Seyi Rotimi is a Senior Clinical Pharmacist working in integrated and community services, as well as with crisis response and discharge to access teams around North Manchester. Here we take a look at her progression from Pharmacy student, right through to being nominated for awards and working at management level in the job she had long dreamed of doing…
Although I didn’t know a lot about what being a pharmacist entailed, I knew that I wanted to be one since high school. I wanted to be able to study how different medicines worked and how they were used to treat various health conditions.
In 2008, I attended the Pharmacy open day at the University of Manchester and fell in love with city and the Pharmacy School. Looking back now, I am not completely sure how I managed it, but even the Manchester weather didn’t dampen my desire to study at the University.
I worked hard to secure a place on the course and was delighted when I eventually got my offer; I had been unable to secure a place the year before and although I was offered a place to study at a different university, I turned it down.
Studying at the University of Manchester was an exciting time for me: a time of maturity and responsibility; sorting out my accommodation, manage my finances, meeting deadlines and of course getting to lectures on time. I strove for excellence at all times and this sparked healthy competition within my study group, but also a sense of camaraderie which quickly evolved into lasting friendships that have stood the test of both time and distance.
The Pharmacy School were always keen to provide support through various channels like the Careers Service, Pharmacist Support and Nightline. I was blessed with tutors who took a genuine interest in my progress and spurred me on when things got tough – I am happy to say I am still in touch with a number of them today and I thank them for helping me on my journey to becoming a fully-fledged pharmacist.
My first peek into the real life of pharmacy started in 2011 during a summer placement at Salisbury’s; I then had the opportunity to experience hospital pharmacy during my clinical skills tutorials at the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI): I was involved in mentoring students and also had the opportunity to raise funds for local charities.
In the Summer of 2012, I volunteered as a Clinical Auditor at the University Hospitals of Leicester, auditing the management of hypoglycemia and ‘hypo boxes’ on hospital wards. My project got shortlisted for an award at the annual poster competition held by Diabetes UK in 2013 and I was also nominated for a similar award by the BPSA (British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association) for raising awareness for asthma in Manchester.
Leading up to graduation I was able to secure pre-registration placement at the Central Manchester Foundation Trust. Once I qualified as a pharmacist, I became part of their shift working rotational pharmacist team. A year later, I enrolled on the post-graduate clinical diploma programme at Manchester.
During this time, an opportunity to work as a clinical pharmacist in GP (general practice) arose as part of the NHS Executive’s national pilot programme. I had 18 months training in phase 1 and learnt about the ‘Five Year Forward View’ and how pharmacists plan ahead to develop and make a real impact in patient care. During this training, I developed consultation skills and was also able to complete my Independent Prescribing training at the University of Bolton in 2017.
As a GP pharmacist, I was able to offer person centred consultations in polypharmacy, general medication reviews, hospital discharge reviews and care home reviews; I was also able to run specialist clinics in paediatric asthma and anti-coagulation.
I worked with various multidisciplinary teams in conducting quality improvement projects, some of which include working with National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, as well as Think Kidneys’ campaign to improve the management of post-acute kidney injury. My team’s contributions helped develop a tool kit endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners which is now widely used across the UK
I also worked collaboratively with a team of pharmacists and technicians at Bury’s Clinical Commissioning Group, GP Federation and mental health specialist pharmacists to reduce inappropriate prescription of anti-psychotics to patients with learning disabilities within the area. Our work was shortlisted at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress awards in 2018.
During phase 2 of the pilot, I had the opportunity to work with a project manager as a senior pharmacist, leading a team of clinical practice pharmacists across 20 GP practices in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale: I carried out business development/ service delivery, project and line management, all of which brought me to my to today.
My advice to pharmacy students is this: constantly seek out avenues to put your knowledge into action – you may never know what opportunity lies ahead but when it presents itself, take the challenge head on. Use every opportunity to display your strengths and work on your weaknesses – “Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.”- Ronald E. Osborn.