Case study

Pharmacist — Sannah Khan

Sannah works as a locum pharmacist and is also studying for a Masters in cancer pharmacology. Find out how this combination of work and study is helping her achieve her career aims

How did you get onto your Masters course?

On completing an MPharm at the University of Bradford, I applied for a Masters course in cancer pharmacology through their fast-track application process for current students. This programme will give me a better scientific foundation to enter the world of research with.

How relevant is your Pharmacy degree?

My degree is very relevant. I interact with patients when I'm working as responsible pharmacist - a registered pharmacist in charge of the registered pharmacy - and need the knowledge and skills I acquired on the MPharm programme to do this.

The degree also helps me in my postgraduate course because I can now understand the effects of drugs on patients in real life and apply my knowledge to real-world situations.

What's a typical working day like?

As no two pharmacies are the same, and all patients are unique, I'm able to work with many different teams of people. This is something I love about pharmacy, as it always keeps the job interesting. The Masters course involves some teaching, and I'll soon be choosing a specialist area to base my research project on.

What do you enjoy the most about your job and course?

I love working with different people and getting to know new patients all the time. I also enjoy studying alongside working. I'll carry on learning even after I graduate from the MPharm.

What are the challenges?

Good time management is tough to maintain sometimes, but it does mean that I make sure every minute of my day is productive.

What are your career ambitions?

I want to move into academia and study for a PhD in a topic related to cancer pharmacology.

In five years' time I hope to be teaching and researching as part of a PhD programme - or even completing my PhD.

How important is your Masters and work experience to your career plans?

My Masters is very important, as I'll need a strong scientific foundation to base more complex research on in the future.

As for work experience, the lab work I complete as part of the course will be sufficient. That being said, any extra experience will only help my future applications to shine.

Any advice for choosing a Masters degree?

Do as much research as much as you can. Look through the different opportunities being offered around you, get to know lecturers and staff members, have a look at the facilities and speak to anyone you know who may have done the same course for their advice.

What are your top tips for others wanting to become pharmacists?

  • Stay focused and dedicated from the start of your degree. If you do, you won't ever need to 'cram' for exams or feel too stressed out.
  • Embrace every opportunity, whether you're joining societies related to your programme, volunteering, giving feedback or anything else that may come your way, or that you can proactively seek out. If you do so, you'll have excelled in so many areas by the time you leave university.
  • Don't worry too much about locking in solid future plans - as long as you're doing your absolute best and taking advantage of every opportunity, you won't have to restrict yourself when you leave university.
  • Networking is a huge part of pharmacy. Knowing people from all walks of life can get you some amazing chances to work abroad, visit hospitals or laboratories, research with great minds and so much more.

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