Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Maria O'Neill

Civil Engineer

STEPS

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Maria O'Neill

If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.

Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....

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Naturalist?
Naturalist
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Sinead McCool - Product Innovation Officer

Sinead McCool, a qualified pharmacist, talks to Smart Futures about her diverse career.

What is Pharmapod?

Pharmapod is a cloud-based platform that allows you to document any error or near miss that occurs during dispensing and preparation in a pharmacy, such as misreading a doctor’s handwriting or dispensing the wrong dose of medication. Recording and addressing errors allows pharmacists to prevent them happening again. Pharmapod also helps pharmacists to meet legal and regulatory requirements in this area.

What are your main responsibilities?

The product is well established in Ireland and we are pushing to move into the UK. I am liaising with pharmacy groups there, running pilots and looking at customer feedback to keep improving the product. I’m trying to make the system as user friendly and intuitive as possible.

What subjects did you take in school and did they influence your career path?

I was always interested in Science and did Biology and Chemistry for the Leaving Cert. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I was finished, but Pharmacy was suggested to me and I’m delighted I studied it.

What did you do after school?

I did a degree in pharmacy in the UK. Then I completed a year of training in a community pharmacy to become a qualified pharmacist. I wanted to work in the clinical side of things, so I completed a clinical pharmacy diploma in the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. A few years later, I did a Masters in medical education in Queen’s University Belfast.

Can you outline your career path?

After my clinical pharmacy qualification, I worked in a hospital just outside Edinburgh. Then I worked in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, followed by a hospital in Kilkenny. I also taught at the School of Pharmacy in Trinity College and worked for the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. From there, I began working with the School of Pharmacy in University College Cork (UCC) as course coordinator for their masters in clinical pharmacy. Working with Pharmapod is quite different, but the skills I have from clinical pharmacy and medical safety in hospitals help me with my job.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

If you like science, pharmacy is a really interesting degree that combines biology and chemistry. It’s a broad science degree, but it includes a lot of patient-focused areas and the range of things you can do once you’re qualified is huge.

What inspires your love of science?

I tend to ask ‘why?’ a lot. Science usually gives me the answers.

Article by: Smart Futures