Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

60 seconds with…

Reena Barai: comfy shoes, having no regrets and living la dolce vita

A minute in the company of the pharmacy owner and National Pharmacy Association board member.

Reena Barai, pharmacist, montage

Who is Reena Barai?

  • Newly elected National Pharmacy Association board member — the first female appointee for four years
  • Independent community pharmacy contractor and pharmacy owner in Sutton, Surrey, since 2003
  • Previously a hospital and primary care pharmacist, and Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education tutor

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a pharmacist, like my father.

What is special about the place you grew up?

I grew up above the pharmacy I now run. Since I was a one-year-old, I always wanted to be downstairs talking to people.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a pharmacist?

Either a chef or an events organiser.

What was your best career move?

After 10 years of being in my comfort zone, I decided on a whim to apply for a job at the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, and got the job!

Outside of work, when people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Ideas or personal problems — I’m quite a good listener.

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

Diversity. I have always thought people should be hired because of merit. Only recently have my eyes been opened to the need for diversity.

What are some things you have had to unlearn?

The need to talk. A wise person once said to me: “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that measure.”

To whom would you most like to apologise?

No one. I live life with a clear conscience.

Who has impressed you most with what they have accomplished?

My mum. She was widowed at a young age but raised my brother and I single handedly, and did it with a smile on her face the whole way through.

What’s the best way to start the day?

With a positive attitude. Whatever attitude you choose to have, you spread that message to people around you too.

What question would you most like to know the answer to?

My staff and I wish we all knew when we were going to die, to remind us to live life to the full.

What small gesture from a stranger made a big impact on you?

A woman came up to me at a conference and said, “I can tell you are a very special person, but I can also tell you need to look after yourself.” She gave me a book, ‘Who are the flowers in your garden?’ I balled my eyes out while reading it. The woman was the author, Julie New.

What personality trait do you value most and which do you dislike the most?

I value empathy and dislike jealousy.

When people look at you, what do you think they see?

They see a very assured, confident person. Someone very different to who I think I am.

What can you not get right, no matter how many times you try?

Ice skating, roller skating, any kind of skating. I just can’t.

What do you take for granted?

My health, we just assume we are healthy all of the time.

Where do you usually go when you have time off?

Every school holiday my family and I open a map of England, and we have a “Premier Inn” holiday for a night or two. Every holiday we discover a new place.

How different was your life one year ago?

Last year was incredible, I turned 40. I took several short breaks and travelled around Italy and lived ‘la dolce vita’. I switched off from pharmacy and social media. It was very purposeful and mindful.

What’s worth spending more on to get the best?

Comfortable shoes.

What single innovation in pharmacy has made the most difference in your field?

The introduction of consultation rooms.

If you had the chance to do it all again, what would you change?

Nothing. I live my life with no regrets. You have to learn from your mistakes and grow.

If you were a drug, what drug would you be and why?

Domperidone — it sounds like a fancy champagne, makes things easier to swallow, and sometimes has an effect on people’s hearts.

Know an interesting pharmacist?

Let us know if there is anyone you think The Pharmaceutical Journal should feature. Email with their name and contact details.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204789

Readers' comments (1)

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions features over 400 closed book and calculation questions. With the registration exam having gone through a complete transformation in 2016, this volume has been developed around the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) guidelines.

    £33.00Buy now
  • British National Formulary (BNF) 75

    British National Formulary (BNF) 75

    BNF 75 (March 2018) is your essential reference book for prescribing, dispensing, and administering medicines.

    £57.50Buy now
  • Dale and Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law

    Dale and Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law

    This new edition of Dale and Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law is the definitive guide to law and ethics for pharmacy practice in the UK. It covers law and professional regulation and is firmly established as the definitive student textbook and reference work on this subject in the UK. Fully updated to include changes to pharmacy laws and regulation.

    £57.00Buy now
  • Remington Education: Physical Pharmacy

    Remington Education: Physical Pharmacy

    Remington Education: Physical Pharmacy provides a simple, concise view of the concepts and applications of physical pharmacy.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Social and Cognitive Pharmacy

    Social and Cognitive Pharmacy

    Social and Cognitive Pharmacy is a practical handbook for learning and teaching sociology and psychology, and applying this to pharmacy practice.

    £33.00Buy now
  • FASTtrack: Law and Ethics in Pharmacy Practice

    FASTtrack: Law and Ethics in Pharmacy Practice

    FASTtrack: Law and Ethics in Pharmacy Practice covers key legislation affecting pharmacy and the pharmacist practitioner.

    £25.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Reena Barai, pharmacist, montage

Jobs you might like

See more jobs

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.