I started working for Boots UK over 20 years ago as a pre-reg. I joined the Company then as I felt that it provided the best training, support and career opportunities for me.
After I qualified as a pharmacist, I worked full-time and had a number of store-based and management roles. I also had opportunities to input into important company projects and in the local prison.
On returning from maternity leave after my first child was born (I have three children now aged eleven, nine and six) I was able to reduce my working hours to two and a half days per week. This enabled me to have the flexibility to balance my work with my childcare and family commitments.
I have been working for the past two years with two community groups through the “Building the Community-Pharmacy Partnership” (BCPP) programme. As a pharmacist, my aim is to help build the partnership between the community and local Boots UK pharmacies.
The first community group is a charity supporting adults with mental health problems and/or learning difficulties. The second is with is a community development organisation which helps provide and develop services to people living in local, socially disadvantaged areas.
My role has been to build and develop relationships with those involved in the groups and make them more aware of the services that Boots UK pharmacies can offer. I also prepare and present talks on a variety of health and wellbeing topics. We link with other relevant ‘partner’ groups to look at specific health issues such as cancer, mental health problems or alcohol abuse. We have also helped our community groups by supporting them with some of their fundraising initiatives.
This work has enabled me to link with people who would not necessarily usually utilise the help that pharmacist can offer. For example we were carrying out health checks with the “Resurgam Trust” men’s group and we referred one gentleman to his GP as his blood pressure was very high and he was describing symptoms of angina. He took our advice and went to see his doctor the next day, he had stents fitted before the end of the week and was delighted to tell me the next time I saw him how well he now felt.
During the other community group session, one lady expressed that she was anxious about her hearing. After the session at the centre I was able to take her to our Boots Hearingcare Centre which was close by. They were able to take her straightaway for her free hearing check and stayed with her to give her reassurance and talk her through all her results.
One benefit for me as a working mum is that I can plan my community sessions with the group co-ordinators working around my contracted hours and childcare. I thoroughly enjoy the community aspect of my job and I have found it fulfilling, interesting and varied.