It’s not everyday you visit a pharmacy to buy vitamins and get offered a job at the same time, but that’s exactly what happened to Tyly Roberts when she visited the Rowlands Pharmacy in Bala, North Wales. And 15 years later she still works at the pharmacy she loves.
“It was my local pharmacy so I knew the staff quite well and the pharmacist thought I’d be suitable so asked if I wanted to join the team,” Tyly explains. The job appealed, she says, because “it was an opportunity to be part of the community and work to help the community”.
Always hungry to learn and motivated to do the best she could for her customers, Tyly took every opportunity offered to her for further training and is now an accuracy checking pharmacy technician (ACT). “It was time consuming but I had the support to do it, mostly from within branch – my team are very supportive – but also from the company too which is really valuable,” she says.
Being an ACT means Tyly can take the pressure off the pharmacist, which she says can be really helpful for customers, services and general workflow. “The pharmacist can concentrate on services and clinical roles and it allows everything to flow,” Tyly explains. “If the technician has dispensed a prescription and the pharmacist, having done the clinical check, is busy with a customer then I can check it and it doesn’t slow the pharmacy down.”
Tyly’s daily responsibilities are varied and she tries to do a little bit of everything. “Mostly I’m checking – I’m responsible for checking the bulk of thepharmacy’s prescriptions,” says Tyly. “And I’m also involved in making sure the audits are checked and that the information governance is up to scratch.”
Tyly makes sure she does stints on the counter and she is also the pharmacy’s healthy living champion, always available to chat with customers wanting healthy living advice and offering services including smoking cessation level three, weight management and blood pressure checks.
As healthy living champion, Tyly also keeps on top of health campaigns in the pharmacy – the latest one being alcohol awareness in January – and briefs the team on getting involved and recruiting customers. “Alcohol is one of the most difficult ones to recruit for actually, but we have a conversation table here in the pharmacy where we have leaflets and scratch cards available for people to take away to read in their own time or in their own private space,” Tyly explains. “We feel we’re quite approachable in the pharmacy and we know most of the customers well and in fact I’d say we know 99 per cent of the customers by name which really helps. We can gage conversations on the right level when we know them well.”
As well as concentrating on campaigns within the pharmacy, Tyly has also been to the local high school to talk about the services they offer and to raise awareness of healthy living as, she says, it’s “really important to get them interested in healthy living at a young age”. Although she’s not done this for a few years, she hopes she’ll be able to visit the school more in the future to inspire the next generation to get healthy.
Helping people in the community and making sure they get what they need is Tyly’s favourite part of the job, especially working as a team to achieve it. And that community focus was certainly apparent when the pharmacy decided to organise a fundraising walk to raise money for charity in July 2017.
“We felt that there were quite a high number of brain tumour sufferers locally and it would be good to raise awareness of what they go through, show our support and raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity,” Tyly explains. “We decided to do a walk because it’s attainable – it’s not like running a marathon or cycling to Paris. And also it’s something to raise fitness levels, which is in line with the healthy living aspect of the pharmacy and we thought this was really important.”
A total of 78 people took part in the 26-mile moonwalk, including Tyly, her pharmacist Sion and Adele, the pharmacy technician, and each person paid £20 to participate which went straight to the charity in full. Sponsorship forms were also dished out for people who wanted to raise more and a kind donation of £5,000 from local company Ifor Williams Trailers helped them reach a total of £20,898 – a brilliant achievement.
Setting off at 10pm from a local pub, the group walked through the Snowdonia National Park, walking over two of the highest passes in the area and past two lakes, Llyn Tegid and Lake Vyrnwy, before arriving back at the pub for a well-earned breakfast between six and nine o’clock the next morning.
“It really bought the community together and was actually very emotional as so many people took it to heart,” Tyly enthuses. “And being at night made it very special, I think, plus we raised so much money and awareness for a good cause.”
Tyly says the pharmacy hasn’t got anything similar in the pipeline as yet, although she suspects that “now it’s the new year, people will start asking what we’re doing this year. I think the scale of the event might have to mean it’s a two-year thing, but never say never”.
In the meantime, Tyly’s main aim is to: “Continue to offer the best service we can as a team and keep our lovely patients happy!”
I’d say we know 99 per cent of the customers by name which really helps. We can gage conversations on the right level when we know them well