PA Profile: Meet Kelly Hall

In the July issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine, we spoke with the PA from Star Discount Chemist in Restrevor, Adelaide, about her role, the pharmacy she works at, her career highlights, her advice to other pharmacy assistants, and more!

How long have you been working in retail pharmacy? 

I’ve been working in retail pharmacy since 1995.

Talk us through what a day in your life would look like. 

For me, my day begins and ends as a mother and a wife, taking care of my family as they set themselves off and return home from their days. My role as a pharmacy assistant affords me the opportunity to focus on the needs of my family, with hours that suit my lifestyle choices, but [it also] gives me a sense of fulfilment [around] the care that I’m able to bring to our customers.

How did you come to work in the industry? 

I started working in the industry when I was 19. I was searching for a pathway that would support me to achieve my goals. Being a pharmacy assistant has given me enough flexibility and consistency to pursue my objectives, but also expose myself to others who have similar values and aspirations, with learning opportunities and growth.

What have been some of the highlights in your career as a pharmacy assistant? 

In the 25-plus years of my being a pharmacy assistant, I’ve built some amazing relationships with my colleagues and customers, some of which still continue today.

What has been the most challenging part of working as a retail pharmacy assistant? 

Without a doubt, the uncertainty of working during the early days of the Covid pandemic. I also feel that the pharmacy industry as a whole was overlooked for the role it played during this time.

Is working in retail pharmacy something you think you’ll be doing in the long term? 

I think that I’ve already been working in retail pharmacy for what’s been a ‘long term’ (laughs).

How important is ongoing professional development for retail pharmacy assistants? 

I think that ongoing professional development is important in every industry and sector, [and something] we need to keep up with.

How would you describe working as a retail pharmacy assistant to anyone new considering the profession? 

Working as a retail pharmacy assistant is a great opportunity to support the care of your customers, especially working in a community pharmacy. For some, this may be enough, but for others, it may be a pathway to something else in the health profession.

What is your advice to other retail pharmacy assistants in terms of achieving career goals? 

Firstly, you must know what your career goals are, then keep it simple and go get them!

Retail pharmacy has faced some serious challenges over the past few years. What were some of the things that helped you and your team members get through these difficult times? What’s your advice for overcoming challenges? 

My colleagues, friends, family, and chocolate … My advice for overcoming challenges is to keep all these things close at all times, especially chocolate!

Where do you see the industry headed in the next few years? 

I’m not really sure, but I at least hope that wherever the industry ends up, the spirit of community and the value placed on quality customer service aren’t lost.

What would be one thing you’d like to improve about the industry? 

I think we can do more to connect our clients with allied health services – to be part of a more holistic approach to healthcare. Those services could be part of the offering within pharmacies.

This feature was originally published in the July issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine.