Melanie Sanderson is the dispenser and deputy team leader at Wansford Pharmacy in Peterborough and, by her own admission, plays a role in nearly all the aspects the store has to offer.
“I do the labelling, I’m in charge of the shop orders and of the merchandising and I’m second in line to do the stock ordering in the pharmacy if the team leader is off,” she explains. “I also serve on the counter if I’m needed – a little bit of everything!”
Melanie has been with Wansford Pharmacy for six years now, but that’s not where her pharmacy journey started. In fact, she actually worked at another branch for 17 years prior. “I ended up loving the job that I took and 23 years later, it really paid off!” she exclaims.
Melanie’s decision also pays off for her team, especially new members who she mentors.
“I help to train new colleagues,” she says. “They’ll watch me do the labelling and I’ll show them how to do things properly. If they’re on the counter, I show them what they need to do and how to interact with customers. For example, they need to make sure they are asking all the right questions.
“I would say my absolute favourite part of the job is labelling,” she adds. “I love doing the prescriptions and interacting with patients, but I really feel like I’ve achieved something when I’ve labelled loads of prescriptions. I’m a bit OCD in a way and I like everything done in a particular way, I find it so satisfying!”
The pharmacy offers a range of services including emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), emergency supplies, new medicines service (NMS), repeat dispensing and support for care homes. “As a healthy living pharmacy, we work hard on helping people with their lifestyle in particular,” explains Melanie. “We offer lots of services including weight management. The pharmacist always does the sleep apnoea and smoking cessation.”
“I think the fact that I’ve been through it myself will really help me relate to customers”
In order to advertise these services and receive customer feedback, the pharmacy has recently become far more active on social media. “We’ve started getting five-star reviews on Google and the NHS website,” she says. “We use these to advertise our services, which has worked really well. Our customers are really happy with what we’re offering.”
And getting more active on social media is not the only new technology the pharmacy now uses on a daily basis.
“We’ve now got a robot in the pharmacy which is brilliant because it means no more putting the stock away,” says Melanie. The automated medication dispensing robot is certainly the biggest change she has seen in her 23 years in pharmacy, but that’s not all that is new. “We also now use electric prescriptions, obviously years ago you never used to get that,” she adds.
Weight loss wonder
For Melanie, patient care is at the top of her priorities, and she always tries to go the extra mile to help them out, building key relationships along the way. “You get your favourites don’t you,” she laughs. “I do try to help them out as much as I can – if they’ve run out of medication for example, I’ll go out of my way to make sure we’ve got that in stock and can get it to them. It’s just part of the job!”
Looking to the future, as the pharmacy takes on an increasing number of services, Melanie hopes to become even more involved and look to complete her pharmacy technician training. A particular passion of hers, however, is the weight loss service.
“I want to get more involved in the weight management scheme that we’re going to be starting,” she explains. “I’m on the scheme at the minute myself and I’ve just lost four and a half stone in eight weeks.”
It is this personal experience that Melanie believes will give her the edge when trying to help others in the pharmacy. “I think the fact that I’ve been through it myself will really help me relate to customers,” she says. “I want to see the excitement on their face when they’re coming in to get weighed each week and encourage them and tell them that they can do it and I’m proof of that!”
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