What has been your career progression so far? And what is your current role and what does a ‘normal’ day look like?
I started off in community pharmacy. Then I started working as a dispensing assistant with Superdrug. At the time I had started a foundation degree in health studies to go onto becoming a nurse or midwife. During the course, I kept thinking I’d rather be a pharmacy technician. So I completed one year and then enrolled in the NVQ3. It did take me a while to complete my NVQ3 due to taking on different roles and then moving to Boots. I completed my NVQ3 course with Boots and had stayed with them for 7 years. In that time I did lots of area/regional training on new pharmacy processes, and stock management. I completed my ACPT training and then went on to do my store management training. I managed two different branches before leaving the company to work as a Meds Management Tech for the CCG. I was in this role for 9 months before one of my practice’s approached me for a full-time role. Since being employed as a GP Pharmacy Tech, I have trained in phlebotomy, administering immunisations and vaccines and warfarin monitoring. I run an INR clinic once a week, and split the day for emergency bloods that need to be done post hospital discharge, or if the GP requires any urgent tests. I also develop and review CQC and practice policies. I developed our Medicines Reconciliation Policy on the back of a significant event prior to me starting. This has been deemed as Gold Standard by local authorities. I also help develop protocols and templates for clinics and help with the start-up of new clinics i.e. Hypertension monitoring. Prior to employing a practice pharmacist, I have been carrying out Medicines Reconciliation post-hospital discharge or clinic review, in line with our practice policy.
I also log and record any errors that I have found, and regularly submit patient safety reports via NRLS, and arrange Significant Event meetings within the practice every quarter to discuss errors and find ways to prevent them from happening again.
My day to day can vary. If I have a clinic, I normally see my regular INR patients and I always have a duty Doctor on site in case there are any dose adjustments that need to be made. On one occasion, I had an INR of over 8, and the patient looked very unwell and had mentioned coughing up large clots of blood. I went to the duty Doctor straight away, and the patient was fast-tracked to A&E. The GP gave the patient Vitamin K as per our local protocol, but I took a brief history from the patient, reviewed this with the GP and we had sent the patient in to be seen for further investigation.
My normal day is split according to what is a priority. I have the morning to carry out medicines reconciliation, anything that requires GP input is quite specific in our policy, so those are tasked to the GP. I have an hour in the afternoon to deal with prescription queries i.e. contact the patient, their carer or local pharmacy. I then try to plan a patient safety audit during the week, I do love an audit.
I have been in this role for a year now, and with the new appointment of a practice pharmacist, we have developed a Pharmacy Interface Team within the practice, and I have taken on the role as Pharmacy Interface Lead.
I am also the South East PTG Committee Lead for the PCPA, and I have spoken at a couple of events about my career progression and the impact of pharmacy technicians in GP. I have also just been appointed as the Engagement Officer for APTUK.
As well as doing all of this, my pharmacist colleagues and I have developed our own team called MedTalk Surrey. We have put on educational conferences for primary care staff i.e. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, GPs, trainee GPs, HCAs and Nurses. So far we have successfully hosted three events on Pathology, Cardiology and Respiratory. Our next event will be focusing on Diabetes.
I am also completing my BTEC L4 Clinical Diploma through Bradford College.