Working at WithYou: Emma and Jade’s pharmacy technician journeys

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a pharmacy technician at WithYou? We hear from Emma and Jade who help WithYou clients throughout their treatment journeys at the charity’s drug and alcohol services.

Emma (left) and Jade (right)

What does a typical day look like?

Emma: ‘There is no typical day for me. One day I can be training people on naloxone use, promoting world health awareness days, attending incident review meetings, liaising with pharmacies or preparing for audits – the list is endless and exciting.’

Jade: ‘It’s exciting and interesting. Every day is different! My role varies from assessing medication in residential rehab, conducting medicine management audits across the service, communicating between local pharmacies, offering medicine training to recovery workers or pharmacies and so much more. I see myself as a vital ‘middle person’, connecting the pharmacies and the WithYou service to achieve the best treatment for our clients.’

What’s the best thing about being a pharmacy technician?

Emma: ‘There’s no better feeling than knowing you are helping clients by offering harm reduction advice and getting the knowledge out there that overdoses can be prevented. Building relationships with people, like local pharmacies, and bridging the gap to help make the whole process smoother for everyone.’

Jade: ‘I love being able to support clients in their recovery and offer my pharmaceutical knowledge. The priority is always the client, and I am passionate about assisting in the treatment journey.’

What personal qualities do you think make an excellent pharmacy technician?

Emma: ‘Being compassionate, empathetic, organised, methodical, having a fine eye for detail, being a people person and having a desire to help people, a problem solver.’

Jade: ‘An excellent pharmacy technician requires dedication and passion, both to the job and the clients. Having efficient organisation skills, communication and empathy are also really important.’

What role do you feel pharmacy technicians play in helping people to live healthier, happier lives?

Emma: ‘We’re like approachable signposters. People feel they can ask for advice without feeling embarrassed or that they’re wasting your time. Often, people will ask me things that they don’t want to trouble a doctor with.’

Jade: ‘The client receiving the best possible care and treatment is always the main goal. It’s not just about prescriptions; it’s about personalised care, clinical advice, and solid support.’

What made WithYou stand out?

Emma: ‘I read an article about the peer on peer distribution of naloxone and I just thought wow! Such a simple thing of supplying people with a little piece of kit to help prevent deaths blew me away! And it made me want to be part of this amazing work. The more I looked into WithYou, the more I wanted to be part of it. I also loved the non-judgmental ethos and the person-centred approach.’

Jade: ‘From only having community pharmacy experience, I had no idea that a role like this could exist in a service like WithYou. I was immediately drawn to the idea of being a Pharmacy Technician in a passionate, dedicated and unique setting.’

What advice would you give someone who is considering starting their journey at WithYou as a pharmacy technician?

Emma: ‘Before I started with WithYou, I was on the brink of giving up my registration and considering a job at a local farm shop. With eight years in dispensing doctors, 11 in hospital pharmacy, and a stint in retail, the pressures on pharmacies and the NHS had worn me down. I felt defeated, unable to give patients the attention and care they deserved.

Working for WithYou has brought back my passion and my zest for learning. I can feel that I’m making a difference. I have the freedom to work in areas that I feel passionate about, like harm reduction and providing needle syringe provision. I remember early on I was told “The role can be whatever you want it to be” and that is so true. I’ve never had a job as a pharmacy technician where I’ve felt so supported and valued, and recognised for the work I do.’

Jade: ‘Absolutely go for it! Although the workday here is very different to a typical day in a community pharmacy, it’s hands down the best job I’ve ever had. Your skills and experiences will be widely developed, and it’s exciting getting stuck into something new each day.’

This blog was originally published by WithYou. You can read the original post here.

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