An interview with Nina Barnett - Consultant Pharmacist, Care of Older People, Pharmacy Northwick Park Hospital

An interview with Nina Barnett - Consultant Pharmacist, Care of Older People, Pharmacy Northwick Park Hospital

Please could you start by telling us a bit about your career and journey so far?

As a newly qualified pharmacist in a hospital in Northwest London, I completed a variety of roles, one of which was working with older people.  After this, my job has changed every two or three years and has included acute, intermediate and long-term care and prescribing in hospitals, care homes and working with primary care colleagues in general practice as part of multidisciplinary teams. I became a Consultant Pharmacist in care of older people in 2007 and developed a service to identify and support people at risk of preventable medicines related hospital admissions. In parallel, for the last 10 years I’ve promoted use of a coaching approach to pharmacy consultations and focused on optimise and clinical communication as part of person-centred care in all sectors.


What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of being part of the change in how we communicate with our patients. Introducing a coaching approach to medicines related consultations as part of person-centred care within pharmacy practice has allowed me to work with pharmacy professionals to support our patients in making the most of the medicines they choose to take.


What has been one of your biggest professional challenges and how did you overcome it?

Running a project on a care of the elderly ward in the early 2000s with no other pharmacy input. I’ve never worked solely with non-pharmacy professionals, and it was a challenge to think outside our pharmacy "silo".  Managing the technical and financial hurdles, as well as the project and the people was all new to me, but one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. 


What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Be patient. You may have a good idea, but networking, timing and external support are critical for turning your idea into something real. So, if you have a good idea, hold onto it while you watch out for opportunities where national drivers (policies, guidelines), external support (funding or organisations who align) and the right people come together which come together and allow you to move your idea into action.


What is something you would like others to know? For example, a piece of advice you would like to give women that are at the start of their pharmacy career.

Surround yourself with people who support you - you can't underestimate the value of people who are on "your side". And on the other hand, ALWAYS listen to the detractors because while you may not agree with or choose to do what they say,  you can learn from both considering and understanding opposing views even if it’s something you don’t like hearing!