What is your role now?
Director of Pharmacy Technician Programmes, School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia. I’m responsible for the provision of pre- and post-registration education and development training for pharmacy technicians.
I also represent the East of England Pharmacy Technician workforce at a national level and I’m the Academic and Education Lead on the APTUK Advisory Group
What roles did you do to get to where you are now?
- Community pharmacy technician (where I trained)
- Dispensary Manager in a dispensing practice
- NVQ Assessor
- Pharmacy lecturer for pre-reg pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants (ongoing)
- Rotational then ward-based Pharmacy technician – West Suffolk Hospital
- Principal Pharmacy Technician, Education and Training, West Suffolk Hospital
- Internal Quality Assurer for Pharmacy awards (ongoing)
- Appointed member of the RPSGB Support Staff Advisory Group
- Lecturer for regional NHS CPD courses for pharmacy technicians (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire)
- Specialist Pharmacy Technician Lead for Education and Training, NHS Pharmacy Practice Unit (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire)
- Director of Pharmacy Technician Programmes, School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia
What do you enjoy about your job?
I am glad that I chose to train as a pharmacy technician and my diverse experience across different sectors has been so valuable to me in my work. I sometimes reflect on the progression that pharmacy technicians have made since I started, particularly those in secondary care, but there is still a long way to go, particularly the development and opportunities for our colleagues in the community sector.
I really do enjoy what I do, however, if I had to choose just one thing above everything it has to be educating, training and developing our future workforce, the pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians. This is how I started out on my education pathway and where my deep passion lies.
We work closely with the employers and listen to the students as all are stakeholders. Seeing them progress from the start of their qualification to the end and how they mature into their professional role, knowing the influence and responsibility that we all have in the process is so important and something that we work very hard to achieve. At the very start of their training, the one thing I tell all the students is never to forget that patients are at the centre of our universe and everything we do has to be for the good of the patient!
How much do you earn?
Enough to pay my golf club fees! Seriously, my salary is fair for the level of responsibility that I have and equal to colleagues in similar roles. Pay is always a sensitive topic, but I do believe that people should be paid fairly for the role that they undertake and that this can be a contributing factor not only to career progression but also to the services we are able to provide to optimise patient-centred care.
What do you not enjoy about your job?
I love my job. I am passionate about my profession and the part that I play in the bigger picture but there are some elements that challenge my thought. When a decision is made for change without the vision being properly shared – no matter how big or how small the change, for it to be effective, that vision has to be properly communicated with thorough stakeholder engagement at every level. So often this doesn’t happen which not only creates unrest and insecurities but can delay or prevent advancement.
I also have long felt that the initial education and training level is a stumbling block for our profession and should be higher, to not only support the level of knowledge and skills that we actually need to work as pharmacy technicians in the 21st century, but to also give us the professional recognition that colleagues in other professions have and allow for career progression and opportunities that are out there, particularly those in higher education.
Are you a member of any pharmacy organisations?
Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK
Who, if anyone, has influenced your career?
I have achieved things as a pharmacy technician that when starting out I would never have thought possible. Although I am self–motivated that is not enough, and I have been fortunate to have people around me who have encouraged and supported me in my career both at home and in the world of pharmacy.
The influence of the role models I have encountered on my journey cannot be underestimated, particularly when taking the giant leaps along the pathway. It continues to this day and is something that I will be forever grateful for.
What would you like to do next?
As far as I can, ensure that with the new Initial Education and Training Standards and irrespective of sector, that we are able to produce pharmacy technicians that will be working intra-professionally with the pharmacy team and multi-professionally with other healthcare professionals in improving and optimising patient-centred care and services.
Research is not a usual part of the pharmacy technician remit. Working in the School of Pharmacy and having undertaken research on pharmacy technician roles I realise the positive impact that this can have for our profession. There are so many capable pharmacy technicians out there and I would like to encourage and support others to do the same through research or projects to increase our visibility and credibility.
…and then retire!