Introducing the 2020 Pharmacy Assistant of the Year – Benjamin King

How do you feel being awarded the 2020 National Pharmacy Assistant of the Year Award?

It’s quite a feeling, I can’t really describe it. The immense pressure and honour of everything I’m representing is overwhelming. Especially considering I’m the first male winner and the first Northern Territory winner. I want to do everyone proud and accomplish something in this coming year.

What was your reaction when they announced your name as the winner? Are you still on a high?

I had no words. The sheer talent and passion of all the other finalists was incredible, so when they’d told me I’d won I was in disbelief. These last few weeks have been awesome and I’m still over the moon I have this opportunity. I’m just not sure what comes next, but I’m excited nevertheless.

How would you describe your PATY experience so far?

Spontaneous. Exciting. Overwhelming. Its insane. I never pictured myself here. I went into PATY with the mindset of what do I have to lose? I wanted to meet others with immense passion and learn something in the process and now here I am.

What’s the best thing about the PATY Award?

I would say everything I have to represent. I’m presenting myself to hundreds of others in the Industry and representing the Northern Territory, Alice Springs, The NT pharmacy guild brand, my company and the wonderful people I work with. I’m also now representing every male worker in pharmacy industry as the first male winner which is extraordinary.

What would you say to pharmacy assistants that are thinking of entering PATY?

What do you have to lose? Think on that. There’s nothing you can lose by giving it a go. On the other hand, there’s plenty to gain. I’ve met some lovely assistants from all over Australia and I’ve got the pleasure of working with them for the next year.

What makes you stand out as Australia’s top pharmacy assistant?

That’s a fantastic question, I don’t like to raise myself up on a pedestal. I’ve got qualities that all pharmacy assistants over Australia possess and given the current year I think all pharmacy assistants deserve a pat on the back. I place the highest value on teamwork, I love my team. I spend most of time in and out of work with them. I think everyone needs to know who they’re working with and appreciate all the skills and qualities that come together in the team.

Why do you think pharmacy assistants are such an important part of healthcare?

Pharmacy assistants are vital. We work in a frontline service and hundreds of people visit our stores daily. We are a pillar of the community and relied on for medicine and medical advice. Every assistant should know how important they are and I hope we all do.

What are you passionate about in pharmacy?

A lot of things. I’ll give you my top three. Teamwork, knowledge and communication.

I’ve touched upon teamwork; we need to value what each team member brings to the table and work together to support the community.
Knowledge is incredible, I love learning and hope I never stop. Being a pharmacy assistant puts you at the forefront of knowledge, there is so much to be learned about in pharmacy. Pharmacists are a great source for this, always listen to what they say and you’ll a thing or two (shout-out to Anandh, thanks for all the information you’ve instilled in me over the years).

Communication is key. We’ve had one of the most eventful years in the last few decades. Some of us have been isolated for too long, away from family and friends. I can’t wait for things to go back to the way they were. I can’t wait until we have a future where language isn’t a barrier. Anyone can walk into a pharmacy and be provided with fantastic service no matter the language they speak.

What do you love about dealing with customers on the daily?

The customers are probably the best part of the job, they’re all really lovely and knowing I can help them when they come into the store makes my day. Supporting the community is one of the most important jobs we have as assistants and I’m proud that I can make a difference.

Are you looking forward to attending APP2021?

I’m excited and nervous. This will be the first time I’ve attended APP and knowing I have to give a speech has me on edge. What do I say? How can I make sure everyone gets something out of it? It’s all a bit daunting but I’m excited to see what happens.