Pam Bahia
Pharmacy Technician and Support Staff Facilitator

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I like Play School – Humpty Dumpty was my favourite.

My name is Pam Bahia, I’m a Pharmacy Technician Support Staff Facilitator at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. Our job role involves from dispensing medications to manufacturing and procuring medications for the hospital. My job particularly I’m an assessor, so I train future Pharmacy Technicians and I train Pharmacy Assistants to get the qualifications. I wanted to get into teaching, and I started work experience at a community pharmacy at the age of 13, which led then to a Saturday job, so that was kept open for me, the more time I spent in that pharmacy, the more I became interested in it and realized there was so much to learn. Back then there wasn’t Pharmacy Technicians just Pharmacy Assistants and then I moved into a hospital and realized that actually there are Pharmacy Technicians and actually we could get qualifications while also working so that was really attractive to me. Because even though I had gone to university and I wanted to go into teaching, I then realized, actually I like pharmacy a bit more. I didn’t want to go back to University a Pharmacy Technician course actually suited me better, and I was still able to help patients and still doing all the different things that I would imagine working in a hospital pharmacy, so that really attracted me to the post.

You’ve got so many different extended roles, from actually working on the wards, conducting the final check, there is manufacturing and antiseptics, you’ve got technicians working on procurement as well, so we’ve actually quite a big team now. There is different roles you could go into, so things have changed over the past few years.

So a normal working day for me could range from having meetings to dealing with students, assessing them, teaching and training. An abnormal working day for me would be if I wasn’t in the office, I’d be here in the dispensary like today, so it’d be labelling medications, checking with the patients and helping colleagues.

I also work on the wards on the weekends and when they need extra staff, so up there I’ll go check medications, speak to the patients, make sure that all the medications are prescribed correctly and work with the pharmacy team and other healthcare professionals.

I think, in my particular role, where I’m dealing with different kinds of students, they’ve all come from different areas and walks of life, so it’s almost trying to make sure that they understand their roles, and that they, you know, adhering to the trust values and behaviours, and eventually be they’re going to be registered professionals, so that can be quite challenging at times.

Values-wise you need to be patient-focused I think you need to make sure that’s your key thing: everything that you do is for the patient; you need to act with integrity, be honest, and to be a trustworthy person. You need to have good communication skills, good teamwork skills, you need to be diplomatic at times and be flexible. You can go on to manufacturing units, you can go on to being wards-based technician, can help with clinical issues with the Pharmacist, so the roles are extending so there is lots of career routes for everyone to take. Get some work experience, understand what your role is going to be as a Pharmacy Technician, contact your local chemist or your local hospital see if they’ve got a work experience program and get on there, or shadow other Pharmacy Technicians or Pharmacy Assistants and see what they do, and then after that, if you’re still interested and that’s what you want to do, make sure you have the qualifications to enter.

I would like to work for the Lego company, either as a designer or somebody that can bring some educational eyes into it, I do try to use Legos when I teach because I do teach at the colleges, so trying to use Legos in a way pretending how the drugs work, and it does make it quite exciting and fun to learn. So yeah, that would be my dream job.

I am a Pharmacy Technician and Support Staff Facilitator. My role is within Education and Training and I oversee the development of Pharmacy Support Staff and Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians. I teach units from the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the local college of further and higher education and assess learners for both Level 2 and Level 3 QCF Pharmacy Service qualifications. I also work in the dispensary, where I label and dispense prescriptions and as an Accredited Checking Pharmacy Technician I can also final check dispensed items. I also, occasionally, work on the wards assisting the pharmacy team to ensure medicine reconciliations are conducted and patients are aware of the medications which they are being prescribed and which medications that they are being discharged on.

Exciting aspects of Pam's job

Teaching: This is a passion of mine, teaching others about pharmacy practice and how to apply their knowledge onto daily work.

Speaking to patients: Being able to ensure they understand their medications.

Developing Others: This is part of my role. Seeing individuals develop into pharmacy professionals is rewarding.

Meeting new people (professional capacity): This role has opened doors and has allowed me to network with a range of different healthcare professionals.

Work Experience: Liaising with and working along side the trusts work experience co-ordinator to provide a pharmacy experience to students within the local area.

Challenges

Not all learners are the same and I have had to deal with difficult or challenging individuals as their learning styles are not the same. However, having been given training within this area has allowed me to identify these individuals and cater teaching and assessment to their needs and requirements.

Grades needed
  • Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF) plus
  • An accredited underpinning knowledge course or a Technical Certificate such as Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
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