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Helen Tromans

Helen was crowned Best Newcomer at the Recognition of Excellence Awards 2023.

Helen Tromans  
Swinford Alphega Pharmacy
Best Newcomer Award

The judges were bowled over by healthcare assistant, Helen Tromans’ [pictured alongside Pharmacy Magazine editor, Richard Thomas, left] glowing nomination from her pharmacist Oluyato Arikawe. “Helen is like sunshine to the whole team,” she wrote. “She is always willing to go above and beyond in everything she does. She is reliable and can be depended upon if given any task. She is flexible and a good team player. She is always willing to help any team member that is struggling with their task and would help on weekends if any of the staff are unable to make it.”

An accidental career 

When the pandemic hit, Helen’s career as a mobile hairdresser came to an abrupt halt. So, she began looking for other ways to use her time, starting with admin work for the local pharmacy vaccination team. She went on to do Covid testing training and used that knowledge to support the same pharmacy in various outreach events. 

“Lockdown lifted and I started to get back on my feet,” she explains. “I suddenly became ill and ended up in hospital for a month being treated for sepsis. It was interesting to see from another aspect how medical teams worked together, and I realised a lot of the support patients’ need is knowing somebody understands their situation and can explain how they’re going to help you with everybody’s cooperation. Pharmacy is the centre of all medicine and helping people.” Spurred on by this discovery, Helen applied for a job advertised at Swinford Pharmacy. “I was surprised to get a call from Olutayo, my manager at the vaccination site, not realising she had recently bought the pharmacy,” she says. “I was also surprised that she recognised who I was as there were many of us working for her at the vaccination and testing centres. I was even happier that she gave the opportunity to work with her at the pharmacy.” 

From strength to strength 

That was just under 18 months ago, and since then Helen’s career has taken off considerably. “Helen is always willing to improve herself to be able to provide a better service to her patients,” says Olutayo. “She is also brilliant in applying what she has learnt in practice.” 

This is undoubtedly evident in all the training Helen has undergone, including NVQ Level 2, aural examination autoscopy, alcohol IBA training, earwax removal, weight management, antimicrobial stewardship and blood pressure measurement. “Helen is invaluable to our pharmacy. She is always willing to improve herself to provide a better service for her patients. Our counter sales and professional services income have increased ever since Helen started working in the pharmacy,” says Oluyato. “Our patient nominations have also increased. She understands people and she understands business. We are really grateful to her for her dedication and selflessness. I therefore wholeheartedly recommend her for this award.”

It seems the judges couldn’t agree more. “How can one person achieve so much so quickly… Helen can! A really positive future ahead,” says Richard Stephenson, COO at Right Medicine Pharmacy. Richard Dunne, senior manager pharmacy learning and development, Boots UK agrees, adding: “Helen demonstrates the vast roles our colleagues play across community pharmacy and for our patients.”

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Recognition of Excellence