Interview with Odran Farrell lead pharmacist for critical care and surgery

Odran is Lead Pharmacist for Critical Care and Surgery at Good Hope Hospital, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

What made you realise that you wanted to become a pharmacist?

I did some work experience in a local community pharmacy when I was at school. I enjoyed my two weeks there and was really surprised to be paid at the end of it. This was probably the tipping point.

What have been your key career points?

During my first ever night on call on the Isle of Wight, I had to figure out how to give a very sick child a tiny dose of steroids; helping to write a syringe driver compatibility guide while I worked in a hospice; presenting some fascinating work at the ESCP conference this year on giving video-based feedback to junior doctors and observing a 39 percent reduction in prescribing errors in our surgical admissions unit; and, starting work in intensive care and realising that it’s what I want to do with my life.

Describe your job in three words?

Stopping doctors kill.

What keeps you motivated in your job?

Seeing the changes in patients, preferably for the better. Being an intensive care and cardiology pharmacist, I can see the effects of our clinical decisions on patients over the course of a day.

In addition, having a good understanding of palliative care and being able to apply this knowledge to patients who are dying, when our best care and interventions aren’t enough, means that I can take solace when patients die in comfort.

What challenges have you faced so far in your career and how did you overcome them?

Oh, there’s been plenty. I don’t dwell on them. My top piece of advice is don’t dwell on the past. You can’t change it, it’s shaped you.

What is your next professional challenge?

Aside from starting independent prescribing, Brexit is going to be a massive challenge for me, as we just don’t know how it’s going to affect us.

How long have you been a UKCPA member and what does it mean to you?

I joined shortly after becoming a band six pharmacist. It’s the only organisation that looks out for my best interests as a clinical pharmacist.

Who or what inspires you, professionally or personally?

Jonathan Sexton after that drop goal…taught well by Ronan O’Gara in Paris!

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the profession today?

Brexit and the associated efflux of European staff from the UK.

If you were trying to persuade a young student to enter the world of clinical pharmacy, what would you say?

Your friends in community may earn more, but you’ll get more satisfaction in your clinical work (and have more holidays).

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

I’m Batman.


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