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An award-winning pharmacy student’s commitment to helping other students

The PDA recently caught up with Harvey John, the winner of the Welsh Pharmacy Student Leadership Award, to highlight his inspirational dedication to his studies and his fellow students.

Mon 5th December 2022 The PDA

The annual Welsh Pharmacy Awards is an event designed to bring together pharmacy professionals from across the industry and celebrate their achievements. Each year, the PDA sponsors the Student Leadership category of the Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish Pharmacy Awards to celebrate the successes of future professionals. Harvey John, a PDA member and student at Swansea University, was this year’s winner.

The PDA recently caught up with Harvey to discuss his experience so far as a pharmacy student.

My pharmacy journey

I always loved healthcare and medical science, but I found pharmacy by complete coincidence. When I was 16, I suffered a serious infection on my right hand where a blister got infected. It got septic and I was rushed to the hospital and had two operations. I had not previously thought about medicine as a career, but I was fascinated by the medication that was given to me rather than the procedure to save my hand. This experience sparked my interest in pharmacy.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, our local pharmacy offered me work experience and subsequently a summer job. Since then, I have worked part-time in a community pharmacy and it was then the ‘pharmacy bug’ hit, and it has never let go.

University life

For me, the most rewarding aspect of my pharmacy course would be having placements where I can see how my degree can help people and improve patient safety. However, personally, the most challenging aspect for me is prioritising both work and the chemistry aspect of the course.

I do believe you should not look back with regret on any part of your life, especially anything to do with academia, however the only thing I would do differently is during my first year make sure I revised small little bits throughout the year instead of leaving it to the last minute and cramming over Christmas and Easter.

Advice for other pharmacy students

My best advice for students who have started would be to enjoy the course and the academic side, but make sure that you give yourself enough time to enjoy uni life by joining societies and sports, to have some time to switch off and relax.

Welsh Pharmacy Student Leadership Award

I won the award for my contribution to the improvement of my fellow students’ uni experience. Firstly, I was appointed a student ambassador on the SSF (student staff forum), where I collected students’ experience of the course and feedback this back to the lecturers in order to improve the experience of the course and its content. Secondly, I was also involved in the step 4 General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) accreditation, where the accreditation council asked several students, including myself, to feedback on their experiences of the Pharmacy School. Finally, I also set up the Student Pharmacy Society in Swansea University. The creation of the Society will allow my fellow students to develop a healthy balance of academia and social events. During the summer break, I also attended the annual Mydffi Conference on behalf of the Pharmacy School, the University, and the Society. During this conference I was able to have a discussion with the Myddfi Society to try and encourage more students to pursue an interest in the history of medicine in Wales.

My reaction to winning the award was complete and utter disbelief, as I never thought I would win the award due to me being a first year, and the other nominees had done some fantastic work.


Pharmacy Student Leadership Award winner, Harvey John from Swansea University, with Alison Jones, PDA Director of Policy, and Professor Mark Gumbleton, Head of School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University


The Welsh Pharmacy Awards took place on 7 September 2022. Categories ranged from Student Leadership, and Hospital Pharmacy Team of the Year, to Innovative Technology Project of the Year Award.

Learn more

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