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Mark Donaghy - Professional Development Manager

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Pharmacy Professional Development Manager, Mark shares his day-to-day life of the role and his experiences in a community pharmacy.


00:00:01:14 [Speaker 1]: Cool. Yeah, we'll have to, we'll just have to pause. Okay. Especially if you're saying something really good, cause I rarely ask you to say, keep looking at Jason. You rolling. First thing I want to ask 

00:00:40:15 you, is there anything that frustrates you about how the public may be misunderstanding?  

00:00:46:24 [Speaker 2]: Um, I think sometimes as a profession, we haven't sold ourselves properly.  

00:00:50:22 [Speaker 1]: All right. Sorry.  

00:00:57:16 [Speaker 2]: Uh, I think sometimes as a profession, we haven't always sold ourselves properly. Uh, and it's down to us to explain what we do. Uh, so for example, here, when this pharmacy, the pharmacist is a prescriber as well as a dispense of medicines, and there's a whole range of services such as vaccinations. Um, and it's down to us to actually promote that and say what people can ask the pharmacist about and the range of different things that you can do with a pharmacy degree  

00:01:25:07 [Speaker 1]: Growing back.  

00:01:30:17 [Speaker 2]: Um, strange enough, ****[could also go at start]it's something from about the age of 14 that I really wanted to do, and it's difficult to put my finger on why. Um, but I suppose I was always fascinated when I went to the child into a pharmacy to see what was happening with these mysterious medicines. And I always had a, an urge to find out how they worked and what they did. So, and from that I did work experience in a pharmacy, got a Saturday job. Um, and then I was quite adamant. That is what I wanted to do. And I was 

00:02:02:14 very pleased and manager and manager to do it  

00:02:09:10 [Speaker 1]: When you're younger. You're not quite sure. Is there something about the kind of math or science or  

00:02:18:03 [Speaker 2]: Yeah, yeah. I was always good at science, so I was interested in science and maths, but for me, I enjoy talking to people and it's nice to, a lot of people sometimes can be quite disadvantaged and about shop work, but for me, I really enjoy it. And it doesn't matter if it's in a pharmacy or anywhere else. I love that people contact the ability to talk to people and to have a job where you're actually paid to spend your day talking to people. So dream come true. Um, and the public respect the role of the pharmacists. People come in and ask you advice. And they're 

00:02:49:24 very appreciative of it most of the time. Um, and it can be great fun.  

00:03:10:08 [Speaker 1]: I want to follow up with asking you, do you have your pharmacy such?  

00:03:21:04 [Speaker 2]: It is so different than an office job for so many people that sat in an office all day and they're stuck in front of a computer screen as a pharmacist, you're on the go, it's busy, it's exhausting. You're on your feet all day, but the day goes quickly because you don't know what the next minute is going to bring. You can have a quiet five minutes and then you can have 10 people phoning up coming in, asking you advice. You can have a GP on the phone asking you what to prescribe. You can have an over the counter creatively all at the same time, it can be stressful, but the day goes quickly and it's, you know, it's, there's a 

00:03:54:16 buzz to it.  

00:03:56:17 [Speaker 1]: What is that box? If you could describe  

00:03:59:10 [Speaker 2]: The buzz is, is the fact that, you know, you keep going throughout the day, you know, that you're helping people, people are generally appreciative of what you do. Um, and at the end of the day, you know that a lot of people have gone home healthier and happier because of the role that you've done. And it's not just you as the pharmacist, it's the whole team. It's a case of engaging the whole team that they're happy that they can work with you, that you can advise them and that you can support them in their role in helping patients and customers.  

00:04:27:23 [Speaker 1]: What do you enjoy most diet? Um,  

00:04:51:06 [Speaker 2]: I suppose my career has developed that, um, I now help train the future generations of pharmacists and help support our young pharmacists. And so for me, I get a lot of satisfaction in helping them in order to help others. So like just before now, I just had a phone call from one of our young pharmacists. Who's maybe having issues, sort of trying to convince a local GP to change their prescribing habits. And it's been nice to impart some of my experience. So as to help her to be able to improve her patient's lives. Um, so yeah, I it's, it's the satisfaction of being 

00:05:25:13 able to help colleagues and being able to help the public and being able to help people.  

00:05:32:09 [Speaker 1]: Um, I wonder, um, could you briefly tell us the roles you've had for your career today, if you can, why you chose that role? So  

00:05:58:20 [Speaker 2]: At the age of 16, I did a three week Saturday job at boots on Canvey Island, uh, for work experience. I went from an all boys school to work in an all female environment. I thought, well, this is wonderful. Um, and I really enjoyed the fact that you're helping people. You're talking to people on the counter. I was quite shy as a teenager, but you can't be shy working on a medicines counter. You need to talk to people. And for me, I found it to help develop me personally, from there, I managed to get a Saturday job. Um, I decided to apply to dried foot because 

00:06:31:04 it was the, the first university to have a professor of pharmacy practice. I was really interested in the hands-on experience of pharmacy rather than the academic side. Um, I did two six month placements in community pharmacy, uh, one in Taunton, in an independent pharmacy and one in boots and Southend on sea, both quite different. I enjoyed the both. And then, um, I got my first job managing a small pharmacy on the outskirts of dried food in West Yorkshire. Um, lovely 

00:07:01:00 little pharmacy, very small, but great population. Um, and you really felt that it could really help the people and be an advocate for them sometimes when they couldn't make an appointment at GP surgery, et cetera. Um, from there, uh, then develop that job in that I started being one of the first pharmacists to do smoking cessation clinics. Um, we won the national no smoking day award for our work in development, smoking cessation clinics and pharmacies. I was doing that sort of a day a week in the upstairs room 

00:07:30:15 with the pharmacy. And then, um, I then got a job, um, as a clinical governance facilitator in what was then Bradford cell from West find the care trust. So that was trying to develop clinical governance, good quality procedures in all the local pharmacies in Bradford, in West Yorkshire. And I enjoyed it  

00:07:48:22 [Speaker 1]: That makes Andrew enjoy that mix.  

00:07:54:24 [Speaker 2]: So the jewelry pharmacy, you don't necessarily  

00:07:57:08 [Speaker 1]: Have to say that again.  

00:07:59:19 [Speaker 2]: Just say that again. Yeah. So I enjoy that mix because the joy of pharmacy is you don't need to do the same clear of all the time and you can have a portfolio though. Whereby at that time I was managing the pharmacy. I was working in it three or four days a week. I was one in a smoking cessation clinic. And then I was also helping support clinical governance and good quality processes in other pharmacies throughout the city as well. Um,  

00:08:25:06 [Speaker 1]: Okay. Okay. Okay.  

00:08:28:18 [Speaker 2]: For personal reasons on a move to Sussex, I locum for a year and one of the joys is as a pharmacist, you can get ad hoc loop and work. Um, so I worked in a pharmacy mainly in Hastings for that time and then was approached by the owner of camps pharmacy. And it was at the time that the community pharmacy contract was changing with the NHS. And so he felt like he needed someone to support his pharmacist to move forward as the, the, the professions advance in. Um, and for me, the job that I do now, which is supporting our young pharmacists in that race and supporting 

00:09:00:23 our pharmacists, um, in new roles.  

00:09:07:20 [Speaker 1]: Yeah,  

00:09:07:23 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. And supporting pharmacists as they develop new roles yeah. As, and supporting young pharmacists as they develop Nuba.  

00:09:15:24 [Speaker 1]: Great. Okay. Thanks for that. I know that's, that's fine. So is this your only role at the moment is then this is your main job.  

00:09:29:20 [Speaker 2]: So  

00:09:41:16 [Speaker 1]: Pharmacists pharmacist, or have different roles  

00:09:45:14 [Speaker 2]: You want to talk, is this one main job? Is that what you're? Yeah. So, um, I, I, I chair West Sussex, local pharmaceutical committee, uh, which takes up a bit of my time whereby um, the local pharmaceutical committee represents all the community pharmacies in that particular County. So as chair of that, I support our members and we try to ensure, um, that, um, community pharmacy in West Sussex is got a high profile. And 

00:10:20:14 we've done a work, for example, the local police and crime commissioner about supporting pharmacy teams during the COVID crisis and work with the press to sort of show them the kind of roles that pharmacy does. Uh, I also, uh, represent camps. And so I worked for on the community pharmacy, patient safety group, whereby we look at and proven patient safety. Um, uh, every year we've been just, our pharmacies were dispensing sort of a, um, 

00:10:48:10 you know, uh, a million prescription items every six to eight weeks. So we need to make sure all million of those are done accurately. And so looking at sort of learning and sharing that learning between pharmacies and different pharmacy companies is really important that we work together as a profession. Um, uh, and, and then I also work as a practicing pharmacist. Um, so that, that takes up a lot of my time and I get to work across all of our pharmacies. Um, and then I also work, um, sort of partly 

00:11:18:14 office based as well, um, looking at new procedures and develop a new services and supporting our trainee pharmacists.  

00:11:27:13 [Speaker 1]: And how do you balance that? Maybe it's okay. We can talk to, yeah, it's sometimes difficult.  

00:11:38:01 [Speaker 2]: It's sometimes difficult to fit everything in. Um, but the joy of the vote I do is there be some flexibility to it. So it's not like necessarily working in a pharmacy where somebody wants their prescription for an antibiotic within five to 10 minutes. Some of the other goals are you don't necessarily need to be done with such immediate timescales. Um, so, but the joy of the pharmacy is there is often we can work available and it is good to be able to get that work-life balance rights as well. Um, that there is that flexibility to have days off in the week and work a weekend, et cetera.  

00:12:11:24 [Speaker 1]: Is there like a time that you feel like you made, it might be big, it might be small, a real difference.  

00:12:23:17 [Speaker 2]: Can we come back to that one.  

00:12:26:07 [Speaker 1]: Next one. I was thinking, is there a kind of highlight of your career so far, or kind of your best experience, something you remember?  

00:12:55:14 [Speaker 2]: I come back to that one because I'm just trying to think of the audience. Yeah.  

00:12:58:16 [Speaker 1]: Um, is there anything like, you feel like you learned from patients ? 

00:13:10:24 [Speaker 2]: Oh, yes. I mean, you learn from patients every day and, and let them, part of the joy of it is some of the characters that you meet every day. Um, and you, the thing I really love about community pharmacy is you see the same people month in, month out a lot of the time, and you can build very close, personal relationships and some of the, or, and you can build very close, personal relationships. And some of the patients can be very kind as well. But I remember when we had our first child, the amount of presence we got and I go back to some of our pharmacies and see them at Christmas presents that people bring that 

00:13:43:00 they're really appreciative of their local pharmacy. Um, and, and for, for me, it's those personal relationships that you build up. I've, um, I used to work very close to the pharmacy that are managed.  

00:13:54:18 [Speaker 2]: And so you really become an integral part of the community. You know, you'd walk down the streets and, you know, people would know who you are, and you'd really feel even in a city, I felt very much a part of the community and it was a city I wasn't brought up and it was miles away from where I was brought up. But that's the joy of pharmacy that you can work anywhere in the country, sometimes anywhere in the world, if you do conversion exams and be able to get a job and you can really sort of integrate into that city or town or village, um, and you know, jobs on the coast and jobs in Scotland, wherever you want to go, and people will 

00:14:28:08 respect their local community pharmacist as part of the community.  

00:14:32:00 [Speaker 1]: Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting that people have left a real misconception about pharmacists, but secretly they love now. I wondered if there was anything you could share about how pharmacy in your career in pharmacy has affected you as a precedent. I think you touched on it earlier. You said you to be quite, um,  

00:14:57:04 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. I think with pharmacy it's, as I've developed, I've become more confident and it's an important part of the bow that even if you are maybe shy at speaking to people, initially, the joy of working in the pharmacy is that shyness is normally fairly quickly taken out of you because you've got to be patient facing. It's not the case as it may have been 30 years ago, that you would hide into the dispense suite behind a hatch and never be seen. And you hand out these mysterious bags of tablets that magically make people get better. The ball is very much now being at the fund and talking to people about those magical medicines and held out 

00:15:29:13 you're going to make them better and adding value to those medicines. There's a lot of very expensive medicines now that if they're not taken properly are complete waste of time.  

00:15:38:13 [Speaker 2]: So the economic value of the pharmacist is advising patients to actually maximize the benefit that they can give. And these pharmacists working in various roles, such as, for example, within GP surgeries and with clinical commissioning groups, advise prescribers and advise in health bodies about how to maximize value for medicines. Um, one of my other roles is, um, I represent the local community pharmacist on the area prescribing committee. So part of that is where we look at new medicines. We look at the value of them and see which ones we're going to recommend for use locally. So it can appear sometimes a little bit 

00:16:12:09 bureaucratic, but it's a valuable role. Um, and something that, that pharmacists are ideally suited to as the expert in medicines.  

00:16:19:16 [Speaker 1]: Is there anything in the pharmacy that you kind of enjoy the challenge of because healthcare, any role is challenging? That's the work, but I suppose you probably have to learn to enjoy it, maybe.  

00:16:32:05 [Speaker 2]: Yeah, of course. I mean, for me, you know, I've worked in various different organizations, some of the, the pharmacy companies or multinationals, I've worked for the NHS and NHS bodies. Currently, I work for a family owned group of pharmacies. And for me, I love that because it gives me the flexibility that, you know, there's not the bureaucracy as there is in some of the organizations and whatever your nature is. Some people love the very organized way in which multinational groups work that suits some people. And for people like me that like a 

00:17:02:18 little bit flexibility and freedom, there's lots of family owned groups of pharmacies where people can get work as well. The other thing is, of course, is that there's also the opportunity to own your own pharmacy. I've got a couple of our ex pre-registration pharmacists who did their training with us, who know own their own pharmacies. And that's where you good to see that the training that we've given them has given them the opportunity and the confidence to go and really invest in the local health care for that community.  

00:17:31:15 [Speaker 1]: Do you feel pharmacy has got the best out of you? Yes. Yeah. Um,  

00:17:39:04 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. I, I feel that I help people in the, in, in the role that I do. I feel it's more than a job. It's a vocation. Um, so yes, I think in the, in the sense I feel that I'm doing good in what I do, even if I'm not necessarily patient facing all the time. I know that at the end of the day, that we're helping people and that we're trying to make sure that the pharmacies in West Sussex and the pharmacy group that I work for, ******we're trying to deliver the best service possible, uh, to the 

00:18:08:14 communities that we serve.  ******

00:18:10:03 [Speaker 1]: And we hear a lot of people say it's more than just the job. What do people mean when they say that?  

00:18:17:02 [Speaker 2]: I think there's a commitment it's, um, you know, th th there's a commitment with a vocation as a commitment with a profession. Um, so yes, as a pharmacist, you have a guided as a professional, you know, even something as simple as you can count a sign someone's passport is there, but it comes with a responsibility. And that responsibility means that you may have to spend some evenings doing continual professional development and going to some meetings and doing some training and some of that will need to be done in your own time. So there are those commitments 

00:18:49:22 that are necessary, um, in order to, to have the respect of being a professional on the high street.  

00:18:55:23 [Speaker 1]: Okay. Um, the last questions I have, you have touched on that. You're good at these interviews. How do you see the future of pharmacy?  

00:19:08:20 [Speaker 2]: Um, for the whole time I've been a pharmacist, um, there's always been certain pharmacy owners that have always been pessimistic about the future pharmacy. Um, but I'm personally always an eternal optimist and those pessimists have never been proved right now. Yes, there's going to be some changes has got to be some mechanization. There's going to be some centralization and people say about Amazon and everything else, but****** there's always going to be a place for local community pharmacy. Because if you look at some of the services that are going on 

00:19:39:04 here, the vaccinations, the prescribing, the face-to-face advice, you need to have local community pharmacists ****for that. So for me, I think for community pharmacy, there's a strong future for pharmacy as a whole, as a, as a career choice. I think it's an excellent choice because it gives you more than the opportunity of this. You know, my wife is a hospital pharmacist. You can work in the NHS and clinical commissioning groups of looking at medicines policy and going into care homes. There's pharmacists working in industry, um, helping develop 

00:20:11:06 medicines as pharmacists, working in wholesale and looking at the procedures for actually making sure that, um, the medicines are safely delivered at the right temperature, et cetera. Um, uh, and pharmacists going to journalism. There's some of my colleagues that have decided to leave pharmacy for a little while and go into teaching. Um, other pharmacists, I know I've gone into lecturing at university, we've gone into academic research. Um, so there's plenty of those for pharmacists out 

00:20:38:21 there. Um, so even if you think, actually I don't want to work in a high street. Pharmacy is a good all degree, a good all-round science degree that gives lots of opportunities for the  

00:20:48:18 [Speaker 1]: Future when the world seemed like it was ending quite recently, I think where you guys slept for another year and you show up. So yes. Yeah. So like the high street might die or something like that, as you say, anyone else be a need for that. Yeah.  

00:21:04:13 [Speaker 2]: I suppose as you, you know, you come back to, you know, what's special about pharmacies, your vibe, you know, all of our pharmacy stayed open throughout the pandemic when you light the rest of the, the population set at home with a few exceptions, of course. Um, uh, and it was hard for a lot of our teams. A lot of our pharmacy teams were scared. It was difficult, but it was also favorable in, and it showed the value to the community of having the local community pharmacy.  

00:21:30:17 [Speaker 1]: My mom, she's a teacher. And through this whole thing, she's been asked to do stuff like she didn't sign up for it. Wasn't part of what he trained for the healthcare professionals through the whole COVID they say, they, they do it all again, this is what we trained for with no, for that. Yeah.  

00:21:55:02 [Speaker 2]: I mean, that's, even when it's, you know, I mean, ******we can talk about COVID, but even when there's a local emergency, or even if there's sort of six foot of snow, you still have to open your pharmacies because people still need them. The medicines there's no bunkie off days in pharmacy. I'm afraid, you know, you is a vocation is a profession you will need to come in. And even if you've got to put your snow suit on to get there because  

00:22:17:04 [Speaker 1]: People need you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like almost like a lifestyle. Um, my last thing to ask you is about your role itself. Um, so could you tell us in a kind of business card, what your role is, just a job title?  

00:22:42:04 [Speaker 2]: I have a few of those. Um, one is I, I chair the West Sussex local pharmaceutical committee, which is part of the community pharmacy. So in Sussex, which represents all the local community pharmacies. My main day job though, is I'm the professional development manager for come since pharmacy to come since is a family owned chain of 77 pharmacies based in Sussex, as part of that, though, I'm responsible for the recruitment and the training of our, what are now called of trainee pharmacists during their foundation year with us. So these are pharmacy 

00:23:14:09 graduates that were done a four year pharmacy degree. They then come to work with us for a year. Uh, my responsibility is to make sure that they're trained and ready so that the end of that year, they can be qualified and effective pharmacists out in the community.  

00:23:30:11 [Speaker 1]: Um,  

00:23:30:23 [Speaker 2]: The joys of working for a family owned firm is that I do a variety of other things as well. So that can be, for example, when new services come out, we try to encourage our pharmacists to do them so well, who's the pharmacist here. He's a prescriber many years ago, I helped get him on the prescribing course. Um, we've sort of worked with developers to make sure that people can go on to apps and if they want to hepatitis B vaccination or shingles, vaccination, or chickenpox vaccination, they can search and they can find this pharmacy so we'll come vaccinate them. Um, 

00:24:04:05 the other kind of thing I do is, um, um, some of the legal work for the company. So it's quite legalistic process to open a new pharmacy. So I will do all the groundwork and the applications and go to hearings with NHS resolution in order to try to get new pharmacies, uh, for our company as well.  

00:24:24:04 [Speaker 2]: Um, I also, um, uh, I'm in charge of patient safety. So I'll represent our group of pharmacies on the community pharmacy, patient safety group. And I also look at learning from any incidents that occur in our pharmacies. So with the best will in the world, if we're dispensing millions of prescriptions each year, there is always going to be the occasional mistake made, but we need to have that culture whereby we can talk about them. We can be honest about them. And most importantly, that we learned from them. So for me, um, one of the things I'm proud of is 

00:24:55:17 that we've embedded in comparisons, a culture of learning and a culture of being open and being honest, that if God forbid you make a mistake, you don't need to be scared about talking about it because it's, if there's that kind of culture where you're scared, someone's going to show to you, that's where mistakes get hidden. And there's no learning from them. We're very proud that the culture we've got is the culture where people are open, they're honest, and they're willing to report any mistakes or incidents that happened so that we can learn from them. And that goes throughout the 

00:25:25:11 whole of the health system, that, you know, that culture of openness, that culture of learning, that culture of honesty is so important.  

00:25:32:17 [Speaker 1]: Absolutely. Yeah. Um, like help is there, is that something you've kind of tried to do in your career through counselors and kind of how have you done that? Because it's hard changing culture.  

00:25:45:08 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. It's, it's hard. And I think that the way that you do it is by earning people's respect is that people meet in you and people learn in that if they do report something to you, that you'll encourage them to learn from it. And that you share that learning with others rather than shout at people. So it's, it's a case of nurturing. Um, we've done that nurtured throughout the company really that we ensure that, you know, w we're fair to people, um, and that, you know, we try to, to learn and improve, you know, trying to have that culture of continuous 

00:26:18:01 improvement is so important.  

00:26:20:02 [Speaker 1]: Is there anything that you feel like coming off the right question or that you want to say you're going to wake up in the middle of the night thinking?  

00:26:30:04 [Speaker 2]: No, I think you've covered everything nicely. I thank you.  

00:26:33:06 [Speaker 1]: Um, the last thing we wanted to do was if you're happy to, um, you take a step back, we want it to get you to just introduce yourself to the camera. I look into the lens just saying, hello, my name is, and then just to give us your job title, very concise, and we can do a few tries as well. Cause it's quite hard to do. Okay. I'll count you in. Yeah. Try and keep looking at the camera and don't kind of look for the 

00:27:17:19 side or attempting it. Yeah. Ready when you are.  

00:27:28:05 [Speaker 2]: Hello, my name's Mark. Mark Donahue. I'm a pharmacist and I'm a professional development manager for comparison's pharmacy. One more. Hello. My name is Mark. Mark Donahue. I'm a pharmacist and I'm the professional development manager for and pharmacy.  

00:27:46:04 [Speaker 2]: Okay. Told you about the things we want it to do, or take a picture for you. And also just get a bit of footage of you around the pharmacy, maybe outside the pharmacy, just so we've got some extra stuff to go with. 

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