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Introducing the New South Wales PATY State Winner

Brianne Lowe from HealthSAVE Pharmacy Charlestown in New South Wales has been chosen as the New South Wales State Winner of the 2019 Pharmacy Guild of Australia / Maxigesic Pharmacy Assistant of the Year Award (PATY).

Brianne will now represent NSW during the National Finals, to be held at the Pharmacy Assistant National Conference (PA2019) in October later this year.

We sat down with Brianne to find out more about her PATY journey so far.

How does it feel to be the State Winner? What was your reaction?

It feels really empowering! It’s made me feel confident to go out and speak to my team and other pharmacy assistants about the changes we are facing in the industry and what their ideas are.

I was completely shocked when I heard my name being called as the winner. The other State Finalists were so impressive. I’ve never received this kind of recognition as an individual before. I was just so chuffed to be able to attend the workshop and to be named the State Winner was just the cherry on top.

Can you give me a brief overview of your career in pharmacy?

I started in pharmacy 16 years ago when I was 16. I started as a pharmacy assistant for about 18 months and then stepped up to stock control when I was 18. I did my certificates and I was there for eight years. Then I moved to another pharmacy within the same shopping centre to do stock control and got promoted to Retail Manager pretty quickly. A few years ago, the owner asked me to help manage their other store too. So I’m based here in Charlestown but I do help out in the other stores.

What qualifications do you have and who did you complete your training with?

I have my Certificate III in Community Pharmacy and I have my Diploma in Retail Management. I also continue a lot of my training online and attend all supplier training to keep up to date. There’s always something for me to learn.

What was the PATY workshop day like?

The PATY State Workshop was hugely rewarding. Being able to work alongside the other talented pharmacy assistants was a real treat. I thoroughly enjoyed bouncing ideas alongside like-minded individuals in group activities. I have a list of ideas and improvements for which I’m getting started on right now! We were lucky to have that workshop in conjunction with the Pharmacy Connect conference. I had the opportunity to converse with industry specialists, pharmacists, interns, pharmacy students and more, so that was really fun as well.

What have you gained from PATY so far? What are you most looking forward to?

I have gained confidence and reassurance that pharmacy is where I belong. I feel revitalised. I’m so enthused to get out there and speak to my customers and staff about where pharmacy is heading and what we have to offer our local community. I also felt that my hard work over the past 15 years had all come to fruition. Pharmacy assistants spend the majority of their day helping customers and staff so it was great taking time out for myself for professional development. I met so many amazing pharmacy assistants from across the state as well. I will never forget the support and passion that they had. I can’t wait to meet the other State Winners and delegates at the Pharmacy Assistant National Conference. I hope they’ll come up and talk to me, and tell me what their ideas are in pharmacy, because I want to hear all about it!

Why would you encourage someone (eg. employer) to nominate a person for PATY?

As pharmacy assistants, we rarely get the opportunity to collaborate with our peers. I would encourage pharmacists and owners to nominate for three reasons:

  1. It’s a great way to show appreciation and recognise pharmacy assistants’ efforts. Just being nominated is enough to get someone excited about sharing their experience and ideas. Answering the nomination questions online was an amazing experience and was really creative for me – I enjoyed that.
  2. Having a member of your team nominated is something you should shout out from the rooftop and engage your customers about. I guarantee there aren’t many other pharmacies in that area who have finalists going to the workshop and that’s a huge point of difference. It will also be a positive influence on your staff.
  3. If your nominee does make the State Workshop, regardless of the outcome, they are going to come back to your store more reinvigorated and ready to kick some goals. It will come back to you tenfold as an owner or pharmacist – only positives for you.

Why would you encourage a pharmacy assistant to nominate themselves or participate in PATY?

Get out there! If you love pharmacy and have ideas, nominate yourself and get involved. Don’t be afraid to be passionate or confident or to be heard. Everyone is waiting to meet you and we all want to hear what you have to say. This has been by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my career and you need to step outside the wall. You need to go and engage with other like-minded people. Get involved and do it – you’ll love it! Don’t be scared – everyone is waiting to meet you!

Will Brianne be the 2019 PATY Winner? Find out at PA2019 and learn from all the State Winners at the conference. Register now at www.pharmacyassistants.com.

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