Profile of a Community Pharmacist

The ADAM Study has 50 Lloyds Pharmacies working as trial pharmacies across the country.  The pharmacists and their teams support the study by dispensing acamprosate in our trial bottles with MEMS Caps attached, and by keeping a record of the prescription each participant has, throughout their time on the Juliana Musa_Community Pharmaciststudy.  They are a vital part of the trial phase, seeing our participants on a monthly basis and therefore acting as a key point of contact.  All pharmacists and many of their team members have attended several training sessions so far to keep them up to date on the study procedures and requirements.

Juliana Musa is a pharmacist working at the Kimberworth Pharmacy in Rotherham, and she kindly agreed to a telephone interview with one of our researchers to help us understand how to become a pharmacist, and what the role entails.

Name: Juliana Musa               
Pharmacy: Kimberworth, Rotherham


Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

My passion to become a pharmacist was driven by the desire to help patients and people. I have always been interested in pharmacy because, it is different from medicine which most people study back home. Understanding the various medications and how they would benefit patients is important; as I am motivated towards helping patients, and making their lives better.


Why a community pharmacist not industry or hospital?   

As a community pharmacist, you are in contact with the patient and this generates a certain closeness with them, thus producing positive results. With this close relationship established with the patient, they rely on you for medication or advice, which doesn’t happen in the same way in hospitals or the other arms of pharmacy.  It is all about being patient-centred for me.


What is your background, and how did you train to become a pharmacist?

I studied pharmacy in Nigeria, and graduated in 2000.  After practising as a community pharmacist in Nigeria, I came to the UK in 2007 and decided to take the conversion courses I needed to practise here.  I attended Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, studying a one year programme with the final year pharmacy students, on completion; I did a pre-registration placement and exams which enable me to practise in the UK.  It has been an amazing transition for me, and a really good experience.


How long have you practised as a pharmacist?  Was that in community or hospital elsewhere?

I’ve been practising as a pharmacist for about 17 years.


How long have you worked for Lloyds?

This is my 6th year of working for Lloyds.


How long have you worked at the Kimberworth branch in Rotherham?

I’ve worked at the Kimberworth branch for 5 years. I did one year in a different Lloyds branch and before that and a few months at other branches, until I decided to come here. I’ve mainly worked for Lloyds but I have done a few hours working in other community pharmacies, to see their work pattern.


What is the best part of your job, and why?

The clinical aspect is the best part for me, as patients come in to enquire about particular medications and I have positive answers for them.  Also, when they come in for consultation about some kind of illness or ailment, and the medication I have recommended works for them and they come back to say “thank you pharmacist, this worked “.  Having consultations with patients is where I find my joy in practise so far.


What is the most challenging part of your job, and why?

For me the challenging bit is we do encounter language barriers from time to time. However facilities have been put in place by the company to assist this. We have also built good relationships with the community who help us with this


How have you found being involved in the ADAM study and the training you received?

I’m enthusiastic of the study and I’m definitely interested. I’m just working with the information you’ve provided us.  It is what helps us to get new services into the business, and if it is a trial that will benefit patients and the business, then, I am certainly open to it.  I am personally interested to see practical results.


What else could pharmacists and the pharmacy team do to support patients and families who are experiencing problems with alcohol now?

I believe counselling will go a long way towards addressing this problem. You need the family members to be present as well and to identify the root cause of the problem, duration of this patient current condition. Communication with patient is vital, as you can learn more, understanding patients to what may have triggered illness, so I feel we should talk and treat patients with respect.



How do you see the role of community pharmacists in the future, with regards to working with patients who may be experiencing problems with alcohol?     

Community pharmacists have a crucial role in the future as it will change and become more focused on patients; where pharmacists can become prescribing pharmacists, which has already started in some areas.  As a prescribing pharmacist, you can specialise in specific disease conditions or ailments.  Thus, you could have someone who specialises in alcohol treatment and runs clinics. I think it is the way forward for pharmacies, which is really good, because you are freeing up doctor’s time, and you have that good rapport with the patient and you can solve the problems immediately without needing the GP.


Do they have any research experience? Would you be interested to do more research in future, what sort of research and why?

I’ve never been fascinated by academics or research although if it is patient centred I am open to it.  I will welcome such an opportunity as long as it is patient centred.