Case study: “I’m always trying to get more people on board"
Shape the Future: CRN East of England Pharmacist talks about his joy in helping his students discover research
Originally from Spain, Carlos completed his Pharmacy degree in 2001 in Madrid. He never practised as a pharmacist in his home country, working only as a quality control officer before moving to the UK.
After first working as a retail pharmacist across Suffolk and Essex, Carlos moved to Ipswich Hospital to take up a role as a Junior Rotational Pharmacist.
“I was doing a little bit of everything - oncology, dispensary, medicines information and manufacturing. After a few years, I started working as a Research Pharmacist, and from 2008/2009, I was the Head of Clinical Research in the pharmacy department at Ipswich Hospital.”
Carlos describes his time at Ipswich Hospital as a period where he was able to explore a huge range of research opportunities. “I got involved with a number of clinical trials that were happening in the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) and I gave support to them.”
In 2018, Carlos moved on to begin a new role as a Lecturer for the Non-Medical Prescribing course at the University of Suffolk and now teaches in an array of courses and modules there. He describes his Clinical Research teaching as one of his favourite lectures and is passionate in telling his students about how they can get involved in research when they qualify.
“I always tell my students to try it. When I was working in Ipswich hospital, I always encouraged all the pharmacists, pharmacist technicians and student pharmacists to get their Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training done and get involved in research. Even just doing your GCP training is a good way to get interested and to get to know about research.”
In addition to helping his colleagues to open up future career options, Carlos took a very hands-on approach to showing other staff members the day-to-day practices of a clinical research pharmacist whilst based at Ipswich Hospital.
“I would always invite them to give me a hand preparing prescriptions for clinical trials or attending meetings with me to see what's going on. That's something that I was always encouraging – I’m always trying to get more people on board.”.
In addition to his teaching, Carlos also works for the Ipswich and East Suffolk Primary Care Network (PCN) as a clinical pharmacist which helps him to maintain his appetite for the job: “It's fantastic because I can still keep my skills and my knowledge, and make sure I don't lose that, as well as giving help and support to my colleagues in the PCN.”
Carlos is keen to show his gratitude to the NIHR for all the support he feels he has had during his research career in the UK.
“The NIHR have been fantastic, they’ve always been there for me and have provided much of the training that I've attended, either online or face to face. They've always been very, very helpful and as an organisation, I find them very approachable. They've got the right resources for people who want to get involved in research, and I find them also very active - they're very enthusiastic about what they do.”