In this article, Panacea’s Michaela Muller talks about her experiences moving from nursing to a career in pharmacovigilance.
My career at Panacea Pharma Projects Limited was preceded by three years of experience in the field of nursing, beginning in 2014 when I enrolled on a Bachelor of Nursing degree program on the Isle of Man. The cornerstone of my training was learning how to provide holistic and individualised care that considers the physical, psychological, spiritual and social dimensions of a patient. Thus, my training reinforced the principle that a patient’s healthcare experience is multifaceted. Drug safety is just one element of care, however, its role is determined by the complex and interlinked relationship it has with other aspects of treatment. This approach to nursing, where the patient, not the disease, is at the centre of care, facilitated and underpinned my transition from nursing into the specialist field of pharmacovigilance (PV).
During my second year of nurse training, I joined Panacea on a temporary basis, working within the case processing department as a junior safety scientist. As a PV consultancy company, the working environment at Panacea and the manner in which our services contribute to maintaining and improving drug safety is certainly different to that of nursing. The shared goal of advocating for patient safety, however, enabled me to draw significant parallels between administering in-hospital patient care and performing comprehensive assessment and processing of Individual Case Safety Reports. Following completion of my degree I began full-time employment at Panacea, during which time I have been able to use my training and experiences in nursing as a foundation for widening and developing my knowledge in the field of PV. Activities such as case processing and assessment of medical literature have built up my existing medical knowledge, whilst exposure to regulatory intelligence activities, auditing and PV Agreement management have provided me with an opportunity to understand the structural and operational aspects of PV from a different perspective to that of the healthcare professional.
The role of nursing in PV is fundamental to the ongoing maintenance, surveillance and improvement of drug safety. As primary advocates for patient safety in a variety of healthcare settings, nurses are one of the many first points of contact for highlighting issues regarding the benefit-risk profile of a medicinal product. Transitioning from nursing into the pharmacovigilance industry has allowed me to follow the journey of safety information beyond its primary source to ultimately having a significant impact on public health. I enjoy supporting this process using the knowledge that I’ve gained both within and outside of a clinical setting.
Michaela Muller is a Safety Scientist at Panacea. She has worked at the company since 2016.