Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

10 Minutes with ...

29 May 2015

Kara Tedford from Shankhill, Dublin, speaks about her life since graduating from pharmacy in 2008.


What are your most memorable experiences from your time at RCSI?
I remember realising quite early on that I had chosen the right career for me because I enjoyed what the course entailed, making lifelong friends, the annual Pharmacy Ball and the joy of discovering Butlers on Grafton Street.


When did you first become interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy and what led you to your chosen specialty?
I had briefly considered pharmacy when applying for college, but I chose to do a science degree instead as I had no idea at 17 what I wanted to do. I left UCD with an honours chemistry degree and was working in the area of clinical trials but I couldn't see myself staying in it. I then applied to RCSI as a graduate to study pharmacy. During college, I worked in community pharmacy so when I spent a week at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin as a final year student, I realised I was more interested in clinical pharmacy and in particular paediatrics.


Where are you currently working and what does your role entail?
I'm a senior clinical pharmacist working at OLCHC. In my current role as a Cystic Fibrosis pharmacist, I'm responsible for reviewing and assessing the pharmaceutical needs of CF patients, both inpatient and outpatient. Tasks like medicines reconciliation, manipulating dosage forms for children and aiding compliance are all particularly important in CF due to the chronic nature of the illness and the high pill burden. I also work on a neonatal ward, where we treat lots of newborn and preterm infants.


What are the factors that have provided you with the stepping stones to success in your career?
A certain amount of hard work is always required to get where you want in your career plus a genuine interest in building and improving your career rather than staying static. I've also been surrounded by people who are passionate about the profession of pharmacy and promote how education plays a role in expanding the role of the pharmacist in Ireland.


What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Completing my MSc in Clinical Pharmacy last year was a milestone for me. It was something I always planned to do and I opted to submit my thesis at the earliest submission date available so the timelines were tight.


What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
I was expecting my first baby during the diploma stage of the MSc so I had to start my thesis while on maternity leave which was challenging. Although I had great support from my husband when I was spending hours in the library trying to fine tune my research proposal.


What advice would you give to recent graduates embarking on their career?
I would say follow your heart rather than your head if there's an area of your profession you are more interested in. By picking a specialty you are more enthusiastic about, you'll perform better and will be more likely to find a job you enjoy and excel at. I also think it takes time to figure out where your career is going, so not to panic if it all doesn't fall into place immediately.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy running and have done a few half-marathons so at some stage I may take on the full marathon. I'm also into baking and did a sugarcraft course last year so that's my latest fixation.


What's your favourite destination and why?
There's a little village in Croatia on the Istrian coast, which is gorgeous and we've gone back a few times so it holds good memories, great food and lots of sun.


What person do you most admire and why?
Rather than an individual person, I have so much admiration for the parents of children with long term illnesses, who spend months and even years in hospital. These parents give up everything to support and care for their children and I've met some inspirational families during my time in Crumlin.


What career might you have chosen if you weren't in your current one?
I was always interested in journalism, which is ironic given that I'm struggling to answer these questions! If I was to choose a different healthcare profession, I think midwifery is fascinating.


Where do you want to be in the next five to 10 years?
I'd like to think I'll still be enjoying my career and in an interesting role with a good work-life balance, that's the dream isn't it!