Kate, Pharmacy Technician

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Why did you want to move into Pharmacy?

I didn’t initially plan on entering into a career in Pharmacy, in all honesty I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do 15 years ago. Despite this I always had an appreciation for the NHS as my mum worked at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and always enjoyed her job within the pharmacy setting. A student pharmacy technician post arose and I was successful in securing the job which then kick started a career in a field I had not considered, but 15 years later I thoroughly enjoy.

Why did you want to join Team North West Anglia?

I am local to Huntingdon and have memories of coming to Hinchingbrooke as a patient when I was younger and always remember any visit I had as a welcoming and positive experience. As well as this my Mum working at the hospital helped and allowed me to appreciate the hospital.

Tell us about your role within the Trust?

My role involves a number of different aspects but my main task is working on the hospital’s wards helping to make sure that patient’s medications are prescribed accurately on admission, assessing any medications brought in with them and ensuring they have sufficient and correct supplies during their stay. As well as my usual day to day routine of ward work I am a qualified NVQ Level 3 Assessor, helping to train my colleagues to make sure they have the required skill set to perform a variety of tasks correctly.

What do you love about your role?

There are a number of aspects I enjoy about my role, but the thing I enjoy most is patient interaction whilst out on the wards. It is a nice feeling knowing you have contributed towards excellent patient care, I also enjoy building up a rapport with them and taking an interest in their care.

Since I began as a pharmacy technician the role has changed completely, I have been lucky enough to be involved with some pilot schemes of new processes and procedures in order to develop and improve the way we work.

What are the benefits of working for Team North West Anglia?

During my time at the trust I have been able to undertake a whole host of qualifications, allowing me to progress in my career. These include:

  • BTEC & NVQ level 3 in pharmacy services in order to become a qualified pharmacy technician.
  • Accredited/ final accuracy checking technician course.
  • A1 / NVQ assessor
  • Medicines management skills programme – module 1 supplying medicines to an individual patients & module 2 assess POD’s for use
  • Certificate in medicines management for pharmacy technicians
  • Leadership academy – Edward Jenner Programme
  • Train the trainer
  • Six sigma yellow belt training

I am based within the Hinchingbrooke site of the trust and find it to be a friendly atmosphere when working in various environments. It is nice building relationships with a variety of different healthcare professionals it helps to create the best patient care possible. This in turn has resulted in friendships which makes for a happy working environment.

Also, since beginning work within the trust the pharmacy department facilities have constantly developed by improving machinery, procedures and programmes ensuring we have easier and quicker processes for the pharmacy work flow.

How has your role developed since you started?

Since starting in the trust my role has changed and developed a lot. When joining the trust back in 2004 I was employed as a student pharmacy technician, meaning  I rotated throughout the department learning skills to allow me to work within the dispensary, pharmacy stores and the chemotherapy & parental nutrition unit.

Once qualified I began working as a dispensary based technician where I gained my accredited checking technician qualification allowing me to final check any prescribed items as safe and correct before they reach the patient. During this time I also undertook the training to become an NVQ assessor allowing me to train and assess any pharmacy students.

After a short period I then began training for the ward environment which I quickly realised I enjoyed the most, at the time this only involved assessing patient’s medications and ensuring they had sufficient supplies for their stay and when they left hospital. Over the years the ward based pharmacy technician role has developed significantly and is now known as a medicines management technician, this allows us to do the above but also perform a task known as medicines reconciliation whereby we identify an accurate list of a patients medications recognising and documenting any changes and discrepancies.

Most recently I have been successful in a new role allowing me to work alongside healthcare professionals within the cancer services to develop a new medicines management service allowing patients to obtain continuity of care from their clinic visits through to any potential inpatient stays. 

How has Covid-19 affected your role?

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began it has been a surreal working environment, our “normal” way of working has been taken away from us. I continued working on the wards to provide patients with medication they needed in order not to compromise their care. I was primarily based on the hospital Covid wards and at times this was draining, due to the environment and seeing how much pressure all the other staff were also under when dealing with such unwell patients. Despite all of this though, everyone has been pulling together.

At times the Coronavirus has left us with quiet periods within my role and the pharmacy department meaning I have been able to help in other areas, this allowed me the opportunity to archive documents, providing me an opportunity to develop a new skill.