Senior Medical Information Specialist
Bina qualified from Portsmouth University as a pharmacist in 2008 and started her career with Lloyds Pharmacy based in London.
She subsequently married and moved to Guildford and began to seek out opportunities for expanding her career outside pharmacy. She was looking for wider opportunities within the pharmaceutical industry and also a better work-life balance. Bina said that working as a locum pharmacist involves very long shifts and unsociable hours.
Bina was looking for a career that would allow her to combine her skills as a pharmacist with wider pharma opportunities. She was interested in pharmacovigilance but noted that there seemed to be no structured entry mechanism or structured career progression within pharmacovigilance. She did a lot of reading and online research to find out more about pharmacovigilance and the opportunities within the discipline. Bina wanted to explore it further to find out if she would really like and enjoy a career in pharmacovigilance, and what the opportunities and roles were like within the discipline. She researched courses and chose to do four DSRU courses which she funded herself as an investment in her potential future career development.
Bina found DSRU by searching online, and when she contacted DSRU she found the training department and the organisation’s Education and Training Manager to be really helpful and supportive of her ambitions. The Education Manager was able to answer the questions that Bina had and to give her clear and helpful advice on the best combination of courses to meet Bina’s needs. Bina completed four courses: Back to Basics in Pharmacovigilance, Pharmacovigilance Planning and Risk Management, Case Narrative Writing**, and Reviewing and Understanding Clinical Papers.
Bina has really enjoyed her training. She said ‘the DSRU courses gave me a really good insight into what pharmacovigilance is about. Not only from the conference speakers and course lecturers, but from the other participants who are from all across the industry and have different perspectives on things and different approaches’. Bina said that the Risk Management Planning course isn’t necessarily for someone new to the field but it gave a great insight into what her future opportunities within pharmacovigilance could be. It wasn’t all about case processing. She developed a view of ‘where do you start, where can you go, what’s the career progression?’.
Bina also said that the DSRU courses were very helpful in preparing her for interviews, these were the first interviews she had ever done as even when she qualified she as already pre-registered with Lloyds so didn’t do any interviews. Her employer wanted someone that had a relevant background but that they could train up in pharmacovigilance. The fact that Bina had funded her own training and been really proactive about getting into pharmacovigilance was important to the employer. With her background as a pharmacist Bina knew the products which was helpful, and the organisation also do medical devices which opens up even more doors for her. The pharmacovigilance team is relatively small and so Bina is doing lots of different things and not just case processing.
Regarding the DSRU courses Bina said that the main benefit was a really good insight into pharmacovigilance. Practically the courses helped with her interviews, for example the risk benefit workshops were great for practical experience. The workshops in the Case Narrative Writing course were really useful as she was asked to write a narrative at interview so felt well prepared for that. Bina said that the DSRU speakers were very good at getting information across and that because the groups were small it was easy and comfortable to ask questions.
Bina concluded ‘I found the DSRU team lovely deal with and really helpful, and the courses were excellent. I would happily recommend DSRU courses to anyone considering changing career and moving into pharmacovigilance, or indeed enhancing their career within the discipline’.
**This course has been enhanced and is now called Assessment and Medical Evaluation of Individual Case Reports