My name is Canice Nicholas, I am a father of two and a qualified community pharmacist for 20+ years. I started my pharmacy career in Belfast, locuming for a few years before setting up Cara Pharmacy in 2000 with my now wife of 12 years Ramona. Our company is 100% owned by both Ramona and myself and we have grown the company both organically and through acquisition. We now have 13 pharmacies, 12 in ROI and 1 in NI.
Some may ask why I would put myself forward for the council and over the last few days and speaking to some of my pharmacist friends and colleagues, you might agree with them when they ask me if I’m mad! I must say that I have been exceptionally grateful for all their their support and good wishes.
I am strong believer that we should always give back to the communities we are involved in, I personally, and the company, have organised many charity events over the years resulting in the ability to make major financial differences to many worthwhile charities.
But now it’s time I feel to give back professionally to my colleagues and peers.
I can safely say that morale within the Pharmacy community is at its lowest since 2009. There has never been so many intelligent young people entering Pharmacy. These young graduates expect and deserve to have a professional, rewarding career but the reality is that for these young people, their future has become completely disillusioned by the profession and they are leaving in droves to pursue new careers.
Having seen the broader picture, having built our business from scratch, suffering many ups and downs a long the way, I feel I have a very clear view of the pressures that our profession is under today.
If elected, (which I hope with your support I will be), I will commit to ensure that the PSI are fully aware of the pressure and stress Pharmacists are under today. No other profession suffer the restraints that we are subjected to yet we don’t even have the legal time to be able to take a comfort break. I will be asking the question ‘why should pharmacists not be allowed to sign in and out as is the case in other European countries’. Research is beginning to show that shorter working hours, more breaks, and more flexibility results in a higher engagement. Yet we cannot even discuss this as a possibility. Ultimately we are looking at a ‘burnt out’ team of professionals, who have so much potential, and so much to give back to our communities.
If elected, what you can expect from me is a pharmacist with business experience, commercial thinking, straight talking, not afraid to ask difficult questions and someone that is committed to the long term future of Pharmacy in Ireland. My core values include honesty, integrity and authenticity. I commit to always being available. And as an added advantage, with the uncertainty of Brexit ahead, I am one of the few Pharmacy Contractors in Ireland that has to work with the PSI and the PSNI.
The role is something I would take extremely seriously, and I am excited about the changes I could bring to the table. I would welcome your No 1 vote, and if elected, I hope I can deliver serious change for our profession that is totally under recognised at the minute.
I would like to thank my colleagues at Cara for nominating me for the role and giving me the opportunity to give back to the profession I am passionate about.