Some may think it is a challenge to balance a career in being a Pharmacology professor, neuroscience expert, etiquette consultant and social media influencer at the same time, but Dr. Shaymaa El-Bahy did it all while winning a prestigious award in healthcare. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Shaymaa shares her insight on building a career, managing time wisely, and she gives valuable advice to our Pharmacology students as well.

Q. Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m Dr. Shaymaa El-Bahy, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Life and Medical Sciences at UH-GAF. I have always had an interest in different fields and skills, so I strived to build a bridge between my medical education and integral soft skills such as communication, etiquette, stress control, time management and so on. That is how I settled on studying neuroscience, which is the science of how the brain works and how brain chemicals are released, and I decided to start teaching via various kinds of media.

Q. What made you join UH-GAF?
As soon as I learned that UH-GAF is the first full-fledged branch of a reputable British university that opened in Egypt, I was instantly encouraged to join the community, especially since I have always been aware of how remarkable education in the UK is. I wanted to enhance my skills and connections, gain more exposure from working here at UH-GAF and experience this overall interchange of knowledge. 

Q. Can you tell us more about “Egypt 2021 Most 50 influential figures in the medical sector” award?
It is the first Egyptian medical health forum to be performed in 2021. They came up with the idea of giving 50 awards to the most influential figures in the medical sector, including physicians, social media influencers, pharmacists, nurses, and even marketeers in the medical sector. I was nominated to become one of the candidates for the award for my work on social media, TV and radio that addresses different medical, pharmaceutical and neuroscientific ideas. 

Q. Tell us more about your experience as a medical education influencer, and in what way can this “medical education” movement affect the way people perceive social media nowadays?
It is a relatively new concept, which is why I love it! I chose a personal slogan for myself, “Noble Minds”, then I presented my content underneath this umbrella. “Noble” here stands for good and honorable elegant behaviors that stem from the brain. I focus on topics such as parenting, communication, enhancing your sense of concentration, combating addiction and practicing empathy. Some of the most commonly asked questions I receive are from parents who do not know how to deal with their stubborn children or students who have trouble staying focused while studying, so I started to research how the brain works and develops. The rise of medical education on social media is an important movement, as it balances out an opposing movement, which only focuses on presenting shallow and superficial content which achieves a much higher viewership. When I asked myself, “Why don’t we navigate the public mind to a more educational direction? Why don’t we try to create simplified, helpful content that reaches a mass audience?” I immediately knew how much I support the rise of medical education on social media, be it as a doctor, pharmacist, etc.

Q. How did you develop an interest in such diverse topics and how did you combine those interests in your career?
It all began when I started researching how to enhance my own core skills, which eventually led me to take many courses that focused on presentation skills, communication skills, etiquette and so on. By the way, etiquette is usually narrowed down to table manners or how to act a certain way in public, which is not the case at all. Anyway, I proceeded by asking myself “What could connect pharmacy to etiquette?” Nobody believed I could love, combine, or teach both fields. So, I started to search for a way to achieve that, and social media was extremely helpful for me. When I came across neuroscience, I started taking even more courses and further reading and researching, until I found out I could teach it and spread the knowledge I earned.  

Q. How do you find a balance and manage your time during your busy work life?
I do it by adhering to time management skills and acknowledging that nothing will be 100% perfect all the time. You must mindfully choose your priorities and prepare ahead. For my lectures, for instance, I try to prepare ahead the content that I’m going to deliver throughout the semester. That’s how I develop confidence and defeat any sort of stress. 

Q. What do you advise UH-GAF students who aspire to transform their passion into a solid career?
My main advice is to love what you do, and you will undoubtedly find a way. Only when you love what you do and believe in it, you can start to transform it into reality. But this alone is not enough. It is wise to go to a consultant or someone more experienced. When I began my current job a few years ago, nobody had heard of it in my small circle. But when I started to search for a social media marketer who could help me out, he began to productize my passion into something more solid. It is necessary to do that, especially when you are not delivering products, but a service. 

Q. What advice would you give our future pharmacists at UH-GAF to get nominated for such a prestigious award in the future? 
My advice would be to study hard, and to focus well on both your field and similar fields too. Do your best to remain creative, literate and to read different types of books on diverse topics. Write down your goals and what you want to do. If you have bigger goals, try to shrink them into smaller goals and take baby steps, then reward yourself and celebrate your small wins. This causes your brain to create dopamine, which gives you the motive to take the next step and keep moving forward.