Real-life story - Narinder Kumar Bhalla
Narinder was always interested in science and medicine. He decided to apply for a pharmacy degree at Demontfort University in 1991 and hasn't looked back. His real passion is medicine safety. He also teaches pharmacy at a local university.
How I got into the role
After graduating, I completed my pre-registration year in the community before managing a community pharmacy for six months. My next step was into hospital pharmacy at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and then on to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. At first, I worked as a resident pharmacist but later became a formulary pharmacist. I've also worked as an adviser for a primary care trust (PCT), including a spell as the head of medicines management.
After three years at the PCT, I returned to hospital practice as lead pharmacist for clinical governance. In 2010 I was appointed to the post of consultant pharmacist for medication safety. I really enjoy it because it requires a high level of clinical and strategic management experience, especially in my area of expertise, medicines safety management.
What I do
For ten years, my work has focused on medicine safety and there has been great success. I set up the trust’s medication safety committee which helped to develop an electronic incident reporting database (RMIS). I worked closely with senior medical, nursing and pharmacy colleagues on this project and a number of other issues such as a medicines safety strategy. This has put safety high up the agenda at the trust.
The best bits and challenges
The best thing about the job is the variety of work. No two days are the same and I really feel that as a pharmacist I make a difference.
Working in pharmacy has enabled me to publish my research widely. I have written articles on a range of clinical topics, including an article on improving anticoagulant safety in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. I have also gained considerable teaching and academic experience and, since 2005, have worked one day a week as teacher practitioner at the School of Pharmacy at University of Hertfordshire.