Interview: Kylie Marsh, New South Wales PATY State winner

How did you get started in pharmacy?
As I was preparing to finish school in 2005 I started looking into different career pathways. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I saw an advertisement for a trainee position at a pharmacy in Belmont, NSW. I got the job and started from the bottom, working to achieve my Certificate I and II in Community Pharmacy. It’s been 11 years now, and I’ve worked my way up to the Dispensary which I thoroughly enjoy. You need to have good organisational skills and be able to multitask in order to succeed in the Dispensary.

What qualifications do you have?
I hold a Certificate I, II and III in Community Pharmacy.

How do you think training has benefited you in your career?
Training has benefitted me so much both professionally and personally. It has allowed me to take on more in my current role and get where I am today. I believe it’s important to continue to learn throughout your career to keep you motivated and inspired.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to learn while on the job, which I think provides the best experience. Other staff in the pharmacy have always helped me along while I’m studying, and everyone really wants to see you thrive and succeed. It’s so great knowing that your peers just what you to achieve your best.

Who did you complete your training?
I completed my training with Guild Training. Having qualifications from the Guild is definitely seen as highly favourable within the industry.

Tell us about your PATY experience so far?
The experience has been amazing. The training at the workshop was so informative, and I really think that more Pharmacy Assistants should participate and get involved. It has been so rewarding so far. I’m actually turning 30 this year and I really feel like I’m coming into my own – working as a Pharmacy Assistant and being involved with PATY has really helped me find my self-worth, and I’m so grateful for that.

When I came back to the store after being announced as the state finalist everyone was so excited and happy for me. There were balloons and glitter everywhere – it was an incredible feeling. Normally I wouldn’t promote myself – or talk about the things I think I do well – but this has been one of the biggest achievements of my life (aside from buying a house all on my own!) I feel really proud of myself.

What was the workshop day like?
Kathy Gribble who facilitated the day was so wonderful, and it was great meeting all the other finalists; everyone was so positive which I thrive on. It felt so incredible to be in a room where everyone wanted the same thing – and that was success for each and every person in the room.

Thanks to this experience I believe my confidence has grown so much, and my public speaking has definitely improved. It felt so amazing to know that people believed in the things I was saying, and that they truly believed in me.

What were you most apprehensive about?
I think mostly it’s the fear of the unknown. I didn’t really know what I would be doing in the workshop, or what the process would be. I met another Pharmacy Assistant from Maitland who was nominated last year and this year. She knew what to expect and shared that with me, which put my mind at ease a little. I was pretty nervous about the interview though – but once I sat down I realised that everyone was so calm, and the energy was great. I did pretty well in the end!

What are you most excited for?
I’m so excited to go to PA Conference! I’ve never been before, but I’ve always wanted to go. I can’t wait to get into the workshops and learn from the other state finalists. I know it’s going to be a really positive experience – but I am a little nervous knowing I will be representing the whole state!

My whole family is going to meet me after the conference for a family holiday, so that’s going to be wonderful. Either way, I feel like I’ve already won. The entire experience I did for myself, and it’s incredible knowing I even got this far!

Would you encourage others to participate in PATY in the future? Why?
Absolutely! The training and experiences you gain from the workshop are invaluable! The feeling of self-worth you get from being a part of such a positive team environment really builds up your confidence. Knowing you can achieve something so huge is a pretty great feeling.

What have you gained for PATY so far?
My confidence – big time! I have been growing as a person and I feel like by being part of this experience I have really achieved something huge – just by being myself. I also think I’ve developed my social skills and have a better understanding of how the Guild works – which is nice!

What do you hope to achieve?
I’m hoping that through this process I’m able to shine more of a light on the important issue of men’s health. Working at Priceline, which is very female empowerment orientated (which is great), there might be some opportunities after this process to help promote the importance of mental health issues for men. There’s such a stigma attached to men being more open with their emotions, there’s this idea of putting on a brave face, but I think it’s important there’s resources available for men to talk about their issues. I feel really passionate about the cause since my dad underwent heart surgery. It would be my goal to bring more men into the store and provide health services to those that need it.

What do you love about pharmacy?
I really like the people I work with – we’re all on the same level and we all want to be the best we can be and achieve great things for ourselves and the business. Working in the dispensary I don’t get to deal with customers as much as I’d like to, but it’s nice that our customers do get to see the same people each time they come into the store. They create a great bond, which is important when you’re seeking assistance when you’re not feeling well or you’re going through a difficult time. The people I work with are the reason I come into work every day though, I love that we can help our customers and each other. It’s a lovely environment.