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C+D speakers reveal careers spanning granola sales and diabetic feet

Clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart told newly-qualified pharmacists the theme was "opportunities"
Clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart told newly-qualified pharmacists the theme was "opportunities"

Speakers at C+D's careers evening revealed how their professional lives had taken in roles as diverse as diabetic foot pharmacist and gluten-free granola salesman.

The C+D event – in association with C+D Jobs – brought newly-qualified, pre-registration and student pharmacists together, to hear from leading figures across the spectrum of pharmacy sectors, from community pharmacies and hospitals, to care homes, GP practices and academia.

Kicking off the event, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni told the room that “the opportunities are yours”, and advised that having a mentor within the sector would help pharmacists’ careers develop.

Mr Soni was also seen drawing crowds at the end of the evening, as attendees gathered to steal five minutes with the RPS figurehead (see below).

Top tip: "Read Xrayser"

Multi-C+D Award-winner Ade Williams had three pieces of advice for those just starting their pharmacy career: be progressive; be passionate; and read C+D’s resident blogger Xrayser to remind yourself of the “humourous” side of the profession.

Well Pharmacy’s Alison Lyons admitted she is “community pharmacy through and through”, before explaining how her career has journeyed from community, to prison pharmacy, and now customer relations manager for the multiple’s Careplus care home scheme.

Kingston University pharmacy teaching fellow Philip Crilly described how a brief stint peddling gluten-free food gave him some useful business acumen to take into his pharmacy career. But he stressed that pharmacists "don't have to sell granola like I did".

Pharmacy might be tough at times, but “try not to complain”, Mr Crilly advised attendees. “Look for other opportunities that will lead you to your ideal career.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’s Lynda Cameron revealed some of the more unusual job titles she’s had in her time in hospital pharmacy – such as diabetic foot pharmacist – while the evening’s concluding speaker Graham Stretch gave a passionate insight into the world of practice pharmacists.

Explaining his involvement in care home services, Mr Stretch – general practice pharmacist at Ealing GP federation – revealed his "first love is care of the elderly, and nursing homes are obviously a good place to do it".

Summarising the evening's diverse array of presentations, C+D clinical and CPD editor Kristoffer Stewart said: “One message to take away is that there's opportunity out there, and you just need to take those opportunities to develop a career in the direction you want.“

Couldn't attend the event? You can watch all of the speeches in a video – available until October 20 – on C+D's Facebook page here.

For the latest roles or services from the event's sponsors, please visit:

Do you have any advice for newly-qualified pharmacists?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Fabulous. I look forward to the 2020 event where we will hear from a variety of community pharmacists who explain how they have supplemented their income by undertaking part-time work as dog walkers, Deliveroo couriers and Uber drivers. The best advice to newly-qualified pharmacists I could give is to get yourself out of community pharmacy and join another profession.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

We already sell sandwiches so I reckon we could all step up to sell granola...

O J, Community pharmacist

Yesterday at a big multiple a customer said to me: " I come to the chemist and all I want is my tablets to be ready in time . I don't want any reviews and anything else."

I offered him free nhs flu jab he looks at me with frustration and asks " is the tablets ready"?

I apologised and said they are not ready. He demanded an explanation. I replied " I am short staffed" . He calmly says " go do your job and let the doctors do theirs" ...and walks out.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

That was both sad and funny at the same time! 

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

But that's how it really is.

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