Hala Jawad is a GP practice and community pharmacist, a public health moderator for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) network and a member of the International Forum for Wellbeing in pregnancy (IFWIP) advisory board.

She talks to Léa Legraien about her experience, success and challenges.

Q Why did you become a pharmacist?

A I was always passionate about science and interested in healthcare so it was obvious for me to choose a career in pharmacy, which combines health science with social skills.

Q What is it like to be a GP pharmacist?

A The GP pharmacist role is exciting and challenging at the same time because we can play a vital role in being part of a multidisciplinary team, helping to free up time for GPs and keeping people out of crowded accident and emergency (A&E) departments.

I look forward to seeing a strengthened relationship between community pharmacy and GP practices. I’m excited to be involved in more activities outside of the dispensary and would encourage everyone to do the same.

Q What is the key to your success?

A I'm passionate about all things pharmacy and prepared to go that extra mile every day.

Q What are your biggest achievements?

A I'm humbled to be a Foundation Champion and a GP practice pharmacist mentor for the RPS to help and support pharmacists.

I’m particularly enthusiastic about the role of the pharmacist in social media and set up my website to [keep] helping people. We all lead a busy life and sometimes it’s not possible to visit a pharmacy for minor health issues or queries, which I made possible [through this].

Q What challenges have you faced along the way?

A Standing for the RPS’s English pharmacy board elections [this year]. My aim was to work with the members and grassroot pharmacists to help promote our great profession and ensure its visibility and future.

While I was expecting my pledges to be under the spotlight and to engage in political debates, differences in professional priorities, strong opposing views and strategic differences, I wasn’t expecting relentless personal attacks.

Q What is the most valuable lesson you've learned?

A Keep moving forward. After the board’s elections, I felt very isolated, victimised and harassed.

Despite this negative experience, I chose to not react but rise above it all and remain focused on what’s important. I also realised who my trustworthy friends were during this hard time.

Q What are the key qualities of a good leader?

A Supporting and helping as many pharmacists as possible in achieving their dreams and goals.

Ensuring the voice of the profession is heard, providing assurance and leading on innovation.

A good leader mentors and encourages pharmacists to engage and embrace modern technology by supporting them with tools to share, innovate and network both in the UK and internationally.

Q What advice would you give to women who want to be leaders?

A Female leaders should support other pharmacists to develop, grow and reach their potential and aspirations and pave the way for the new generation of pharmacists who want to become future leaders.

Q What makes you happy at work?

A The most rewarding part of my career has been the positivity and enthusiasm shown towards the pharmacy profession by patients and colleagues.

Q How would you describe the current state of pharmacy?

A The profession is experiencing its most challenging times due to medicines shortages, the funding cuts, workforce pressures, category M reductions, preparations for the Falsified Medicine Directive (FMD) and increasing demands, to name a few.

It’s important to work cohesively with the different healthcare sectors, look at innovation to help us deliver and exert pressure on the Government to invest more in pharmacy.

Building bridges between the sectors is the key to success, with many more services that can be provided with the right support to help patients and improve health outcomes.

Q What changes would you like to see in pharmacy?

A More money, pharmacy being part of multi-disciplinary teams and a national common ailment scheme for starters.

A united voice and more collaboration between all national pharmacy organisations and better engagement at all levels within the profession, from early years to foundation level and beyond.

Q What does the future hold for pharmacy?

A The future of pharmacy is both challenging and promising, with digital health and technology playing a bigger role.