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Where Are You Now?

Ahmad Alqallaf

Ahmad Alqallaf

BSc Pharmacy 1999

Ahmad has been working as a pharmacist since he graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1999. He is currently the Chief Pharmacist of the Clinical Pharmacy Unit at Farwaniya Hospital in Kuwait.

Ahmad started the unit by himself and now there are 12 pharmacists working with him. He also started an association for clinical pharmacists in Kuwait.

He said: “We have developed our pharmacy services to be more patient orientated. I am an advocate for clinical practice in pharmacy and try to develop the practice in Kuwait in hospitals in association with the University of Kuwait.”

In 2014 Ahmad came back to the UK to complete an MSc course in clinical pharmacy at University College London. In 2016 he completed another MSc course in diabetes at the University of Dundee.

Ahmad, who came to study at the University of Sunderland by chance when he was 17, loved his time in the North East and recalls those years ‘the best years of his life’.

He said: “To be honest, I went to the northeast of England by chance, because my name started with the letter (A). My name was chosen first by our sponsor (Kuwait’s cultural office) to study at the University of Sunderland.

“I loved my football, I used to go to Roker Park back then to watch Sunderland AFC playing. It was an amazing time for me to grow up in a new country and a new culture.

“I enjoyed the different nationalities within the School of Pharmacy and the University. Studying was tough obviously, but for me it was enjoyable. I still remember days and moments during that period and I believe those years were the best years of my life. I learned so many things not only in terms of education but in life as well.”

Talking about his biggest challenge to date, Ahmad explained: “The biggest one is how to implement your learning into your working place or your organisation. For example, new ideas, new guidelines or new standards.

“It is very challenging for young ambitious people to develop and implement any of their ideas in their organisation. It needs time, patience and ongoing persistence to achieve what is best for your workplace.”

Ahmad’s advice to recent graduates entering the job market is: “Nothing is impossible and you can achieve anything once you believe in it and believe in yourself.

“Sometimes, things seem hard and challenges may come at you from every angle, keep working hard, keep believing in yourself.

“And the most important thing, is to enjoy what you do. For me I enjoy and love helping patients every day that is why, I wake up every morning looking forward to work for the past 20 years.”

Regarding his future plans, the Sunderland graduate explained: “I would like to training new pharmacists at work and developing the pharmacy services in hospitals in Kuwait. I would also like to help students everywhere, especially during this tough period.

“The repercussion for the pandemic will last, I guess for few years so, we need to come together internationally to make sure students get help for the next few years.”

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