March 4, 2015, by Editor
Claire Anderson’s blog for International Women’s Day
Having worked as both a hospital and community pharmacist, one day I saw an advert for a job as a lecturer at King’s College London. Half of the role was to develop postgraduate education for community pharmacists and half to provide continuing education for community pharmacists (pharmacists this was in the dark days before CPPE). I still don’t know how I got the job having being interviewed by 10 men one of whom was sitting behind me! I didn’t even have an MSc let alone a PhD. Some of those 10 men must have seen my potential and I am very grateful to them. My first experience of committees was always being the one without a beard! Equality and Diversity in universities in the 1990s was in the dark ages.
PhD and High Street Health
Part of my role was to provide training in health promotion skills to pharmacists in North London and set up the High Street Health Scheme -this changed my life- various people encouraged me to do a PhD evaluating the High Street Heath Scheme. I became a full time lecturer in 1994 and completed the PhD in 1997 while developing the course and doing teaching. When I started my PhD I joined a health promotion research group from across the university and realised that I loved social science and qualitative research. I’d always known it and argued with my father ‘big time’ when he discouraged me from doing sociology at school!
Nottingham and Networking
I moved to Nottingham as a senior lecturer in 1999, and became head of division; again it was all men on the committees except me, although not all of them had beards! It was those men who encouraged and supported me to apply for promotion to reader in 2001 (we used to have readers as a step between Associate Professor and Professor) and then for chair in 2003.
It has not always been easy and has often been very hard work. I have succeeded because of wonderful collaborators both within and outside The University of Nottingham. My advice is to find out who are the best people in your field of research/education and make friends with them as well as getting to know your colleagues and finding mentors among them. Go where they go and network like mad – conferences, especially smaller ones, are very good for this. Within Nottingham, get onto committees, get representative roles and then you will meet people from across the university.
The Forbidden city
These photos sum up my life now – I am privileged to be involved at a high Level in the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and to be on the English Pharmacy Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, that’s why I got an invite to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace last year and I am privileged to be involved in Univeristas 21 where I am working as the only pharmacist on a cross disciplinary, global team doing very interesting research on Social Media. I would never have believed I would present my research at the Royal Society in London, The Forbidden City Pharmacy Conference in Beijing and at the American Society of Heath Systems Pharmacy all in one year. Who knows what is yet to come and who would have thought that beards would now be in fashion!
I tweet as @Clairewynn