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Pharmacy Careers
NHS Health Education England

Vicki Simmons - Interface Pharmacist

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Interface Pharmacist, Vicki shares her day-to-day life of the role and her experiences of a career in pharmacy.

Transcript

00:00:00:04 [Speaker 1]: Okay. My name is Vicky Vicky Simmons. And I'm a interface pharmacist.  

00:00:04:09 [Speaker 2]: What frustrates you the most about how the general public misunderstand pharmacy?  

00:00:11:11 [Speaker 1]: I think there's lots of common misconceptions that all pharmacists do is standing in a shop, put labels on boxes and just, just put them out now do exactly what we're told and just like a conveyor belt and the same, much more the pharmacy than that.  

00:00:24:00 [Speaker 2]: What is your job?  

00:00:26:05 [Speaker 1]: My job is quite varied. Um, so I spend some of my time working in the hospital where I see lots of patients on the ward and sort of sort out their medications got discharged and worked with the doctors. And I spend quite a bit of time in the community liaising with GPS and visiting patients at home to assess what's going on actually in their lives, at home with the medicines and support them that way.  

00:00:44:14 [Speaker 2]: What do you enjoy about what you do?  

00:00:46:17 [Speaker 1]: The variety? Um, the fact that I get to go out and see patients in the hospital and in the community lives with different areas of pharmacy and people, but really seeing people in the difference I can make.  

00:00:59:10 [Speaker 2]: If you had a kind of mission statement and your, what what'd you say way of kind of trying to do,  

00:01:07:24 [Speaker 1]: Trying to put the patient in the middle of actually what we're trying to achieve? Because lots of it there'll be seen by a medical professional at the GP there'll be seen by pharmacists. And we'll all say we'll have all have our agenda. What we think is best for the patient. And we forget sometimes that that person is living their life at the middle of that. So my aim is to get them at the center and find what, like, what do they want? It might not be what we want. Um, but trying to join those two up,  

00:01:32:11 [Speaker 2]: Am I starting to advocate for the patient's voice? Do you feel like you're able to be innovative in your role and how?  

00:01:41:18 [Speaker 1]: Yeah, I mean, I'm fairly new to this role, but I have done similar roles in the past. So, and I feel this trust is really open to new ideas and other very open surf, see this isn't working as well. Then what could we do to make things better? I'm using different technology and we've had to embrace different things, using zoom and teams and different methods to talk to people. And I think that's actually helps in some ways, if you get different professionals altogether in a virtual room to discuss a patient, which maybe we couldn't do physically before  

00:02:11:10 [Speaker 2]: Check my notes. So I'm not confusing. We spoke about big changes. How do you?  

00:02:30:19 [Speaker 1]: I think the big thing is I said, I know I'm repeating a bit, but going back to asking people what they want and what's affecting their life, little things like you can prescribe medicines for somebody and spread them all out lovely through the day, but they may not bear to remember to take them out through it throughout the day, just by making a small change to I it all in the morning, all in the evening, you can make the world of difference where you could get the other opposite where the patient goes, Oh, actually, I don't like to take six tablets at once. I want them spread out through the day. So just asking that question can make such a difference.  

00:03:00:12 [Speaker 2]: Do you feel like as a pharmacist, you're in a unique position across healthcare?  

00:03:06:17 [Speaker 1]: Maybe we can, we start it. We can bridge almost between the doctor side of it and the patient side, and we can interact a social care as well. So we absolutely are in key positions to be able to, and we've had opportunities more recently to have these different posts that we can work in different areas. And, and this one particularly combining the two is really good.  

00:03:26:07 [Speaker 2]: What kind of feedback do you get from your patients?  

00:03:30:09 [Speaker 1]: Sometimes quite surprised that the pharmacist is asking them these questions, um, and that they, the, we do go out and about and see patients. Um, and the feedback I've had in this role in previous ones is they're just grateful that someone cares enough to ask. Um, and or can you just ask the DP this for me? Cause I don't feel like an often ask these things so we can bridge that gap as well.  

00:03:52:02 [Speaker 2]: What's the, what kind of relationship do you end up having as a pharmacist with people that they might not have here in the us or  

00:04:01:17 [Speaker 1]: No, she's I have good relationships because I often seen them regularly, but like nurses, we can see, especially if you work in a community pharmacy, you can be the person that patient sees regularly week in, week out, and you might notice something they're not as good as they were. Something's not quite right. And then you can sort of try and find out what's going on or forward that to someone else who can sort of help them,  

00:04:24:17 [Speaker 2]: Your journey through pharmacy. Has that affected you as a person? Has it kind of taught you anything about yourself?  

00:04:33:19 [Speaker 1]: I've seen a lot about how different people differently pay different people live and learn, not to sort of judge people, how they choose to live is not necessarily wrong. If that's, um, I'm trying to accept everyone's approach to life and seeing if you can help them live, how way wants to in a, in a safe way. Um, but so yeah,  

00:04:55:07 [Speaker 2]: Yeah, just a couple of weeks ago, how much there is to what you can do.  

00:05:07:03 [Speaker 1]: Well, I've been a pharmacist 20 years and when I did start, it was very much community or hospital. There are your two options and it's huge now. So community hospital, GP, prisons, industry, there was industry when I was back then, but that didn't interest me.  

00:05:28:19 [Speaker 2]: We left the. Have you learned anything about yourself from the pharmacy? So feel free to be as cheesy as you like  

00:05:54:17 [Speaker 1]: People, I suppose. Hopefully I knew that before it's M being empathetic to people and I've learned how just sitting and talking to someone, actually forget the medicines, just talking to somebody, you will learn a lot about them and you can learn a lot from them and help develop yourself as well.  

00:06:13:19 [Speaker 2]: What skills do you feel like  

00:06:16:23 [Speaker 1]: Listening skills? Definitely. Um, you have to be quite good at mediating, um, persuasion. Um, so I have to work with doctors and, and I might look at a prescription, say anything, we'll ask you. That's not right. I need to be changed in that. And I need to be able to explain to them that why I want to change it and why then that's the best thing to do. And then some patients so discuss with them why I think they should take the medicines and they might be very much, no, I'm not going to take any and trying to explain to them what the benefits and the risks are and 

00:06:48:03 actually accepting sometimes if they can accept those risks, that's, that's their decision. Um, and not trying to impose our will on patients. I mean, the COVID vaccines, a classic one at the moment, I've got a patient who's desperate to get it.  

00:07:01:09 [Speaker 1]: She's housebound and said to me, when I rang her about something else, when am I going to get it? Let me, let me talk to your GP. And then they express, but I don't want that one gives you clocks. That's the one you're likely to get. But, and so I then sort of said to her, I explained to the risks and benefits and actually, yes, there's some scary stuff in the press, but the rest of very, actually very low and that actually it was better that she has that one. The North has it because COVID is high risk, but there's often things that you have to discuss with 

00:07:30:11 patients with risks and benefits.  

00:07:32:19 [Speaker 2]: Hello, Nolan used to empower the people like how do you apply knowledge to help people?  

00:07:45:22 [Speaker 1]: Yeah, I suppose we taking the science behind this. Okay. This is the evidence suggests that this is going to help in this situation with lots of guidelines and things, and then look at it and go, right? Where's your patient fit into that? How is that going to affect their life? So things like if they have an irregular heartbeat, we suggest they take a blood thinner to reduce their risk of stroke. That might mean nothing to them, but then we sort of break it down. So if you had a stroke, this could happen. The result could be there. She might need support. You might need care. And then what I want that to happen. And then, okay, so we 

00:08:16:16 can reduce that risk by doing there. So taking it from the science and the evidence and the guidelines to actually how it affects their daily life.  

00:08:25:22 [Speaker 2]: Why do you think people should get into pharmacy?  

00:08:29:10 [Speaker 1]: It's an interesting varied career. That's a bit cliche, but it is, um, there are so many different opportunities. I mean, I got into it because I was interested in medicine. Never wants to be a doctor. Mittens are interesting and there's changes daily in it. I mean, over the last 20 years, it's changed hugely and it will only keep going as to, and we can do more and more. So it's a fascinating area.  

00:08:51:04 [Speaker 2]: You seem excited about what the future might hold. I think  

00:08:54:04 [Speaker 1]: When you look back, what, how it's changed so far, it can only get better.  

00:08:58:22 [Speaker 2]: Yeah. It's just like, it's just freed you guys up to The physical bits that can do, we can worry about the clinical and the important safety bits. Yeah. 

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