My UEA Story: Aditya Aggarwal
Tell us about your experiences studying pharmacy at UEA:
How did you find out about UEA?
What did you enjoy most about your course?
What were the biggest challenges on the course?
I found out about UEA as I knew a previous student who had gone there to study pharmacy.
He explained why it was a great university, and thoroughly enjoyed his time there. He explained how the course was very good and innovative.
I enjoyed the support I got from the lecturers and the variety in the degree.
The lecturers are genuinely nice people who want you to do well.
What is your current role?
I am on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme in the policy & strategy stream.
I am currently in my second rotation in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust working in strategy.
What key tasks & skills are involved on a day-to-day basis?
Day to day involves a lot of reading and being able to make sense of complex information in order to problem solve. A key part of my role is interacting with people from across the NHS such as clinicians and managers etc. It is imperative that I speak to them in their language to have an effective conversation.
Other skills which help me include time management, writing skills, and having intellectual curiosity.
How has your degree prepared you for your current role?
Studying pharmacy has given me an understanding of the health system and the issues affecting the delivery of good quality care. Being able to work with real life patients has helped me gain a unique insight into patients, and understand more about the role of a pharmacist, in the health and care landscape.
During my degree, we had the opportunity to develop our communication skills through hospital and community placements and experience different sectors of pharmacy. This has helped me gain a more holistic understanding of healthcare, which has acted as a foundation for understanding the world today.
The degree also taught me lots of soft skills, such as communication, time management and critical thinking, which I use plentifully in my day to day work. Coupled with the core learnings of pharmacy, I have been able to positively impact patients, and challenge the way things are done, to improve patient safety.
What are the most rewarding/challenging aspects of your role?
Working as part of a team on policy and strategy, which has positively impacted patient care, and improved patient safety.
A challenging aspect of my role is being comfortable with being uncomfortable, however I have found that it is during these moments that I truly grow.
How has your degree influenced your career? (This could be skills gained, technical knowledge, confidence or other benefits.)
My degree enabled me to learn more about myself, and gain confidence. It helped me go beyond what I normally would have before my degree, to explore new opportunities through networking and reaching out to key individuals from the profession.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest achievement so far?
Knowing I am working on a project, in line with the national agenda to improve the quality of care for patients.
How did you find living in Norwich as a city?
I found the city safe and there were a great assortment of restaurants, some unique to Norwich. Being brought up in London, living in Norwich was a very different experience. One immediate thing that comes to mind, is the cost of living. Lots of things are much cheaper in Norwich than London, in particular it is a more affordable night out!
What was your favourite thing to do in Norwich?
My favourite thing was boating on the broads in Norfolk. Being mostly countryside, Norfolk has some stunning rivers, where you can hire a boat for an afternoon. Coupled with your friends, it can make for a great post-exam relaxing catch up.
Is there anything in particular that you miss or have fond memories of?
I miss Pimp My Barrow event at Norwich! It’s an annual event for charity where you and your team dress up in a theme and decorate your barrow too. You then walk with your barrow full of stuff around a course through Norwich! It’s a fun event which always raises money for children overseas.
Would you recommend studying at UEA? Why?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UEA, and would highly recommend it to others too. The support in the University from my lecturers and the Dean of Students made for a more complete education.
What advice would you give to a future Pharmacy student?
The career opportunities within pharmacy are ever growing. There is now general practice pharmacy, pharmacists in care homes, and more recently pharmacists in 111 urgent care call centres. There are also entrepreneurial pharmacists working in the health technology sector, where they are designing solutions to complex problems within health and care. Carefully consider why you want to study pharmacy and how do your values align with that of the GPhC and NHS.