#EachforEqual: celebrating community pharmacists on International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day on March 9, the CCA has been talking to community pharmacists at Rowlands about what they enjoy about their role. Here’s what they told us:

Zona is a community pharmacist in Glasgow. She says: “I chose community pharmacy because I enjoy helping people. A lot of patients come into the pharmacy to speak to myself with different healthcare issues and I am able to advise them accurately and put their minds to ease.

“During a typical week, I will check prescriptions and provide consultations to people coming in. This might involve advising patients on the best treatment for their health issues or referring them to doctors or other health care professionals if their symptoms require urgent medical attention.

“I’ve helped many patients with substance misuse problems. I have had to administer Naloxone to a patient that had overdosed on heroin. This revered the effects of heroin and saved the patient from a life-threatening overdose. After this experience, I learnt how important my role is as a pharmacist when providing a service to these patients and how an intervention could potentially change their lives.

“People can be worried about their health: I enjoy giving them advice about treatment and care. My advice to any young person considering what to study would be that if you are interested in science and looking for a job where every day is different, the pharmacy would be ideal.” 

Huda is a community pharmacist in Portsmouth. She says: “I enjoy the consultation side of the role and being able to give clinical advice, particularly when it’s harder now for people to get a doctor’s appointment.

“I find it find rewarding when people tell me ‘you’re my first port of call now’. A pharmacist can be a regular contact. Having access to summary care records helps with this. Our pharmacy is opposite a nursery, so our work includes providing care to them. We also can also help someone who’s run out of medicines.

“Every day is different, especially now we are getting more referrals [via the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service]. We deal with regular prescriptions and supervising the treatment of drug addicts.

“I find it rewarding to play a part in their rehabilitation by giving them someone to talk to in a confidential environment. We also carry out medicines review services and provide flu jabs, smoking cessation and alcohol services.

“My advice to anyone considering a career in pharmacy is that if you are interested in science, pharmacy is a great choice. Interaction with people is definitely part of the role now.”

Helen is a pharmacist at Rowlands Pharmacy in the Wirral. She enjoys the flexibility and variety of her career. She says: “My first role in community pharmacy was a Saturday job while I was at school. I absolutely loved it and chose to study pharmacy. After I completed my pre-registration training, I worked as a locum across England and I’ve completed the Mary Seacole leadership training. I love being able to help people and know that I’ve made a difference.

“A lady came into the pharmacy once who was quite breathless. She had been to see her GP but was still feeling poorly. I got her into the consulting room and sat her down with a glass of water to see if that would help.

“She still wasn’t well, and so I gave her some salbutamol with a mask because she was struggling to breathe. The whole team came together to help. The lady was taken into hospital and later told me that she was diagnosed with pneumonia and thanked us for helping her.

“During a typical week I would see people on a Monday for consultations for New Medicines Reviews or emergency hormonal contraception. A lot of our prescriptions are prepared off site, which gives us more time with patients.

“On Thursdays, I run a travel clinic with booked appointments. I’ve done extra training to give vaccines, including yellow fever. I allow at least an hour for each patient to take the time to fully understand what their health needs are.

“My advice to anyone deciding on which career choices to make would be to pick the subjects you are passionate about. Pharmacy has changed so much in the ten years I’ve been in the profession, but our core is still helping patients. If that’s what you love doing, it’s the right profession for you.”

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