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In Conversation With...our award-winning pharmacy technician Maisie Hart

Here is the next instalment of our series: In Conversation With…Maisie Hart, pharmacy technician.

Age: 23

Lives: Has just bought her first home in Basildon with boyfriend Conor Clifton, 25, a student pharmacy technician at our Trust.

And: Maisie has won the Pharmacy Professional of the Month award from the Clinical Pharmacy Congress, for her quick thinking when she spotted a patient was on double the dose of lithium than she should have been.

What’s your role at our Trust and how long have you been with us?

I’m a pharmacy technician so I dispense medicines, check medicines which patients bring in and give advice on how to take them. I spend half my time in the dispensary and half my time on the wards and work really closely with our pharmacists.

I’ve been at our Trust for five years. I started as a pharmacy assistant. After six months the student technician course came up. It was a two-year course with one day a week at college. When I completed it a job here came up and I’ve been doing that for two years now.

I’m also working towards my accuracy checking technician qualification. I need to check 1,000 items correctly to qualify. I’m about a quarter of the way through.

How did you end up working at our Trust?

I worked at McDonald’s for a few years after leaving school, and then had a short stint at Iceland. I knew that university wasn’t for me and when I was at McDonald’s I didn’t think I could get any better than that. Although I did well in my GCSEs, I didn’t make the most of the opportunities as I could have.

I thought I’d left it too late but my nan, Elaine Vickers, who was a healthcare assistant here for 14 years before retiring last year, said I should apply for a job here. I didn’t think I could do anything in a hospital until I looked into all the opportunities there are.

I saw the pharmacy assistant role and thought it sounded interesting – I’d always thought chemistry was cool. So I applied.

Although going from McDonald’s to a pharmacy is quite a change, there are similarities. In both I’m assembling an order, whether that’s food or medicine. McDonald’s was really busy too, so I think that’s helped me manage the pressure here.

And after dealing with abuse from customers it’s easy to deal with patients who might be unhappy– I can understand and sympathise with them as they can be much more anxious in hospital.

I fell into my job here and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

And you’ve also encouraged a few family members to come to our Trust too…?

My boyfriend Conor was a manager in Iceland but he was doing unsociable shifts and I never saw him, so I encouraged him to apply here and now he’s training to be a pharmacy technician too.

Although we work in the same department we’re very busy so we don’t see each other much at work. I do like that we get to come in together, and we understand each other when we talk about work.

My sister Molly, who was working at Pizza Hut, now works in pharmacy production.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’ve been involved in a couple of improvement workshops with our PRIDE Way team which I found really interesting. I like that we’re always looking to improve and better ourselves in our Trust.

I felt really lucky to be part of these and we made changes which have made a big difference. To help us ensure we’re getting medicines together as quickly as possible for patients waiting to be discharged, we now have one team dealing with those requests, and one dealing with ward requests for medicines.

We mostly now get medicines ready within the hour for discharge patients, cutting it down from two and a half before. I’m really proud of that.

I also love that there are lots of opportunities here and I feel really lucky to have a job like this – I didn’t realise there would be so much more I could do when I first started.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I’d like to be more ward based, talking to patients about their medicines and maybe liaising with GPs.

I really love spending time with patients. I work a lot on our elderly care wards and when you spend time with a patient, that interaction can make their day. They often tell me they’ve not had any visitors that day.

Tell us more about your recent award

I was named Pharmacy Professional of the Month by the Clinical Pharmacy Congress. My manager Mike Dixie nominated me because I’d spotted that a patient was actually on a higher dose of lithium than she should have been.

It was a patient in her 80s and when she came in she was quite delirious. I noticed that she was taking double the dose and was very dehydrated, so doctors were able to start treating her straight away. It could have been fatal so it was lucky that she came in when she did.

It was lovely to get the award as I wasn’t expecting it. It also came with a bottle of champagne!

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love to cook and try new recipes for things I wouldn’t usually make like curry. I also love reading, and online shopping! Now we’ve got our first home I really love getting bits for the house so I’m always getting stuff from Next’s home range.

And our favourite question of In Conversation With… do you have any pets?

We don’t but my sister Molly is living with us at the moment and she has a Chihuahua, Coco, who is the cutest dog. She gave her a second birthday party at our flat with balloons and a cake!

We’ll probably get a dog when we move from our flat and get a house.