We’ve had lots of ideas and discussions about how I can use my skills and experience with the charity and now that we’ve had the chance to consolidate them, I want to tell you just what I’ll be doing in my role as Volunteer Pharmacist & Research Officer for Action for M.E.
Lots of people have asked me the question, “How can you be a pharmacist when you don’t work in a pharmacy?” The title really describes the profession I belong to, rather than the specific job I do. Pharmacists work in all sorts of other sectors, such as in hospitals, in the pharmaceutical industry, in research and as lecturers in universities. I’ll be writing more about pharmacy sectors in a blog series coming soon.
Since completing my Pharmacy degree 4 years ago, I’ve been unable to work due to relapsing to severe M.E. You can read more about my background in the articles in My M.E. story.
As a result of my 25 years of living with M.E., I have a personal understanding of the devastating impact the illness can have on a person’s life, along with the difficulties many people with M.E. encounter when seeking medical help. I’m also aware how the correct support and information is so important in empowering us to receive the healthcare we’re entitled to and learning how to manage our health.
I’m still unable to do regular paid work but an improvement in my health means that I’m ready to start making use of my experiences and skills by volunteering for Action for M.E. from home and here are the sort of activities I’m involved in:
Writing a resource for pharmacists about M.E.
Community pharmacists are becoming a more integral part of the NHS. There’s very little information available for pharmacy professionals about M.E., so I think there’s a real need for a resource that provides evidence-based information. It will also highlight the impact of M.E. and the sort of advice and practical help we might need from a community pharmacy. We’d like to use the resource for training materials, talks and articles for pharmacists’ continued professional development. You can read more about the resource here.
Providing information and writing articles
I provide Action for M.E. with information and write articles on the following topics for my blog, social media, the charity’s website and membership magazine, InterAction:
- Medicines and their safe use
- Drug research news
- General health issues for people with M.E.
- Pharmacy and medicines topics in mainstream media
- Pharmacy services and how they may be helpful for people with M.E.
- Empowering people with M.E. to use their pharmacy and the NHS effectively
- Providing the charity with information related to pharmacy, the NHS and health policy
- Making topical public health campaigns relevant to people with M.E.
My blog has been up and running for a few months now and it has become a useful tool for sharing and gathering information, for the charity, people with M.E. and pharmacists. You can sign up to receive notification of new articles here.
In addition to the above, I aim to encourage patient empowerment and patient involvement. I also signpost people with M.E. to appropriate help and evidence-based information sources, when needed.
I will be supporting the charity’s CEO, Sonya Chowdhury, by:
- Writing a monthly round-up of research news for the Action for M.E. website for people who don’t have a science background
- Having input into the charity’s research strategy
- Measuring the ongoing impact of research in the UK
- Contributing to scoping work to look at how much research funding there is in the UK compared with other countries, for the UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative
It means a great deal to me to be able to use my degree to do something I’m so passionate about. If you have skills that you think you could use to help raise awareness of M.E., or support any of Action for M.E.’s work, check out the charity’s website and get in touch.