Nadine has a lot of different jobs in the pharmacy to juggle
Nadine Kacprowicz has worked in pharmacy on and off for over 20 years and has experienced a wide range of working environments during that time, including a hospital, a multiple community pharmacy and even a dispensing doctor’s practice. However, it wasn’t until she joined independent community pharmacy, Regent Pharmacy, owned by pharmacist Sunil Kochhar, in February 2013, that she truly felt that she belonged.
“You don’t get as much contact with patients in hospital pharmacy, while in some big pharmacies you can feel a bit lost, but we are like one big family here and the pharmacist Sunil is the best boss I’ve ever had,” she says.
As a pharmacy technician, Nadine has a lot of different jobs to juggle. Her first task of the day is usually to check, download, dispense and label any prescriptions that have been sent in from the local general practice via the electronic prescription service (EPS) and get them ready for the delivery driver. A lot of the prescription medicines are dispensed into monitored dosage systems (MDS), known as ‘Mediboxes’, which is quite time consuming but very beneficial for older patients who are taking a lot of different medicines, explains Nadine.
This is usually followed by a check of the dispensary fridges and shelves to ensure that all of the stock is in date and correctly stored, together with a stock order if necessary. Nadine’s day also involves signing patients up to the repeat prescription service and dispensing repeat prescriptions ordered via the pharmacy’s website, Dear Pharmacist. She may also have to ring up GPs to deal with queries. In addition, Nadine spends a lot of time sorting out NHS Prescription Services remuneration claims for the pharmacy’s paper-based prescription forms, as well as just making sure that the dispensary runs as smoothly as possible.
I put a lot of work into my CPD, so it was great to get the recognition that I’m doing something right
“You have to be good at multitasking and teamwork in this job and there is a lot of paperwork to keep on top of,” says Nadine. “People really appreciate the Medibox service, as it takes the worry out of their medicines, and the online repeat prescription ordering service is very popular, as everyone is so busy nowadays. It helps that we have a good rapport with GPs and patients.”
Despite working in such a busy pharmacy, Nadine has always managed to set aside time to train. She initially qualified as a pharmacy technician in 1993, but had to retrain in just six months when she returned to community pharmacy from the dispensing doctor’s practice. She registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in 2011.
Since registering, Nadine has always been diligent about keeping a record of her continuing professional development (CPD) – and a good thing too, as the GPhC recently called up her CPD record for review. She spent a nervewracking few weeks wondering how her record would fare before learning that she had received a 100 per cent rating for her efforts.
“I put a lot of work into my CPD, so it was great to get the recognition that I’m doing something right,” she says. “We are always training here because there are so many different sides to pharmacy”.
Alongside her technician duties, Nadine is also a level two stop smoking advisor. Smoking cessation is just one of Regent Pharmacy’s various services, which also include allergy testing, NHS health checks, a minor ailments service, emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) and weight management.
The smoking cessation service is a seven consecutive week programme, but Nadine explains that people can pop in, call or email at any time if they need a bit of extra support or advice. During the initial session, Nadine helps customers choose the right type of NRT to suit their needs, or alternatively they can take the anti-smoking medicine Champix. She also encourages them to set a quit date.
At each weekly appointment, Nadine provides customers with motivational tips and support, and takes their carbon monoxide reading to give them a visual indication of how well they are doing. They also have the option of switching to a different method of NRT if they need it. As an ex-smoker herself, Nadine is able to pass on first hand advice about dealing with cigarette cravings, although she stresses that the training was so comprehensive that non-smokers can carry out the service just as well.
“It’s amazing to see people transformed when they come out the other side,” she enthuses. “It doesn’t just improve their health; it’s good for their whole family, as passive smoking is also dangerous. It helps financially, allowing people to save money and spend it on things like holidays; it is life changing.”
While most of Nadine’s time is spent in the dispensary or consultation room, she is happy to help out on the counter whenever needed. She is also a qualified medicines counter assistant and enjoys the change of scene and the chance to interact with patients and customers face-to-face.
“I know many of our patients by name and know what medicines they are taking,” she says. “Some of the older ones really like to chat, and speaking to us can be a really important part of their day. However, one of the downsides to all the changes in pharmacy is that we have less time to chat with people than we’d like.”
Nadine describes Regent Pharmacy as being very patient oriented at the same time as being very staff-oriented. She believes that the pharmacy is successful because everyone supports each other, while at the same time, they make an effort to get to know their customers and take an interest in their problems. She says: “We are a great team; we all get on so well and the atmosphere rubs off on the customers too. They are just happy to see friendly faces and speak to people who are genuinely interested in them.”