Collaborative working as a Pharmacist in South Wales
In 2015, Reem El-Sharkawi (29), became one of the first Primary Care Cluster Pharmacists in Wales. The opportunity to live and work in Swansea, close to family and friends, supported by a dynamic health board and surrounded by stunning coastal scenery, made it an easy choice. Reem explains:
“I was born and brought up in Swansea and always knew that’s where I wanted to work and live. Having completed my pharmacy degree at Reading University, I returned to Singleton Hospital in Swansea, to work as a pre-registration pharmacist. It was then that I secured the role as one of Wales’ first Primary Care cluster pharmacists working to support a network of eight local GP surgeries. The ongoing support and encouragement received by my local health board, the local GP teams and the Welsh Government, has been second to none. Not to mention the chance to work alongside my sister, Lamah, who is a GP partner at one of the surgeries I support.
Focusing on the safe and effective use of medicines, I work alongside GPs, practice nurses, healthcare assistants and local community pharmacists who originate from across the UK, to provide advice and support in prescribing, so that hundreds of local people can benefit from my expertise as a pharmacist, when visiting their local surgery. This not only helps to reduce the GPs’ workload around medicine management, but allows each patient more time with me, face to face or by telephone, to discuss their medication requirements and carry out in-depth medication reviews.
Working as a Primary Care cluster pharmacist within GP surgeries, also provides patients with a greater continuity of care. I get to know each patient really well and can play an integral part in their ongoing treatment. I have also completed additional training as an Independent Prescriber; an opportunity funded by my health board whilst on paid study leave. This has allowed me to expand my knowledge and take on new responsibilities by leading a dedicated clinic for general medication reviews as part of the in-surgery service.
But it’s not all hard work and no play. I’m a huge Swansea City football fan and love going to home games on the weekend with my dad. Being able to watch live football on my doorstep is a real bonus. In fact, I often bump into other healthcare colleagues, both retired and still working, at the games, which just goes to show what a sociable network we have here in Wales. There’s also a vibrant social scene with plenty of food, drink and music festivals year-round. As well as plenty of running and cycling routes to enjoy, along the beautiful seafront.
Are you looking for a rewarding job with welcoming, supportive colleagues and to live in friendly communities? Wales has something for everyone, why wouldn’t you want to train, work and live here?”