How the coronavirus crisis has impacted on pharmacists

In the latest instalment of our ‘coronavirus and its impact’ series, we talk to Nahim Khan who shares his experience of being a pharmacist and lecturer during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wed 30th September 2020 The PDA

In the latest instalment of our ‘coronavirus and its impact’ series, we talk to Nahim Khan, Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester, Senior Clinical Pharmacist at Warrington Health Plus, Relief Pharmacist at Boots, and PDA Rep. Here, Nahim shares his experience of being a pharmacist and lecturer during the coronavirus pandemic.

I work in three sectors of pharmacy: academia, GP practice and community. In the past I have worked in the hospital, industry sectors and have been a full-time community locum.

Working during the COVID-19 crisis has been challenging, especially as working as a pharmacist and healthcare professional means serving patients and the public at all times. With this duty, it was also important to be as safe as possible, as coming home to my family meant risking infecting others.

The COVID-19 crisis has meant that I am working from home for the majority of the week which has been a huge challenge to adjust to. Most of my career usually involves travelling to work and being at a workplace with others, so not seeing my colleagues on campus has been difficult as we work as a close team.

Working in community pharmacy at the start of the pandemic in March was very challenging as there was increased footfall of prescriptions. This was difficult because as the workload increased, the waiting time also increased. This increased waiting time caused the pharmacy to fill up with patients and others shopping, which meant that social distancing was difficult to maintain. Although I did not experience any abuse, I did have to diffuse a lot of heated situations with frustrated patients who were waiting.

As an academic, myself and colleagues have continued to support students so that they can competently and safely contribute to patient care. It has been a big change to teach and deliver assessments online when we would normally do this face to face. It has also been interesting to reflect on course delivery and create a more blended approach.

Pharmacists representing the profession…

I think pharmacists are viewed very highly by the wider sector – it was community pharmacists that still had their doors open throughout the pandemic. I think it’s important to add that every pharmacist is representing the profession.

Joining the PDA

I have been with the PDA since I was a pre-registration pharmacist. Since then, I have seen the PDA look after the interests of pharmacists. I became a PDA rep as I wanted to represent others and bring their voice to the union. As an academic, I wanted to bring my expertise to the northern regional committee.

I feel that others view the PDA as providing a unique place for pharmacists. Indemnity may be the main reason why pharmacists join, but the PDA is also advocating for what pharmacists can achieve in the wider healthcare environment. The PDA has been very proactive, for example, with the big push for pharmacists working in GP practices, and have highlighted the risks involved to inform those moving into this sector.

During the pandemic, the PDA increased work on their long-running campaign to end violence in pharmacies with the launch of a Zero Tolerance of Abuse poster that they encouraged community pharmacists to display in stores. Another big reason to join is the advice and support the PDA can give you with employment issues. The PDA also provides individual pharmacists with a larger voice with the government, health departments, stakeholders and in the media.

 

By Nahim Khan, Senior Lecturer, Senior Clinical Pharmacist, Relief Pharmacist and PDA Rep.

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