Advancing our professional leadership

The profession is evolving, making it increasingly important to develop the leaders of the future. As a sector, we should promote collaboration, innovation and improve access to professional development opportunities. Our scope of practice is broader and we are no longer tied to our traditional sectors. With this comes a need for visionary leaders, who think about the patient, the healthcare provision and the safety and security of our careers.

Leadership in the pharmacy space is not currently representative of its workforce. When planning for the future, we need to overcome barriers that prevent a more inclusive leadership. There is talk around flexible working practices and work/life balance but in reality many workplaces find these impractical to implement, to the detriment of many women. Much more effort needs to be placed on enabling flexibility in the workplace. We also need to look at how pharmacists gain access to progression opportunities. It isn’t just about gaining access, it is about developing skills and confidence to apply for higher roles. Tackling these barriers will inevitably open our route to inclusive and diverse leadership.

The barriers are different for the various demographics and differing life circumstances. We need to look at the circumstances and think about how to make it easier. Personal development plans should be tailored to the individual’s progression, as PDPs are intended, and not just what the business feels they require. We should look at individual organisations and hold them to account to assess how they provide equitable access to develop. Real change comes from taking an honest view, if it is not equitable, why not? Education, training and mentorship of pharmacists must include a leadership branch, as a profession we have become good at focusing on clinical care. We cannot allow this important skill to be forgotten or left behind. A diverse leadership is not only beneficial for our future pharmacists, but also for patients who can relate to the people taking part in their care, leading to equity of access to healthcare for these patients. We gain a more satisfied and enriched workforce, with better retention, regardless of whether it’s a busy community pharmacy, a hospital ward or a clinic in primary care.

Nasrin Khan

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.314773

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