Posted by: Anas Hassan6 NOV 2013
It is one of my worst kept secrets that I love being present in a TV or radio studio. I do present on radio after all in my local area and I've been on television on numerous occassions, locally and nationally. I feel at home with the lights, microphones and electrifying atmosphere around my environment.
So imagine the joy that was brought onto my face when I read a letter tonight on this website which was written by Dr Malcolm E. Brown. He rued the fact that a pharmacist didn't front the BBC Four programme, "Pain, Pus and Poison".
I passionately symapthise with him, because it is critical that the public relations of pharmacy is as healthy as possible and having vibrant pharmacist television personalities will really boost the public image of the profession to the public.
Millions of patients visit a pharmacy everyday, whether it's to buy a medicine to treat a minor ailment, seek advice to stop smoking or to receive counselling on any medicines being taken. It is disappointing that pharmacy is relegated to the bottom of the pile on nearly every occassion when it comes to the media.
But, dare I say this, at the same time we have to ask ourselves why that is the case. Are we too small as a profession? Are we too conservative as a profession? Or are we not doing enough to get ourselves out there?
I don't think the size of the profession frankly matters or ever has been an issue. Quality counts, not quantity. But as far as the other two questions are concerned, we are very guilty of looking inwards too often. Also, some of us within pharmacy downplay our own achievements at nearly every opportunity, which is very sad. Both are extremely unhelpful, damaging and are holding pharmacy back. And that's why we don't feature as often as we really should in the media. And if we do, then sadly it's often for the wrong reasons.
I get the impression sometimes that some people within the profession are far too timid when it comes to shouting about the achievements and the abilities of pharmacists. I find that upsetting, because I honestly cannot see the fault in playing up the positives of the profession in public. What is there to be afraid of? There is nothing arrogant or corny about doing that, despite what others may think.
I presented my first radio programme when I was only 15 years old. Nearly a decade on, I have completed two excellent work placements at Scotland's biggest commerical TV broadcaster, STV, and Fife radio station, Kingdom FM. I currently present a weekly radio show on Victoria Radio Network in Kirkcaldy (where, for a time, I even did a feature called "Healthy Matters" where I discussed about healthcare topics each week) and run two blogs online (including this one!).
And very soon, I shall be piloting a brand new health podcast online. I will be exploring many different aspects of health issues and healthcare in general and I'm very eager to enlighten everyone! Being a pharmacist is not just about working in the dispensary only. Being an ambassador for the profession in the media spotlight is such a rewarding experience, beneficial for patients and the profession as you are enlightening the public on healthcare issues, which matters to the country. And even if a pharmacist wasn't to be interested in the media, techincally, every pharmacist is an ambassador for the profession anyway.
I appreciate not many people reading this will have an active interest in the media, but the message I want to get across to people who do have an interest in the media is to act on that interest and really develop a taste for the media. And also, get yourself out there! Market yourself online (it's so easy these days to set up a personal website), get yourself involved (getting involved in hospital radio is a superb place to start) and make the most of any opportunity you may receive to get on television or radio (or even the written press).
The media are always looking for people and looking for interesting stories and topics to cover. Pharmacists can inspire and really be of great help to the public when it comes to covering healthcare issues.
Or, you could go one step further and strive to become the compère of the show! Like myself, arguably.