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Lara Amusan - Clinical Pharmacist

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Meet Lara, a clinical pharmacist who tells us all about her role.


00:00:00:01 [Speaker 1]: Hi, my name is Lara. I'm a clinical pharmacist in general practice as part of their primary care network.  

00:00:05:09 [Speaker 2]: What do you find the most frustrating thing about how the public misunderstand, what you do?  

00:00:11:21 [Speaker 1]: I think for me, the public tend to think that we're just there to dispense pills, but there is more to pharmacy. There's a lot that goes behind the scenes, I'd say. And I'd probably describe it as the tip of the iceberg there only just see the surface.  

00:00:26:11 [Speaker 2]: Nice. Okay. Why pharmacy going back? What got you into it?  

00:00:32:16 [Speaker 1]: I wanted to do pharmacy because for me, when I was studying my a levels, I loved sciences and the maths, but I also knew that I was a people's person. So I wanted something that combined both and regards to sciences. I really enjoyed chemistry. So, and I thought will brings both together. Then that's how, um, pharmacy came into play and I did pharmacy.  

00:00:52:22 [Speaker 2]: And have you found that to be the case that you are able to kind of  

00:00:57:17 [Speaker 1]: Absolutely. Absolutely. I, I mean, no regrets at all. It was what I expected. So what I do in terms of drug management, understanding medication, it's all based on what I've done at uni and understanding how drugs work and then maybe to see patients, which is why I absolutely love. And he brings those two together.  

00:01:16:21 [Speaker 2]: You said you love spending time with patients. Is there other stuff do you use or particularly enjoy about what you do?  

00:01:23:19 [Speaker 1]: Absolutely. There's loads of things I enjoy about what I do for me. It's about going that extra mile for patient and it's sometimes we see people when they less, well, I mean, when we see them support them on the journey and when we see them again, when they better, it's just that feeling that, you know, what I've actually helped someone today. And they quite often very appreciative. They'd often come back Christmas times, there's loads of chocolates, gifts, personalized cards, you know, it's so rewarding knowing that, you know, what you've actually 

00:01:53:04 helped to one person. So that's what I like about it.  

00:01:56:01 [Speaker 2]: Just from spending about 15 minutes of you, I feel like I've got quite a strong sense that you care about people and you want to help them. It's kind of part of you. Absolutely. Do you feel like pharmacy allows you to sort of live those values?  

00:02:12:15 [Speaker 1]: I think so. I think pharmacy allows me to live the values because, um, there's different roles of the pharmacy. And here I do see patients obviously with the pandemic. I don't physically see them, but I've been able to talk to them. So some patients will talk today. And if I gauged any little bit more help, I'll say Jr, what let's book a followup call next week or whatever suits them. So it's enabled me to do that, to support patients in their care. Sometimes they might not always know what they want at the present moment has given them time to think about what 

00:02:42:19 they want and then support supporting them, regardless  

00:02:46:06 [Speaker 2]: In terms of what you spend your time doing for day to day. Could you give us a timeline, almost bullet point list of things you do?  

00:02:53:16 [Speaker 1]: Yeah, that's, that's actually fine. It's a bullet point list is I do medicine's related query. So quite often I'll get things, this medications out of stock, or there's a problem with this medication. What's the alternative. So you need to know what were they using it for in the first place, because some medications are not licensed for the same condition. So I spend my time doing quite a few queries that the doctors might have sent to me or to admin team I've sent to me. So I'm doing that. I spend also my time and doing discharge summaries. So these are patients that have been in hospital. So of course their medication has 

00:03:25:02 changed. So it's important that we make sure that we get the medications right for them. And don't double up or things that have been stopped. We make sure that we rectify that. And if they do have to have a review, we do review them. So I do spend my time doing a medication review with patient as well. And then also different audits because you need to also check that the systems in place are working. And if they're not working is picking up with this. Patients seen if there's any problems in issues and making sure 

00:03:52:16 that they all do with their blood tests and all their drug monitoring.  

00:03:56:04 [Speaker 2]: And when that goes right, is that rewarding?  

00:04:00:17 [Speaker 1]: Absolutely. Even from speaking to a patient, I think it's very rewarding because one that strikes me is I had one of the doctors send me a screen message saying, hi, Laura, I just spoke to this patient. What, um, she wants you to Kate before I can issue out this medication. And I find that really rewarding because although obviously that's the patient's GP. She still really trusts my input and said, actually, I'm happy to take that, but can you just check with the pharmacist first? So things like that, I think I found very rewarding.  

00:04:28:22 [Speaker 2]: I feel I caught them by two, my whole life. Okay. Um, so you said you were really good at kind of putting your mind into things. How does pharmacy let you do that?  

00:04:52:17 [Speaker 1]: Pharmacy lets me put my mind into things because pharmacy, as we know it is, is not what it used to be before. So for example, in my journey, I was a community pharmacist. Then I became a cluster manager where I was managing 11 stores. Then I moved into the clinical role where, which is what I do now. So during that journey, I've done quite a few like leadership courses of the NHS. So the mercy Corps was sponsored by health education in Glen, which is absolutely fantastic. I've I'm doing my clinical diploma. I've only got one, one with you. I'm about 

00:05:23:03 to finish that. So for me, it was just to know that there's so many opportunities out there. I just need to be pick what I want and the world's my oyster really.  

00:05:32:02 [Speaker 2]: Do you feel like you're able to innovate and if so, how and what you do?  

00:05:36:17 [Speaker 1]: Um, yeah, I believe so more so we've um, the new role of pharmacy, not the new role, but cut that back in. Yes, I believe so. More so we've more pharmacists in general practice. So we're able to inform the GPS of what we can and we can't do. We're able to support the team and even bring fresh ideas because sometimes people are so stuck in the way of doing things. So it's just us coming into general practice and say, actually, this is what we can do. So reviewing patients in a holistic 

00:06:05:14 way, that's all we're doing now.  

00:06:07:16 [Speaker 2]: So you, it seems like you kind of disrupt things here and there. Make them not in a bad way. You challenge ways of working or sort of outdated modes of understand that people work with people. Can you tell me a bit about that? How does that feel?  

00:06:25:17 [Speaker 1]: I think for me, when you do come to a new environment, it's important to assess what's working well and what you might believe that actually, this is how we do it, but there might be better ways to streamline things. And it's always nice when you work for a practice who's very supportive and my practice is absolutely supportive. I'll give you one example. When the COVID pandemic started, I was the one who champion to working from home because a lot of us did have like young kids and the laptops were not ready from the NHS just yet because it was unexpected. So I champion nos getting away to work remotely on our own 

00:06:58:22 laptops to start with. And then later on, just so that we could still see patients care for patients until we were able to go and work from home laptops. So, um, yeah, Yeah, no, those times were quite interesting. The COVID times I can't believe it's been a year.  

00:07:14:15 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. It doesn't feel it. If you're the whole sets of time, it's just good. You said to me, make pharmacy louder.  

00:07:25:09 [Speaker 1]: I think for me again, the pandemic has highlighted how an important and integral part that we are to the NHS. So all throughout the pandemic, we've stayed open. We've been there to support patients. And we've also got a lot of support from the public people, volunteering to deliver medication to the patients because you must think if someone's got conditional problem, if they don't take their medication, you've not completed that process. So we do need to make sure that we're there to support the patient. And some people might not want to take a 

00:07:56:13 medication because of certain articles they might have read. So where there to say, there might be some myths. We'll just be like, actually that's not true. Or there might be certain things we just address the patient's consent and make sure that we're there to support them in their journey.  

00:08:10:16 [Speaker 2]: You have a huge amount of knowledge that you're kind of carrying around all the time and you just make these little observations and just little changes. What does that do for people?  

00:08:20:22 [Speaker 1]: For me, it's about, um, changing people's lives. For example, one thing that sticks out to me is the prescribing cascade, where you prescribe someone, a medication as part of the side effects. If you don't realize it's a side effect of that medication, you give them something else. And before you know it, you're on a slippery slope. So it's us being able to interject and say, actually the silt on the patient's experiencing now is due to drug a rather than going to drug ABC, why don't we just stop and change drug a and try something else. So rather than them 

00:08:50:19 being on three medication would probably just keep them on one.  

00:08:55:04 [Speaker 2]: If you could say anything to people who might be interested in, do you have what you do? What'd you say, how'd you convince them again today?  

00:09:04:15 [Speaker 1]: I'd say it's a very rewarding and exciting career. There's so many things that you can do. Now. There's so many specialist processes. I like, I love diabetes. So, um, I specialized in diabetes. I did my independent prescribing in diabetes. So there's anything that interests you. I do work with, um, epilepsy, specialist, pharmacist, mental health pharmacist. There's so many, there's different areas that you could go into depending on what you liked and there's numerous support available. So we've got loads of funding from health education, England, like the 

00:09:34:18 integration fund, the clinical diploma. And so LPC the training hubs. If what you want to do is not out there in terms of pharmacy where you want to specialize in, you can always speak to the training hub and then they can see what's out there. Or perhaps they open this funding available. If there's something that you can get group of people to say, you know what, in this area, there's a need for X, Y, Z then is something that they can put together.  

00:10:00:13 [Speaker 2]: Okay. Is that what you want to say for this big fab? Can I ask you what your whole journey through pharmacy has taught you about yourself?  

00:10:14:05 [Speaker 1]: My whole journey through pharmacist as shown me that my own journey through pharmacists enabled me to be more compassionate. And it's also enabled to me to have that gratitude mindset. So, and it's also showing me that sometimes we just need a little bit of help and support along the way. So it's been able to give that to people, but family, friends, and just knowing that some days you will have a bad day and it's just making sure that we're there to help people and support them. Also, I feel like I'm more open-minded as well, because I, when you, when I see 

00:10:46:22 people, I know sometimes they're going through a lot, so I don't judge that type of thing.  

00:10:51:19 [Speaker 2]: Is it, if he kind of, is there anything about pharmacy that surprised you or does kind of you've surprised yourself by what you've been able to do with it?  

00:11:02:22 [Speaker 1]: Yeah, for me, I think it was surprising about pharmacy is I've been able to go through two different routes. The past eight years I went through to manage your role leadership role, where I was managing a large team with 11 stores. Now I'm focusing more on the clinical role. We have got a group of pharmacists as well. So it's just being able to combine the leadership skills as well as the, um, clinical skills. And for me, that's really helped because we're all leaders in our own rights anyway.  

00:11:27:14 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. It, I think people think like we have a lot of time and NHS, autumn, hadn't sort of fought about pharmacists, themselves being like leaders in the sort of wider aspect of the health system. How do you kind of fit in with the wider health system?  

00:11:43:03 [Speaker 1]: For me, I think, um, it's drugs help to diagnose patients, cure diseases and prevent diseases as well. So if people don't understand the drug does, then there's always that important part of the positive that's missing. So we are there to support general practices in terms of the GPS, the nurses, and other clinicians, as well as support patients. And sometimes people will be surprised at how much patients do trust us. Like I often get times where patients say Lara, um, my doctor's 

00:12:13:24 given me, this is okay for me to take it. So they'll still come to us and say, can I take it? Or they'll say, I didn't want to bother my doctor. What, I'm not really taking it. Then we can say, Oh, okay, what are your reasons? They might say, I've read an article in the papers then we might, didn't see actually, there's no evidence behind that. So that's why we're still saying it's still good for you.  

00:12:34:12 [Speaker 2]: That's awesome. Okay. I'm checking on it. Is there anything that you want to say? I feel like we need to go soon, but also I could talk to you all day. Is there anything that you want to say, like you're going to think shifts at that light? Uh, no. I just, I, I think that that pandemic has really highlighted how important pharmacies and they're when we're an important part of the 

00:13:06:04 healthcare system. We've been working together with nurses, doctors, social prescribers, physiotherapists, community, mental health team, you name it. So we've been working with quite a lot of people to ensure that we all come together to improve quality together. And I loved that because you just feel like there's so much to learn and you're doing a lot of making a difference to people's lives. 

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