At the age of 25, Thorrun Govind is one of the youngest pharmacists to have been elected to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English pharmacy board. Léa Legraien talks to her about her love for the profession, ambitions and hopes.
Q How did you feel when you were elected to the national pharmacy board?
A I was delighted! I hope that I can help reach the gap between some of the younger pharmacists and the experienced members on the board.
I want to work with them and make sure we’re doing the best thing for the profession because I’m really proud to be a pharmacist.
Q What are you hoping to achieve on the board?
A I’m bringing a fresh voice for pharmacy to the board. I’m a passionate advocate for the profession.
I’ve been marginally on my own as a ‘one-woman pressure group’ pushing for it. I’ve fiercely promoted pharmacy across media, speaking out about the cuts on BBC News and BBC Newsnight, talking about pharmacy and the great work it does and championing pharmacists.
It’s going to be really great to have people who want the same thing with me, which is for pharmacy to be at the top of the list and always have a seat at the table.
Q What is the key to your success?
A I think I’m quite resilient when things don’t go so well.
The most important thing is that you have to keep going and never give up because you face a set back.
Q What challenges have you faced in your career?
A I think age can be a challenge because people might think you haven’t got the experience and might bypasss you.
I don’t think it’s fair to seclude someone based on their age just as you wouldn’t judge them on their sex or race.
For example, someone who has been qualified for 50 years might not have the same dedication as someone who has been qualified for two years.
Q What are you the most proud of in your career?
A Championing pharmacy on BBC Newsnight is probably one of the highlights. People come to me more often. At the start, it was quite demoralising, as people aren’t as interested in hearing the work pharmacists are doing – we have to fight for our seat at the table.
My other highlight is doing a monthly pharmacy phone in, which started off on BBC Lancashire and is now on BBC radio London where I talk about pharmaceutical relevant issues.
I guess also being innovative with the regard to pharmacy and getting the relevant issues out there.
Q What are your plans for the future?
A My priority at the moment is to continue learning. I will start a pharmacy diploma in September at Manchester University, which would give me a better platform to then start trying to become an independent prescriber.
There is a lot of work to be done and I’m looking forward to working with fellows on the RPS board and help them develop the future of the profession.
I’m very committed to being a member of this board and making sure I’ll stay up to date. Also, reaching out to the members and finding out what they want and what’s important to them.
Q What are the most important qualities pharmacists should have?
A Always putting the patient first. You have to think about the long term, how we’re going to prepare to look after them, especially when you know that the NHS is under increasing strain.
But we’ve also got to look after the pharmacists. It’s a hard and pressurising job and we need to make sure they are looked after, particularly their mental health.
I’m passionate about supporting mental health. We have to make sure pharmacists who are feeling like they’re struggling can get the support they need.
Q What advice would you give to women who want to be pharmacists?
A The time is now. We have pharmacists in a range of different roles and it’s very diverse. It’s a flexible career choice in terms of that, being in a part time role for example.
It’s an exciting time to be in pharmacy.
Q What makes you happy at work?
A When I feel I have made a difference. For example, I had a patient who was suffering from hypertension symptoms.
I did a medicine use review (MUR) and went through everything and after having chatted with them about what they were taking and when, then I realised that they had stopped taking some of the medication, which was causing the symptoms.
It’s the patient contact really that makes me feel like I’m part of what we are about, making sure patients are put first.
Q How would you describe the current state of pharmacy?
A It’s a difficult time in terms of patients, as pharmacies are struggling to get hold of some medications, but also for pharmacists due to uncertainty at the moment.
But there are also so many opportunities. You can move career as well, it’s not like before when the pathways used to be quite structured. Now, you can start in community then go to a GP practice, you can go into industry. I think it’s more fluid nowadays.
Community pharmacies are on the high street, available to anyone.
I think we’re the answers to helping reduce pressure on GPs mainly. I think we need to develop this as part of the profession.
Q Are you confident about the future?
A Yes, because we have a lot to give and one of the primary ways of securing the future for pharmacy is to make sure the stakeholders know exactly what we’re good at and the value of our role.
There is a lot of work to be done and I think pharmacy is the answer.