By Haylee Funk
National Programs Administrator
When I tell people that I work at the Guild and my title is the National Programs Administrator, I’m often met with a lot of confused looks. Firstly, from those who are unfamiliar with the Pharmacy industry – what is the Guild?!? And secondly, what does a National Programs Administrator actually do?!?
Primarily my role is to act as the Administrator for the Guild’s national programs that are coordinated from the Queensland Branch – excitingly, this means interacting with Australia’s best pharmacy assistants, through the coordination of the Pharmacy Assistant of the Year Award (PATY). From the initial set-up of the online nomination forms, through to the organisation of the cash prize cheque for our eventual winner, I’m involved every step of the way in the PATY process.
It’s refreshing to work in a role where I get to be the bearer of good news, and inform pharmacy assistants all over the country that someone thinks they are wonderful at their job, whether it be their employer, a colleague or even a customer. Knowing that the email or letter I’m about to send is going to brighten someone’s day certainly gives you a warm feeling inside.
Once the nomination process is over, the fun part really begins – the State Workshops. After notifying the successful nominees, I work with our National PATY Coordinator, the National PATY Facilitator and staff in each State Branch to put together the best State Workshops that we can, after all, our pharmacy assistants deserve the best, and deserve to be celebrated.
Some of the best phone calls are when I speak to our State Winners for the first time after their win. Their excitement is infectious, and it’s easy to get swept up in how joyous this moment is. Generally, I also get to speak to the manager or colleagues of our State Winners, and it’s clear to see that the excitement of the win has motivated the whole pharmacy and that it’s a victory they want to share in and celebrate amongst their local community.
The few months between the State Workshop and the Pharmacy Assistant Conference are spent liaising with our State Winners and coordinating the next step of their PATY journey – a trip to the Gold Coast for the National Workshop day. Many emails and phone calls later, our State Winners are prepped with flights, accommodation bookings, their National Workshop tasks, and they are ready to meet one another at the conference venue.
Enjoying dinner with the National PATY Coordinator, National PATY Facilitator and the State Winners the night before the National Workshop day is great! All State Winners are eager to meet one another and share in their experiences of attending and then winning their respective State Workshop. They talk about how their pharmacies, families and friends all reacted to and celebrated their win and what it has done for them personally and professionally. Of course, each State Winner is also suitably nervous, after all the next day is the National Workshop and then at the Conference Dinner on the Friday night, the National Winner will be awarded!
Throughout the PA Conference, I get to regularly interact with our State Winners, from discussions about their embarrassment of their photos being involved in a conference competition, to which trade stand has the best goodies on offer. I don’t think I ever see a State Winner without a broad smile on their face during the conference, as they soak up the best the conference has to offer, not to mention the encouragement and congratulations they receive from all the other delegates and exhibitors in attendance.
And then comes the big announcement – months of hard work culminating in watching the new National PATY Winner awarded at the conference dinner. It’s a thrilling moment, when you get to watch someone’s dream come true and the genuine excitement from their fellow State Winners who get to share in the moment with them.
Of course though, my role in the PATY process doesn’t end here as I get to liaise with our newly named National Winner after the PA Conference as well as organising their prizes such as a trip to APP 2019, the opportunity to return to the PA Conference the following year as a PATY national judge and of course the $5,000 cash prize.
I strongly encourage all pharmacy assistants to get involved in PATY2018, it’s fun and exciting and you’ve got nothing to lose by nominating and then hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to speak with you!