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 Paul Meany from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

Paul Meany

School Principal

Department of Education and Skills

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Paul Meany

Need to have a belief about the value of the sort of education provided by the school to which you are applying.

Need to be able to cope with ambivalence - being leader in the school is not a black and white thing.

Need to believe in people, whether it is staff or students.

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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