COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Website maintenance The PDA website will be unavailable during a 1 hour window due to scheduled maintenance between 00:00am and 06:00am on the Tuesday 27th of February 2024

Home  »   Member VoiceLatest NewsPDA Students   »   An award-winning pharmacy student’s commitment to better the profession

An award-winning pharmacy student’s commitment to better the profession

In order to highlight the exceptional work of those dedicated to the profession, we caught up with PDA member David Dinneen, who recently won the 2022 Northern Ireland Pharmacy Student Leadership Award. David talks about how he became interested in pharmacy and shares advice for first-year pharmacy students.

Tue 24th May 2022 The PDA

The beginning of my pharmacy journey

My interest in science began when I was in school. I had a really enthusiastic science teacher who made me realise that I wanted to pursue a career in science, I also enjoy helping other people. So, when it came to applying to university, pharmacy seemed like the perfect combination of the two. I also think that the wide range of career paths available to pharmacists is quite attractive.

One thing I find interesting about pharmacy, and I really like is the combination of clinical and scientific knowledge that pharmacists have. I think this unique skill set makes pharmacists a really valuable asset to any healthcare team.

My advice to those studying pharmacy

My first bit of advice to first-year pharmacy students would be to get a part-time job in a community pharmacy during the academic year. It really supplements your learning at university and having the experience of working with patients builds your confidence when you leave university and enter the workforce. Secondly, I would encourage everyone to get involved in a university club and/or society. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and to make new friends outside of your pharmacy class. My last bit of advice to students would be to make sure you fit regular exercise into your weekly routine. Not only is it really important for your mental and physical health, but it’s also a great distraction from university work, which at times can get quite busy!

If I was to start university again, I would have started working part-time in a community pharmacy sooner than I did. It was a really worthwhile experience, and I made some useful connections from it too. I was able to learn new skills from the responsible pharmacist while at work. I can honestly say that I am much better for having taken on this part-time position.

The Northern Ireland Pharmacy Student Leadership Award

It’s a huge honour to be the winner of the Pharmacy Student Leadership Award. Receiving this award at the end of my pharmacy degree gives me great confidence as I head out into the workforce in my training year. I’d like to thank the PDA for sponsoring the award and to everyone who has supported me during my time as a pharmacy student.

David Dinneen, Pharmacy Student Leadership Award winner and Queen’s University Belfast student. (Pictured with the PDA’s Alima Batchelor, and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Cathy Harrison)

David received this award after showing outstanding leadership skills to better the profession. He created ‘Blister Back’, the environmentally friendly scheme which aims to promote a reduction in plastic waste through the introduction of reusable weekly blister pack containers (he intends to suggest this idea to his pharmacist supervisor during his training year). David also volunteered to become a ‘buddy’ to second-year pharmacy students, as he knew this cohort had a very different university experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Northern Ireland Healthcare Awards took place on 28 April 2022. Each year, the PDA sponsors the Student Leadership Award category in the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Pharmacy Awards.

Learn more


Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.






The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)