Spotlight On: Senior Pharmacy Technician Zoe Armstrong
Today (18 October) is Pharmacy Technician Day to recognise the invaluable contributions made by pharmacy technicians to patient health, safety and as an integral part of the NHS.
Zoe Armstrong, Oncology and Haematology Pharmacy Technician, said: “My pharmacy career started at the age of 15 when I got an after school job delivering medication. This was on my bicycle to elderly patients who were unable to collect their own medicines from the community pharmacy. It was really rewarding seeing how grateful the patients were for my help. When I had finished my GCSEs, the pharmacy offered me a full-time role and I enrolled on an NVQ with the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA). I also completed several courses for the sale and advice of over the counter (OTC) medicines. I really enjoyed the course and decided that I wanted to continue my career in pharmacy.”
Zoe has worked at NNUH since 2001 and first joined as a rotational pharmacy technician working in different sections of the busy pharmacy department.
“In 2006 I became a senior pharmacy technician in the total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and central intravenous additive system (CIVAS) and radio pharmacy services. I found this role really rewarding and enjoyed the fast pace and the variety the role offered. Later the senior role became rotational, and I was also involved in the day-to-day organising and development of the cytotoxic and non-sterile services. It was really exciting to see all the new drugs for cancer treatments and being involved in the manufacture and supply of them and also being involved in the clinical trials.
“My current role was created in 2017 in the oncology of haematology department. This involves the supply of oral systemic anticancer therapy (SACT) in a timely manner reducing waiting times for patients, the monitoring and supply of high-cost drugs and undertaking drug histories for new inpatients on Mulbarton ward. We work on the Weybourne Day Unit supplying supplementary oral medication for patients’ intravenous cancer treatment and high-cost monoclonal antibodies. We work closely with Clinical Nurse specialists (CNS) and Haematology doctors in the outpatient setting to ensure a timely supply of oral SACT via our delivery service, or to patients seen face to face in the Colney Centre. We also provide medication for the North Norfolk Macmillan Centre at Cromer and the mobile cancer care unit (MCCU).”
“I love working as a part of a multidisciplinary team, seeing patients and every day is different. We deal with queries, counsel patients on the medication and are always trying to develop the service we provide. Our team is hoping to create a satellite dispensary in the future to enable us to provide an even more efficient service to a wider range of oncology and haematology patients. We are also looking to expand our homecare service which will also provide vast cost savings for the NHS.”
The pharmacy technician role is incredibly varied, there are so many different avenues you can take whether it be in community pharmacy, General Practice (GP), Primary Care Network (PCN), industry, academia, armed forces, health and justice, mental health or general hospital. There are also so many opportunities for learning and development in all of these settings.”
Whether you are a people person or a process person there would be a role to suit you.”
If you are thinking of starting your journey in pharmacy, contact Lucy Spinks, Operational Manager for Education and Training, at email@example.com