The pharmacy technician who supported seven Lloydspharmacy branches through COVID-19

“I certainly enjoy my position,” says Lilly.

Witnessing the 27-12 months-outdated pharmacy technician at operate at Lloydspharmacy in Soham, Cambridgeshire, this is obvious to see. As she sweeps authoritatively all-around the pharmacy to help people obtain the merchandise they need, the enthusiasm she feels for her career is palpable.

Lilly has attained an amazing amount of money all through her 10-and-a-fifty percent yrs in neighborhood pharmacy. Beginning out as a Saturday lady at a Lloydspharmacy department in Ely whilst she examined for her A-Stages, she has absent from power to power, turning out to be a dispenser and learning for her pharmacy technician qualification, which she not too long ago handed with an impressive double difference.


“Anything that we ever accomplish is by a team”


Because the COVID-19 pandemic strike, she has been a force to be reckoned with, regularly assisting out at six other neighborhood Lloydspharmacy branches on top of her personal workload. While she clocked up very long several hours – from time to time doing work up to 7 days a week – her beneficial mindset and can-do mindset acted as a lifebelt to several Lloydspharmacy groups in east Cambridgeshire, who were being beleaguered by mounting workloads in the course of the pandemic. She is presently operating at Lloydspharmacy in her dwelling town of Chatteris, though she however at times operates throughout other nearby branches.

Lilly (pictured) started off her pharmacy journey over a 10 years back

But she is reticent about getting all the credit for her several achievements. “Everything that we ever reach is by way of a staff,” she claims decisively. This perspective is standard of Lilly. So a great deal so that she is loath to choose all the credit rating for profitable Pharmacy Staff Member of the 12 months at the C+D Awards 2021, apportioning a substantial chunk of that achievement to her mentor and colleague, Acacia Leong. “That award is also Acacia’s,” she asserts.

It is thanks to Acacia – a Lloydspharmacy and most important care community pharmacist who also designed the C+D Awards 2021 shortlist, this time in the Supervisor of the Year group – pushing her to succeed that led to Lilly successful the award, she claims. “I uncovered anyone who actually pushed me to be what I could be,” she points out, pointing out that without the need of the support and mentorship of her pharmacy friends, she would not have bought to exactly where she is right now.

But her modesty belies a singular motivation to individual care and amazing monitor history in encouraging to convert all over battling Lloydspharmacy branches. These qualities wowed the C+D Award judges, who branded her a “rising star and an extraordinary part design for the profession”.

So, just what does it just take to grow to be an award-successful pharmacy staff member?


Battling pandemic pressures


Handful of pharmacy teams, if any, have been immune to the huge pressures presented by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Lilly’s knowledge is no exception.

“It was a ridiculous, insane time,” she remembers. “We truly struggled with team sicknesses. We really struggled because the GPs ended up so confused, the hospitals as very well. It place so a great deal strain on neighborhood pharmacies.


Lilly accumulating her trophy at the C+D Awards 2021

“Until you perform on the ground, working with it working day in day out, you will not realise.”

But she was impressed with how pharmacy groups “really excelled” when working with the a lot of scientific difficulties thrown at them. In particular, a great deal of people in the region “really struggled” with their psychological wellbeing. For Lilly, this meant individually intervening in some cases, featuring assistance and a supportive ear when clients offered to the pharmacy battling to cope.


“COVID-19 was a insane, mad time. We genuinely struggled with personnel illness”


Certainly, in a person incident that was provided in Lilly’s submission for the C+D Awards, Lilly consoled a girl who broke down in tears following a regime set of WWHAM thoughts. Lilly reportedly took her to the consultation area and had a extensive chat about how the girl was struggling from isolation, anxiety and most likely depression because of to family members pressure and COVID-19. Lilly listened and supplied a human being to discuss to, encouraged her on some self-help suggestions and instructed getting in contact with some helplines as effectively as contacting her medical doctor. Following examining she was secure and not a danger to herself, the woman returned property.

All through that period of time, a whole lot of aged individuals in the area also required excess support, which in some cases just concerned chatting to them on the cellphone, but also intended that the pharmacy had to undertake further deliveries to housebound clients. “We were being pushed to our absolute max,” Lilly tells C+D.

Understandably, there were occasions when Lilly felt daunted by the strain. “It’s been very challenging,” she concedes. “There’s been a great deal of late evenings, early mornings. During the COVID-19 time period, there were weeks where I was working 7 days a 7 days, and I continue to had deadlines [to meet].”


Lilly was awarded her trophy by the event’s host, comedic actress Sally Phillips (pictured above)


She is grateful for the assist she gained at residence as very well as at function, which she says aided her on her way to passing her pharmacy technician qualification. And for this consummate team participant, it appears fitting that it was the aid from her colleagues that acquired her by at function.

“Everyone was executing what they ended up accomplishing due to the fact we wanted to assistance every other. I consider a ton of pharmacies bought by means of [COVID-19] mainly because they acquired by way of it as a workforce and supported just about every other.”


Steering the ship


Lilly’s resilience and positivity has rubbed off on innumerable colleagues, increasing the support at numerous Lloydspharmacy branches in her place. Helping other Lloydspharmacy groups in the area is a stage of satisfaction for Lilly, who grew up in the region.

The pandemic had taken its toll on just one 100-hour branch at a Sainsbury’s store in Ely, with “overstretched, tired” employees battling because of to workers vacancies and a new patient treatment document (PMR) program. Lilly served the team get to grips with the new technologies, but also took the time to see the place she could unburden some customers of team, individually having on some of their duties. Recognising that what the staff really necessary was a little bit of positivity, she introduced herself as a “happy spirit” who was constantly prepared to lend her help anywhere it was wanted, so that overwrought workforce users could have a little bit of downtime.


“The additional qualified you are and the extra distinctive established of expertise you have, the extra beneficial you are to your clients”


Lilly’s solution to turning around this drained workforce was not spectacular – but was no less efficient for that. She was rapid to praise the team for their achievements, which impressed them to retain pushing ahead and achieve even extra. She steered clear of setting “big targets”, but found that personnel had been capable to just take on extra and additional as time went on and they could begin to see the fruits of their attempts. A number of “events out” also assisted to improve morale, but even providing tense group members fast chats encouraged them to “get the stresses out” when necessary. All of Lilly’s really hard get the job done paid out off and the Sainsbury’s staff is now executing “really well” in the location.

A reward for having on so a great deal further obligation through this complicated time was currently being shortlisted for the C+D Awards and attending the glitzy ceremony past November, which Lilly describes as an “incredible night”.


The glamorous C+D Awards 2021 ceremony (pictured higher than) was held in central London last November


She is adamant that much more individuals really should enter competitions like the C+D Awards – even when they think that they are just undertaking their jobs. “I believe that there are a large amount of remarkable individuals in pharmacy, you do go over and over and above.

“I am dwelling evidence that you can just be usual, and you can just be functioning in branches and not seriously carrying out something specific. And you can get decided on to win one thing like this.”


On the lookout to the long term


Now, with a C+D Award and her pharmacy technician qualification beneath her belt, Lilly has an precision checking technician qualification in her sights. Owning constantly savored the much more medical aspects of her function, she feels it is the “next step” in her pharmacy journey.

But for Lilly, whose working experience in turning branches around reveals a strong head for business enterprise, using on a administration place when a person results in being readily available presents yet another qualified intention.

Whilst numerous would balk at taking on so quite a few problems at after, Lilly appears excited by the prospect. “I imagine the much more skilled you are and the much more different established of abilities you have, the extra beneficial you are to your individuals,” she says.

And, impressed by the guidance of mentors like Acacia, Lilly is eager to share all she has acquired with some others, taking on a regional schooling role. “I do find myself, when I go to sites that are struggling, talking to the staff members when they are stressed in the exact way that [Acacia] employed to talk to me and expressing: ‘There’s not truly a dilemma that we are unable to take care of if we just sit down and converse about this.’”

This compassionate, frequent-perception solution to management is certain to stand Lilly in very good stead when she moves into administration positions. With a shiny long term at Lloydspharmacy forward of her, the sky’s the restrict for this hardworking pharmacy technician.


Could you or a single of your colleagues be crowned as a C+D Award winner? Examine out all the classes for the 2022 awards and enter currently