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During the five days I was there, I observed a lot of teamwork, and in my opinion that’s what is keeping the organisation going so successfully. For example, when new stock is delivered to the pharmacy, one person would open the many boxes, another would put the medication into piles according to name and strength and another would place these piles of medication on the shelves.
It was a joy to watch for the first time, because I genuinely thought it would be impossible because of the great number of large cardboard boxes there were, but it was all finished in about half an hour.
For each delivery that took place after this, I took part in this team, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition, the main purpose of the organisation is to supply medication to patients, and I’ve seen that the pharmacy receives a lot of prescriptions with many items on it.
On the Wednesday, I remember we had to deal with 100 prescriptions. Here teamwork is absolutely essential and I played a major role in collecting medication off the shelves according to what each prescription required. If I was struggling to find a certain medication, I would ask my colleagues and they would help me out, therefore making the process much quicker.
It is important that you don’t make mistakes when collecting medicine, because if you give the wrong medication to a patient, then this could have severe consequences so I made sure I asked even when I was only slightly unsure.
I saw that on some occasions a member of staff would ask another to check whether they have counted out the right number of tablets for the patient. I observed that there was a constant checking process and this was motivating because the staff clearly wanted everything to be perfect for their patients.
Moreover, when the medicine was collected and put into baskets (before they were bagged) the pharmacist (manager) would check with the prescription that we had collected the exact right medication before it being bagged and given to the patient. The result of teamwork here is that everything takes places quickly, efficiently and mistakes are eradicated. The teamwork in Solihull Care Walk-In centre was also incredibly important, and the staff was clearly working together to get as much work done as quickly as possible, to increase the efficiency of the organisation and to decrease the number of patients having to wait.
For example, there were two receptionists; one receptionist would be on the telephone booking appointments (pre-book appointments) for people who are calling in by phone and another receptionist giving forms to patients who are simply walking in. There were two different forms; one of them was for people who have been before and another for people who haven’t. When the forms have been filled, the patient details would be typed onto the computer system and saved, and an appointment booked for them at the same time.
I was lucky enough to do all this on the final day! This way, the receptionists are doing two different jobs, hence are getting more done. Whereas, in the Pharmacy, there seemed to be teamwork all for one purpose which is to supply medication for the patients. In the GP, I observed that there were different jobs taking place, from doctors seeing the patients to shredding by secretaries. I did have to do this unfortunately, which was definitely the least enjoyable part of my experience, but it is all part of the teamwork!
In addition, in the GP, it is compulsory that every member of staff (discluding the doctors but including the manager) to complete one hour every day of attaching patient details onto the computer system. There is a great amount of scanning etc. to be done here and when I had arrived, there were about seven thousand sheets of different patient details on the computer system needed to be attached! For this reason, teamwork is crucial and the member of staff must co-operate to complete the one hour of attaching. However tedious it is, it is very important.
I enjoyed every minute of my time in the pharmacy, and I also learnt a great deal. I just love working with medicines and I enjoy looking at the long names of medication and learning them. I now feel incredibly knowledgeable after my work experience. I know that if someone asks me what medication they need if they have a certain illness, I can tell them (for instance, high cholesterol levels which can lead to coronary heart disease- they should take Simvastatin tablets to lower these levels). Moreover, I liked helping patients and at the end of the day I felt a wonderful satisfaction.
In the future I want to be helping people in this way and also feeling that I have genuinely helped some people with their lives. I experienced many different things from observing how the ICT in the organisation works, to observing how the staffs work as a team to get things done quickly and efficiently. Because of this, there were aspects of the work experience that I found more useful than others. Firstly, I wasn’t allowed to use ICT because the software used by the pharmacy is a patient database and here there is sensitive patient information.
I was only permitted to observe what happens on the computer system. Hence, this part of the experience I found tedious and least useful. On the other hand, I found Wednesday (day three) probably the most useful and at the same time the most enjoyable. I got told on the Tuesday that this would be the busiest day, as it usually is, and it certainly was! There were approximately 100 prescriptions (as I said before). There were a lot of people just walking in too, requiring medication and these people had to be supplied with medication immediately so they don’t wait for long and later complain about poor service etc.
These people also had to be dealt with in order to prevent arguments that someone had been served before them. There was a lot of pressure, especially on me as I had to work to a high pace, minimise mistakes and make sure that I collected exactly the right medication. Greatest pressure on me was when I received a walk-in prescription with many items on it. I made sure that I did not swap it with a prescription with fewer items on it, as I wanted to impress. Having said this, I enjoyed that day the most as I personally like challenging myself and I enjoy being out of my comfort zone.
In addition to this, by the end of the day I felt a great satisfaction that I helped a lot of people by supplying them with the right medication. I do not recall making any mistakes even though I did sometimes ask for help (better safe than sorry! ). I feel during the 5 day work experience that I have matured a lot- as a person I have also improved. I have learnt that communication between your colleagues is extremely important as I have seen how teamwork is an essential part of the organisation.
As a result, I have improved my communication skills with my colleagues. I also did a 5 day work experience at Solihull Healthcare and Walk-In Centre, and there I learnt to communicate well with the patients as well as my colleagues. There I got the chance to be the receptionist and take the details of the patients, and I learnt a great deal, for example the main type of illnesses the British public have and the reasons why people come to the GP, from mild coughs and cold to severe sexually transmitted diseases.
At the GP, I was lucky enough to use the computer system (called SystemOne) on a daily basis. I attached patients’ details and records, and on my last day I booked a couple of appointments. I enjoyed this a lot. ICT is clearly extremely important in both the GP and Pharmacy, and I cannot say in which organisation ICT is more important, but I can definitely say that without ICT running both organisations would be very difficult indeed.
In the pharmacy, ICT is used to order new stock of medication when certain medicines run out; I discovered that the inhalers ran out quickly as so did the Simvastatin tablets, showing that many people suffer from asthma and high cholesterol levels. There were a lot of diabetics too, in particular older people suffered from diabetes. In contrast, the GP used ICT mainly to book appointments, register new arrivals who now pay tax to the Solihull Council and to attach patients’ details, which are on paper (written by the doctors), to the computer system.