Pharmacist Award

A little bit of a shift in direction this week with our blog. One of our locums, Noelle, won the Pharmacy Hero Award at the annual Pharmacy Focus Awards!! We couldn't be more proud! So, instead of us telling you Noelle's story, we've let her deliver this week's blog, in her own words!

"Community pharmacy can be a funny one...working full time can be like a 28-day Groundhog Day as the same patients arrive in for their monthly instalments. I mean, there is very little glitz and glamour, and it's not like A-list celebrities pop in for some Calpol. (I will say at this point that I have sold eyeliner to former Miss NI, Tiffany Brien, exciting stuff!)

But, every now and again something happens that makes you realise why you decided to choose Pharmacy as a career. The Saturday in question was just like any other one- full of Medi-doses. However, with the weekend students fresh from a week in Belfast, Saturdays tend to be light-hearted and quite enjoyable.

The relaxed mood lasted up until about 12.30 when one of the staff came to where I was checking and said ever so calmly, " There's a man out there, in anaphylactic shock...he wants an EpiPen." I honestly thought he was joking as the conversation previous was about how nothing ever exciting or dramatic happens to us.

But as I popped my head round it was clear to see that it was no wind up...a man was leaning over the counter gasping for breath.

So, what do I do? I don't know this man from Adam. Can he talk? Surely for an emergency supply I need to carry out an interview to get all his details, all his doctor’s details and properly dispense the item? Please God let us have an EpiPen!

After this initial rush of panic and inner argument with myself over what to do, I decided to bypass all of the things I'd been taught in university and Pre-Reg, bar one handy piece of advice that we had been given one day in Pharmacy Practice – ‘Treat your patient how you would want your granny treated.’

I simply grabbed the EpiPen, checked it was in date, showed it to the man and explained that if possible he should inject it himself and handed it over. All the while, rehearsing in my head, the training I had received from St John's Ambulance during my Pre-Reg, just in case things took a turn for the worse and I would have to use the EpiPen myself.

Thankfully the man in question managed the procedure himself. As we waited on the ambulance, I tried my best to reassure him that he wold be fine, and kept him calm so as to not exacerbate his condition.

After he was safely taken away, I'm not ashamed to admit I lost my cool, thanking God that the experience was over. Did I do that right? Should I have done something else to help? What will manager say? Luckily enough, the pharmacy I was working in at the time completely supported my decision and reassured me that I had acted correctly.

After all the drama died down and I had talked to the patient, who by the way was now perfectly healthy) I realised that although I was just doing my job, other pharmacists had been faced with the same situation which ended much differently. The mother of Emma Sloan from Dublin was refused an EpiPen when her daughter was suffering from anaphylaxis on a street in the city, unfortunately Emma died as a direct result of this.

Last month I was delighted to be awarded The Pharmacy in Focus- Pharmacy Hero Award at the Crowne Plaza in Belfast, for my actions on that Saturday. This was a fantastic event and it was a delight to attend with my family to receive my award. I'm ever so grateful to them for highlighting how serious the situation was at the time.

Hopefully someone reading this will remember the piece of advice I was given, ‘Always treat your patient how you would want your granny treated."

Thanks to Noelle's quick thinking, she was able to save a life. Pharmacists don't get enough credit at times, and we want to highlight your stories.

If anyone has a pharmacy story that they want to tell, get in touch and we'll have a chat about it.We want everyone to help spread the word of how absolutely fantastic us Pharmacists are!! If you have a pharmacy story,email us at

If you're a locum and want to apply for shifts in your area, register today on the Locate a Locum platform.

Alternatively, if you're after a new permanent position, you find these on our Careers Website Or get in touch with our Recruitment Manager, Thomas, to find out more!

Thanks for reading, have a great day!
Locate a Locum Team