good enough to take time out from the ambitious schedule of NHS Pharmacy First engagement evenings across Scotland to have a chat about what the new service might mean for community pharmacists in Scotland.

 

Before this chat, I had lots of questions, to be honest. Matt didn’t disappoint. He shared details on how the service would be rolled out and most interestingly what his long term vision for the service would be. We discussed how CPS feel that this service will create a true ‘unique selling point’ for community pharmacy in Scotland

 

We discussed how the service will actually work and most importantly how the data about the service will be gathered. I asked him what pharmacists might do with this data. I found this very interesting. The age-old question about allowing community pharmacists to get read/write access to the patient medical record came up during our chat. Matt described details about early conversations that CPS are having with the digital health institute to help position community pharmacy in the best possible place to secure a digital future for the sector.

 

The workforce issues in community pharmacy across the whole of the UK, not just Scotland, are well known. Matt painted a picture of the challenges but also the opportunities might be. A key theme coming through is that this NHS Pharmacy First service will hopefully provide new depth to the role and also may provide a career pathway for community pharmacists that is interesting and varied.

 

We talked about the concept of a community pharmacy training practice. I also delved into the governance frameworks that may have to be established to facilitate this new world of pharmacists working in the heart of the community as independent prescribers.

 

Finally, we chatted about the prospect of community pharmacists in Scotland being independent prescribers. I asked Matt if he felt that it was time to declare that every community pharmacy in Scotland should have an independent prescriber working there. His answer was fascinating.

 

We look forward to seeing how the service develops over the coming months and years.

 

 

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Future pharmacy podcast: Will pharmacists be replaced by technology?

Jaime Acosta Gómez

 

Sometimes you have to try something completely different to uncover new perspectives on age-old problems.

 

The profession of pharmacy as we know it today has made huge strides since Jacob Bell founded the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 1841.

 

But what next?

 

This podcast series will explore how we forge ahead into the future as a profession. Helped by our guests, we will find the most interesting and forward-thinking people with an interest in all things technology and health.

 

In this conversation, we started at the beginning.

 

We take a close look at what a pharmacist is, how technology has evolved in pharmacy and where we go next. The topic of pharmaceutical care and also technaceutical care were discussed. No topic is off-limits and there were challenging questions around the survival and viability of the profession of pharmacy in light of the rapidly emerging technology.

 

Our guest

 

Jaime Acosta Gómez is a practising community pharmacist with a deep understanding of international community pharmacy, healthcare and international pharmacy associations. Jaime is an innovative, hard-working and passionate about healthcare, technology and supply chain. He is currently an Executive Committee member of the FIP Community Pharmacy Section.

 

We invited Jaime on to the podcast because of his interest in technology in pharmacy. Jaime is the first guest in the series but every guest from here on will be nominated by the current guest.

 

Jaime chose Dr Catherine Duggan as our next guest.

 

 

Your hosts

 

Professor Darrin Baines

Johnathan Laird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The entrepreneurial pharmacist who was inspired to start her own business

Francesca Aaen

 

Francesca Aaen is a pharmacist consultant and runs her consultancy called Aaen Care. Aaen Care delivers medicines and healthcare-related training, consultancy and advice to both private and public sector providers of health and social care services across the UK.

 

Francesca has over the years had a number of NHS roles in care services and also throughout the NHS. She is also a member of the Pharmacy in Practice Editorial Board. In this podcast I asked her the following questions:

 

  • Why did you start your own business?
  • You live in Andorra. Do you enjoy running your business from there and do you get home often?
  • What was it like to write your first prescriptions?
  • What was your experience of working within dementia services?
  • What are your views on the rush for everyone to work in general practice?
  • What aspect of being an independent prescriber do you think pharmacists will struggle most with?
  • Do you think the pharmacists training and supervising pharmacists should be working in practice themselves?
  • How did you discover an interest in coaching?
  • What is your advice to pharmacists joining the register?
  • What does 2020 have in store for you?

 

 

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What is a pharmacist?

Gavin Birchall

 

Gavin Birchall is a pharmacist, designer and marketer who has created, led and marketed businesses at senior level and carried out the first research into the brand of pharmacy on the planet. Having spent 15 years in community pharmacy, practising in both independent and multiple owned pharmacies, Gavin has worked in academia, primary care and representation.

 

He was instrumental in setting up a 21 strong community pharmacy group where he was Operations and Marketing Director and Superintendent Pharmacist. 

 

Frustrated by the lack of recognition received by pharmacy, Gavin completed research into the brand of pharmacy as part of a Masters In Graphic Design and in 2015 set up a pharmacy specialist design and marketing agency, DOSE Design and Marketing Ltd, to support pharmacies to present and promote themselves more effectively. Gavin and his associates now support a range of clients in community pharmacy and beyond.

 

On the podcast, we had a wide-ranging conversation about pharmacy now and into the future. I asked Gavin the following questions:

 

  • What is a pharmacist?
  • How is pharmacy as a profession perceived?
  • As pharmacists have we lost our entrepreneurial spark?
  • Why are there very few start-up community pharmacies?
  • If you were starting a business again tomorrow what would your strategy be?
  • Has pharmaceutical care been forgotten?
  • How does technaceutical care fit into the future agenda of pharmacy?
  • Why have General Practitioners protected their brand so effectively compared to pharmacists over the years?
  • What is the importance of independent prescribing to the future of the pharmacy profession?
  • What will the effect of the erosion of the community pharmacy contractor model have on our profession?

 

 

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