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Making the most of new beginnings

Teodora Stoica has only been at her current pharmacy for just over a year, but through her hardworking and attentive nature, she has already made an impact on the community

A pharmacy dispenser by day and an eager student by night, Teodora has moved countries but maintained her passion for pharmacy and caring for her community. At 18 years old, Teodora was working in a dispensary in Romania and on her way to qualifying as a pharmacist. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, meant her plans changed and that’s how she ended up in Anstice Pharmacy in Telford.

A slight detour

“I did want to study to become a pharmacist, but it was during the pandemic, and it was just too much information in an online course. I couldn’t follow it. I’m an old-school learner –
I want to be there to learn and listen, to see things. So, it just felt like this wasn’t the right time for me to do it,” she says. On top of adjusting to life throughout the pandemic, Teodora was also getting used to the differences in the runnings of the pharmacy she was experiencing compared to Romania. “When I first started to work in the UK in a pharmacy, I felt like I had never been in the pharmacy before. It was completely different!”. From written prescriptions to electronic systems and structural differences in the pharmacy team, there were numerous changes that Teodora had to adapt to, and although admitting that she found it difficult in the beginning, she now can’t imagine working any differently, saying that “[she] would love to have the same systems in Romania, maybe one day!”.

On to ACT

Despite having to put a pause on studying towards becoming a pharmacist during the pandemic, Teodora still has the desire to learn and progress in the pharmacy. “I am a pharmacy dispenser now, but I want to complete the pharmacy technician course and then on to the ACT course. I really want to become a pharmacist soon. I have a lot to learn before then, but that is my dream.” A big part of why Teodora still feels inspired to pursue this dream is the encouragement she receives from her pharmacist. “He told me that he started as a dispenser and look where he is now. He told me that I can do whatever I want to do.”

The learning environment in the pharmacy provides a further source of inspiration for Teodora, paired with the fact that she can see the possibilities for progression each day. “You can start from the bottom, you can do all of these courses, and you can work your way up. There is so much opportunity for learning.” And learn she does! After working from 9am in the morning to 6pm in the evening, Teodora takes her work home with her and uses the evenings to study. When asked how she still has the energy to take in more information after a long day of work, she replied: “The thing is, at work, I forget about everything. I forget my phone, I forget about my problems at home.” Thanks to a team that gives her all of the support she needs, a plethora of learning opportunities and a passion for her pharmacy, Teodora, as she put it “couldn’t be happier”.

“I’m given all the support I need here and plenty of opportunities to improve and develop my career further. I’m not going anywhere!”

Training matters

Teodora also spends her fair share of time working on the counter as the team rotate within the pharmacy each week, advising customers throughout the day – which is another reason keeping up with her training is important to her. “That’s why I like to study a bit more, too, because I think it is important to provide the right advice.” Teodora recalled a time she was not comfortable with the state of a 12-year-old boy who came in with his mother on account of a headache, looking for a painkiller that would work. Abnormally, the boy had been suffering with a headache for over a week despite taking paracetamol and ibuprofen. “A normal headache, for a 12-year-old, should go away with paracetamol. I also asked about a rash he had and found it was all over his body. I asked if he had a stiff neck and he said yes. I felt like something was wrong.” After explaining the child’s symptoms to the pharmacist, the boy was sent straight to the hospital, where doctors discovered he had meningitis. “I guess moments like that remind you of why you are so strict every time you’re talking to your customer. I feel like I am too strict sometimes! But catching this in this boy was a relief because meningitis can be fatal.”

Teodora’s consistent commitment to working in the pharmacy, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and moving countries, has made her a stand out health care provider in her team. And, luckily for her community, she isn’t planning on going anywhere, apart from straight to the top! “I’m given all the support I need here and plenty of opportunities to improve and develop my career further. I’m not going anywhere!”

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