Case study

Senior support clinical oncology pharmacist — Imun Kaur Madar

Having completed work placements during her degree, Imun decided to become a hospital pharmacist. Find out about her work as part of a multidisciplinary team supporting patients with cancer

What degree did you study?

I studied for a Masters of Pharmacy (MPharm) at the University of Birmingham, graduating with a first class degree. I was part of the first cohort who graduated with an MPharm degree at this university.

How did you get your job?

I knew that I wanted to become a hospital pharmacist after work experience placements during the summer holidays. I was then successful in getting a pre-registration place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which was a valuable training opportunity. Once I qualified, I was a rotational support pharmacist working on different wards including respiratory, neurology and diabetes wards.

Throughout my career, I have been interested in learning about cancer and have seen the vital role that pharmacists have for these patients. Subsequently I jumped at the chance to become a part of the oncology pharmacy team.

How relevant is your degree?

My MPharm degree played a vital role in preparing me to become a hospital pharmacist working in oncology. I participated in communication sessions with actors playing different healthcare professionals and patients, which provided me with the skills and confidence when speaking to patients and members of the healthcare team when qualified.

We also had small group teaching sessions where we had activities to apply theoretical knowledge gained from lectures to patient cases.

What's a typical working day like?

My role varies on a daily basis. I work on the chemotherapy day unit with the nurses and doctors, checking doses of chemotherapy prescriptions and ensuring that patients are fit enough to proceed with treatment according to blood test results. I also manage patients on the wards who are admitted to hospital due to complications relating to their cancer or treatment.

I also work in a pharmacist’s clinic among consultants, speaking to patients newly started on oral chemotherapy agents, providing advice on dosing regimens and managing side effects.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the rewarding nature of my job. Pharmacists are a vital member of the multidisciplinary team to support patients with cancer who are receiving treatment at a difficult time, ensuring it is prescribed correctly and providing advice about side effects.

What are the challenges?

As oncology is a constantly developing field with new treatments being introduced regularly, it can be overwhelming to keep up to date with all of the guidance. However, I enjoy learning about the new treatments that become available for patients.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to be a pharmacist prescriber running my own clinic alongside consultants where I will review and prescribe treatment for my own set of patients.

What advice can you give to others?

  • Organise summer placements during your degree. This will help you decide what field of pharmacy you want to go into.
  • Get involved in patient-based activities within the course as much as possible. This will help you once you start practicing as a pharmacist when faced with real patients.
  • Show enthusiasm to learn when you start as a pre-registration pharmacist as this can help you when applying for jobs once qualified.

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