Leaving for a higher calling

A PHARMACIST is leaving behind a career spanning almost three decades in the NHS to make a significant career change – training to become a church vicar.

Jane Robson, clinical pharmacy services manager at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, will soon begin a new career in the Church of England.

Though she has had a very rewarding role over the last 21 years, her passion and ambition for some time has been to pursue a career in the church.

She said: “Over the last six years or so I have just found myself wanting to do this more and more.

“A lot of people – some of them people who don’t even know me – have mentioned to me that they thought I already was a vicar or that I should become one.

“This is something that until a few years ago wouldn’t have even been possible in the Church of England as women vicars weren’t permitted.

“We’ve come a long way since then and I am really excited to start my first placement in a parish.”

Following a series of interviews and assessments, Jane has gained sponsorship from the York Diocese to study a bachelor of arts in theology, ministry and mission at Durham University and will also have placements in parishes.

During her time at the trust she has seen the role of pharmacy develop significantly from a small team of twenty to one of more than 120 staff.

She said: “The role of pharmacy has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.

“When I started in June 1997, we had a very small team covering several ward areas each, I covered all of the five elderly care wards as directorate pharmacist.

“The role of a pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is now so much more varied. We have taken on many of the roles which traditionally were for doctors and nurses and are based much more at ward level. And I have been integral in the development and roll-out of the TrakCare electronic patient records system.

“I’ve gained prescribing qualifications, done an MSc degree, been an honorary lecturer in the medical school at Durham University, published papers and presented at conferences, trained staff from most healthcare groups and been a member of several regional groups.

“Without all of the experience I have from this role, I wouldn’t be able to take this next step. I’ve been integral in developing the services we have now and the trust has helped me develop leadership skills.

“I’ve worked across the trust in most areas and will leave with some really fond memories of my time here.”

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