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Career spotlight: Treatment Centre Pharmacy Manager, Cathy Cooke

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Cathy Cooke BPharm DipComPharm IPresc HonFFFLM MRPharmS MAPCPharm


What is your role now?
Pharmacy Manager at Care UK’s Emerson’s Green and Devizes Treatment Centres, small hospitals providing elective surgical procedures for the NHS. I also occasionally carry out consultancy work specialising in custodial healthcare.

What roles did you do to get to where you are now?

  • The University of Bath.
  • Pre-reg pharmacist – Boots the Chemist.
  • A range of roles: pharmacist, pharmacy manager, relief manager, branch manager – Boots the Chemist.
  • GP pharmacist – Bristol South and West PCT.
  • Project facilitator for the National Prescribing Centre Medicines Management Collaborative – Bristol South and West PCT.
  • Head of Pharmacy, HMP Bristol – Bristol PCT.
  • Head of Medicines Management and Head of Pharmacy, HMP Bristol – Bristol Community Health.
  • Head of Medicines Management – Allied Healthcare.

What do you enjoy about your job?
That I’m working in an area of practice that is new to me, it’s my first role in secondary care and it’s great to be again interacting with patients. I enjoy the multi-disciplinary team working, something I’ve been used to for the last 16 years, as the skills of the different professions complement each other. I’m also enjoying leading the pharmacy team in improving the service we deliver.

How much do you earn?
Far less than I’m worth, obviously!

What do you not enjoy about your job?
I wasn’t too sure about being back in a dispensing environment again as I’ve been out of it for a few years, however, the role has variety and the team has a competent ACT which helps give the pharmacists more clinical time. 

Are you a member of any pharmacy organisations?
I’m a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and I’m considering other organisations that could be useful to me.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your career?
Lots of people have had an impact, those whose enthusiasm and energy have given me ideas and motivated me to pursue them and also people who expressed negativity about what I could achieve. Being turned down for a position for not having the right experience (often for not already being in a similar role) made me try even harder. I believe that I have demonstrated that core transferable skills and adaptability are more important than already having the additional knowledge, as this can be more easily attained.

What would you like to do next?
I’ve only been in my current position for twelve months, there’s lots to do and learn, so I’m not thinking of moving yet! I’ve always kept an eye on what’s happening in the job market to spot those interesting positions so who knows what may appear in the future.

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