Amita Aggarwal, Volunteer

“The best part about the activity was seeing the students engage and be interactive. The questions they asked showed that they had been listening and it was wonderful that they were interested in pharmacy.”

  • Name: Amita AggarwalHeadshot of Amita
  • Job title: Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow
  • Organisation: Health Education England


What activity did you participate in?

I participated in a virtual NHS Careers Chat with year 12/13 students from Haggerston School in Hackney. As the focus was on healthcare careers, I was joined by a dietician and felt the combination of pharmacy and dietetics was great. 

Why did you decide to take part in the activity?

I decided to take part in the activity as I am passionate about my profession and am really proud to be a pharmacist. There can be misconceptions about our role and lack of awareness around it and thought this was a great opportunity to raise awareness of this to students considering their career choice. Pharmacist’s roles are changing and becoming more patient focusing and I think it is really important for students to hear about the impact we have on patients and the exciting opportunities there are for pharmacists. 

How did you get involved?

I was invited by the charity to join a virtual careers chat with the school, as it was an NHS focused careers event which falls under the charity’s partnership with Health Education England. I am also registered as an NHS Ambassador on the portal so available for any other opportunities and for schools wanting to hear about pharmacy.

How did you prepare?

I prepared firstly by reflecting on my career to date and the journey I have taken to becoming a pharmacist. I put myself back into the shoes of when I was deciding about career choices to understand what information would have been useful for me. As visual aids can help retain information, I decided to make a fun PowerPoint that would be engaging and exciting for the students.

Take us through the day and activity:

The event started by being introduced by the organisers from Inspiring the Future. Since the focus of the session was on NHS Careers, half the session was delivered by a dietician and half from me. When it was my turn, I delivered a short PowerPoint explaining the three different roles within a pharmacy team: pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff. I then went on to do some myth busting followed by my personal journey. This was followed by a “Question and Answer” session where students submitted questions which I answered. It was great to see the interaction and engagement from students! To conclude, the teacher thanked us for our participation.

What was the best part about the activity for you?

The best part about the activity was seeing the students engage and be interactive. The questions they asked showed that they had been listening and it was wonderful that they were interested in pharmacy.

What was the strangest/funniest/best question you were asked?

The best question was also the most challenging question and it was “What do you find most challenging about being a pharmacist?” 

What is a key piece of advice you gave?

A key piece of advice I gave was if you are interested in healthcare, science and helping people then pharmacy could be for you.

What impact do you think you’ve made on the lives of young people you spoke with? 

I think I have made a real difference as I have highlighted three different roles within pharmacy. As each has a different entry route for example going to University or going straight into on the job training, I feel this has really opened up opportunities for young people depending on their preferences.

 

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