Pharmacy was not in the original plan at all for trainee dispenser, Lottie Patterson, when she left college and was searching for a job. “I wanted to work with animals, but when I left college, it was really difficult to find a job,” she explains. “I applied for the pharmacy on a whim and got given a trial shift and I just loved it. Now I can’t imagine myself anywhere else!”
Making a difference
Lottie started work at Guildhall Pharmacy in December 2022, and in just eight months, her career there has gone from strength to strength as she has already taken on new responsibilities. “I’m in charge of dosette boxes now,” she says. “I send off repeat prescriptions promptly to the GP to get them back as soon as possible. I check for changes, pick the items and set them out for individual patients.
“I also make sure that I include descriptions of the pills so that dosette box users know what they’re taking. Even if it’s just as simple as the paracetamol is the long white tablet. Some people also need things at different times, so I give them a call to see what works for them to avoid any confusion.”
A particular example that springs to mind was a patient who was 90 years old and called the pharmacy at 5:30pm, just before a bank holiday weekend. “She only had two days of her medication left and she needed more as soon as possible,” explains Lottie. “Our drivers had gone home, and she had no friends or family, so I delivered the medication myself. I drove after work and got an emergency prescription to take to her. I felt I had a duty of care and I wanted to make sure she was okay. It does make it worth it when they’re so happy to see you and so grateful for what you’ve done.”
A new sense of purpose
Lottie says that the help that she has provided to her patients, and the pharmacy as a whole, goes both ways. “It’s helped me so much,” she says. “I’m dyslexic and I was only diagnosed with it when I was at college, so I don’t have many coping mechanisms. In school and college, it’s seen as a bad thing, but as soon as I started here, I realised it was okay.
“I was so nervous to tell anyone at the pharmacy and I didn’t for a few weeks. When I did confess, they all said they’d never know – which was amazing to hear. I never thought I’d pick it up so quickly. I understand myself better. It’s so nice to have that. Everyone else believes in you as well. It’s all around. Just giving me just something to do and just a bit of hope.”
“They’re people I would have probably never met if I never started this job, but people I would not really live without now, because it’s just such a supportive environment”
Ready and willing
The best part of this new career in pharmacy, according to Lottie, is the support she’s received from her new team. “We’ve got a lot busier recently because obviously there’s quite a few pharmacies which have been closing down, such as Lloyds, so I’ve been running around a bit like a headless chicken at times,” she says. “But as a team, it’s brought us closer. We’re working together and our communication has definitely got so much better.
“They’re people I would have probably never met if I never started this job, but people I would not really live without now, because it’s just such a supportive environment,” she says. “I have honestly never been appreciated like this, even the friendships with colleagues – they wouldn’t have happened without this job!”
Looking to the future, Lottie is keen to make the most of her newfound love for pharmacy and explore all the potential learning options that are now available to her.
“I can’t see myself going anywhere for quite a while. I would like to progress and find out what I can help with, see what more I can take on, she says. “I’m more than happy to take everything on board and learn what I can. I’ve never been so willing to learn stuff, than I have been in this job. It’s just given me the confidence to see that I can learn these things.”