Heather Paterson - Pharmacy Dispenser
Hi, my name is Heather Paterson, I’m 54 years old and my hometown is Forres. My job title is a Pharmacy Dispenser and I work in a Pharmacy in my hometown. I wasn’t looking for this particular job but seen an advert in the Pharmacy window, applied and got the job! I started as a counter assistant but then progressed to become a dispenser. I’ve been in the job for over 13 years.
On a daily basis, I process and dispense prescriptions, receive the delivery of medicines, check it off, and put away. Then I get the deliveries ready to go out to our patients, makeup methadone, suboxone, make up dossette boxes for patients that are having difficulty doing tablets themselves, as well as answering phone, serving customers, when theirs time date check all medicines. I also have to make sure the dispensary is clean and tidy.
I did a counter assistant course when I first started in Pharmacy then went on and did an NVQ2 course to allow me to do the jobs in the dispensary. You need to be able to give great customer service, listen to patients, ask relevant questions and be a friendly face, and be able to work within a team. Over the years I have learned computer skills, stock rotation and how to give great customer service.
I love living and working in Moray. You get to know a lot of your regular customers and it’s a very friendly place. The older customers like to have a blether as sometimes we are the only ones they get to speak to, we try to go the extra mile to provide our customers with the best service possible. My favourite part of the job is making up dossette boxes, knowing that your helping patients who are needing a helping hand with their medication.
I was very surprised at the prices of some of the drugs, and to see how many different brands of the same drug that are available, also I was shocked as the amount of returned medicines that are returned to the pharmacy to be destroyed. Our employers are always available if there’s an issue in the pharmacy, they are only a phone all or email away and are prompt at fixing any problems.
I never thought of a career in Pharmacy, it was the only job available at the time. School leavers that fancy a career in Pharmacy, the job gives you a lot of satisfaction, sometimes speaking to lonely people for a few minutes can make their day. The job varies from day to day and there are always jobs to do.
I’m happy to stay as a dispenser but there are opportunities to climb the ladder to higher roles.
I feel proud to help the community. It’s been hard work and hectic at times as patients panic about their medication but on the whole knowing you are there to provide advice and service to the patient. Although I do feel we don’t the same recognition, I think pharmacy staff is sometimes forgotten as key workers. I’m proud to be there for all our patients and it gives great job satisfaction.