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Where Are You Now?

Nikola Orozov

Nikola Orozov

MPharm Pharmacy 2017

Former President of the Sunderland Pharmacy Sunderland Pharmaceutical Students' Association (SPSA), Nikola Orozov is now doing his pre-registration year at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The 23-year-old, from Bulgaria, explained: “This is a compulsory post-graduate training programme, which provides work experience in different clinical specialities (e.g. cardiology) and pharmacy services (e.g. dispensary and aseptics units). It also involves undergoing regular assessments by my allocated Pre-registration Tutor, peer reviews and finally an examination, which will aim to prove my competence as a pharmacist and consequently allow me to register and start working independently as such.”

For Nikola, attaining this position in one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe has been his biggest achievement so far.

“Starting my career in a big hospital and receiving the opportunity to learn from different specialists was a goal I set myself when I was in university,” he said. “I am very proud of this accomplishment as I worked extremely hard to develop my skills and knowledge and get noticed. I worked in several places both part-time and voluntary, and got involved in extracurricular activities like being part of the SPSA during my time in university in order to build my CV.”

It was the Pharmacy programme that attracted Nikola to the University of Sunderland.

“I have never regretted making the decision to study at the University of Sunderland even for a second,” he said. “The Pharmacy course is well-structured, involves interactive teaching through the methods of team-based and interprofessional learning, and provides practical experience through the organised placements. I received high quality education at the University, but was also able to enjoy my student life thanks to the vibrant social life maintained by the Students’ Union and the SPSA.”

Nikola, who fully embraced life while at the University, still recalls the first SPSA talk, ‘Pharmacy – a career without boundaries’ as his favourite event, which also turned out to be a very successful pilot.

He added: “The President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society - Ash Soni, and the ‘Digital Pharmacist’ Mohammed Hussain were invited to the University of Sunderland for the first time to discuss with students some of the various opportunities for career development that the MPharm degree provides. We received great feedback from students and lecturers about this event, which proved that we had done a great job in organising it.”

As someone who had to work extra hard to prove himself in a place far away from home where he had no relatives and barely any friends, Nikola maintains that the ability to adapt to a new environment and get involved in the opportunities that the University offers to students are crucial to achieve your goals.

He said: “My biggest challenge was starting university in a foreign country without any experience in the field that I wanted to pursue a career in. Not only did I know nothing about pharmacy or the NHS when I arrived in the UK, but I also had to work extra hard to prove myself in a place far away from home. However, I did manage to adapt to the environment, create lasting personal and professional relationships, and here I am now – only a few months away from starting my career as a qualified Pharmacist, living in a place that I like.”

Nikola’s advice to recent graduates entering the job market is to set achievable goals and work hard to accomplish them. “But do not get disheartened if you get rejected on your way to the top,” he added.

Nikola is planning to work as a Junior Pharmacist in hospital for the next 3-4 years, during which time he aims to complete a Clinical Diploma and the Independent Prescribing course to enhance his clinical knowledge and gain valuable experience.

He concluded: “I also enjoy teaching and I am planning to undertake a teaching course and look for opportunities to expand my career in education and possibly work in a university as well. I would love to come back to the University of Sunderland as a lecturer in the future.”

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