Published on: 10th February 2023

This International Women and Girls in Science day we caught up with our fantastic colleague Meeta Patel - Specialist Clinical Pharmacist at RNOH

Why did you choose to work in Science?

Science was always an area where I excelled. After my A-Levels, I decided to take the pharmacy route as the work/life balance was more amenable to my life.

At university, I was surrounded by many influential, dynamic and intelligent females’ research scientists and tutors. As a student, you look up to these role models and think ‘you could be creating the next cancer drug and save thousands of lives’.  I would listen to them fascinated, thinking how does your brain think like that? Whilst it can make you feel a little inadequate, it is also very inspiring and something to aim for.

After qualifying, I arrived at RNOH as an entry grade bank pharmacist.  I then found a permanent position at the Homerton Hospital in east London.  There I was fortunate enough to have a female Chief Pharmacist who was not only a great pharmacist, she was really inspirational too.  Having been surrounded by amazing female leads throughout my career, I consider myself to be very fortunate.  This is a very female led industry which has given me opportunities that, it’s sad to say, are probably not available in other professions.

Why did you choose to specialise in Pain?

I sustained a back injury which caused me a lot of pain.  This made me consider Pain as a specialty.  I then moved into the private sector and there I met an Acute Pain Lead Nurse, who was on a prescribing course, and an anaesthetist who was his mentor. My interest must have been evident as they asked me to join their ward rounds and contribute to their patient reviews.

On my return to the RNOH, a prescribing course was always going to be on the cards at some point, and when the opportunity arose, the choice of which area of practice I would do it in was obvious!

When a role in Critical Care, Theatres and Pain Management opened up, I applied for the role and got it.  As a part of the role, I started running Chronic Pain Clinics; helping patients optimise their pain medications, which I have been involved in for six years now.  I have now completed an MSc in Pain Management and my dissertation project was based on the outcomes of this clinic. I am currently working on writing a research paper on this work.