A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate has been named Trainee Pharmacist of the Year by the UK’s largest independent pharmacy business.
Shiv Shanay Sharma scooped the top prize at an awards night hosted by Well Pharmacy as part of its annual Preparation for Practice conference in Manchester.
Shiv and Misha at the Well Pharmacy awards nigth in Manchester
After graduating from Pharmacy MPharm at DMU in 2021, the 24-year-old from Leicester enrolled on Well Pharmacy’s reputable Foundation Training programme, where he was nominated for the award by his tutor after excelling in his customer-facing skills and work placement at a GP practice in Leicester city centre.
Described by the judging panel as someone who is “calm, focused and takes the lead with his team,” Shiv wasn’t even aware he had made the shortlist for the awards until the nominees were announced on the day.
He said: “I was really shocked that I won. Even now it hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest. So many pharmacy students go through Well Pharmacy and have worked so hard throughout the year; winning is still hard for me to process.
“We had a practice day as part of the conference followed by the award ceremony and I went into it completely unaware I’d even been shortlisted. I knew my tutor had mentioned nominating me but it was a complete surprise hearing my name read out as one of three nominees.
“It’s lovely to be recognised in this way and it reflects the hard work everyone has put into the year.”
Shiv was not the only nominee from DMU to be shortlisted for the top prize on what turned out to be a successful showing for the Pharmacy course. Close friend and coursemate, Misha Maisuria, who was also enrolled on the Foundation Training programme, was named as one of the two runners-up as DMU dominated the top three places.
“I didn’t think it was much of a big deal when I found out that my tutor had nominated me for the award,” Misha said. “It wasn’t until I got to the ceremony that I realised how important it was for the company.”
“I was a very reserved person at the start of my foundation year but, during the training programme, you’re put into intense situations – flu season for example – and you have to take on the responsibility of becoming the second pharmacist. It really helped not just my clinical skills but my confidence and I think that’s why I was nominated for the award.
“Although I didn’t win, it was very nice to come runner up and Shiv definitely deserved to win – I’m very happy for him!”
Having struck up a strong friendship in the first year of their studies, Misha and Shiv have now qualified as professional pharmacists and have both secured roles at the Leicester-based Victoria Park Health Centre as GP Practice Pharmacists.
Clinical pharmacists like Shiv and Misha have been increasingly working as part of general practice teams since a successful NHS trial in 2015 demonstrated the benefits the role brings to patients.
However, there are currently only approximately 1,000 full-time equivalent clinical pharmacists working in GP practices across England, which NHS England is hoping to address with its GP five-year contract framework. The plan, launched in 2019 aims to recruit an additional 20,000 additional staff to work in primary care teams, including clinical pharmacists.
Shiv said: “While I was studying for my GCSEs, I decided that I would like to go into pharmacy. My mum works in one as a dispenser, so I knew of the environment and just fell in love with the idea of being a pharmacist.
“Now I’m working in a GP practice, I’m loving it. It’s actually a little different from what I was doing at Well. In the GP practice we’re looking at medication management and do reviews for long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular reviews.
“I’ll be coming back to DMU in January to study for my post-graduate diplomacy to help me specialise in treating mental health conditions before becoming a prescriber myself.”
Posted on Friday 25th November 2022