Erica Elsden

Job Title

Lead Prescribing Support Pharmacist

Is your role clinical or non-clinical?


When you were in school, did you want to join the NHS?

No, I wanted to study Equestrian Science.

Tell us about your job

A typical day for me starts with getting to one of my varied work places; it will be one of the GP surgeries I support, my office work base or working from home. I then switch on my laptop and check through my outstanding emails. I manage 4 other pharmacists, so like to check in with them at the start of the day to make sure everyone is ok. My role is very varied and involves a lot of autonomy, which was such a refreshing change to working in community pharmacy. I check on my work plan and meetings for the day so I know how best to plan my day. It does not always go to plan as there can be many “curve balls” that come my way in the form of queries from GPs/pharmacists/nurses/pharmacy technicians, which sometimes can be answered in minutes but others can take half an hour or more.

How did you come to work in the NHS?

I left school in Ireland with a place secured in university in Dublin for science, as I had not gained the levels needed for a Pharmacy degree. I then took a sabbatical to work for a year before starting uni. After the year off I started university and completed 2 years of a 3 year BSc here, using the results from my second year to secure a place in the Pharmacy Course in a university in Liverpool. I then completed the 4 year Master of Pharmacy course, a 1 year pre-registration (full time in a community pharmacy) and the final exam, and qualified as a pharmacist in 2007. I worked in community pharmacy for 10 years and after the birth of my second son, I moved to a role in the Medicines Optimisation Team in a CCG, which is where I currently work. I first worked in the NHS as a pharmacy in the summers when I was a pharmacy student in Liverpool.

What are some challenges?

Managing my professional peers.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I am able to use my ideas to solve problems in our area of the NHS which improve patient safety/cost efficiencies/prescribing quality. I also really enjoy the autonomy, and flexibility is so helpful being a parent (e.g. being able to see my child’s nativity or sports day without having to take a whole day off as annual leave).

Is there career progression in your role and how would you get there?

Yes. After 5 years in my prescribing support pharmacist role (8A), my line manager retired and I was successful in being promoted to his role (moving up a band to 8B). There is still scope to move up further bands in this role to 8C and 8D.

What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?

Working for the NHS can be very rewarding to see the change that you can make to patients lives. Obviously depending on the sector and the role you choose work pressures can be very different. It is important to ensure that you get a good work-life balance so you can be your best in your role!

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