The pharmacy itself is the original of the species, and Ms Fiona Roche, of course, is one of a kind.
With the operative word here being kind…
Always ready with a smile, some sound and soothing advice and, best of all, a wonder drug or two to help you make it through, sure, it’s clear that the father taught her well.
It was back in 1974 that the late, great Charlie Roche opened up the family pharmacy up in Blacklion, and he’d no doubt be excited agus delighted to see his favourite child at the helm today.
That Fiona has been helping an awful lot Greystonians keep on the sunny – and healthy – side during this Covid-19 lockdown is something he would no doubt be particularly proud of too.
So, what’s it like, running such a crucial service at such an uncertain time? Over to Fiona’s diary of a typical day…
6am Wake, let the dog out, make a cuppa, and arrange my list for the day.
Like any small business owner, my head is full of ideas and plans, and I need to list my priorities for the day in order to keep myself on track! I expect my father did the same when he opened the first pharmacy here in 1974 – different times and different challenges, but the same framework still applies!
6.30am Have breakfast, take supplements and check news and mails.
7am Wake up son, give him his smoothie and then get online for half-hour workout. Check son all set for day of school, zoom classes and assignments.
8am Open the pharmacy. In order to contain any outbreak in our staff, we have split into two separate teams – this way if one team needs to isolate, we still have the other team to keep the pharmacy open. This morning’s pharmacist, Justine, has dropped newspapers to two cocooning patients on the way to work, whilst I’m in my home office for the morning, due in the pharmacy from 1.30pm. As we approach the end of the month, there are plenty of administrative tasks to carry out – one in particular is looking over all the new suppliers we have used in the past 6 weeks as we stock a wider range or greater quantity of products than we would normally have needed to stock.
A lot of time was spent recently sourcing and chasing PPE, hand sanitisers, soaps (simple pump soaps were like gold dust too!) and, more recently, hair colors and hair trimmers! One of the items on my list for this morning is to review our advice on how to stay healthy in both body and mind, research the latest advice and trends on prevention, masks, mental health and collate it into an article for sharing via our social media.
9.45am Trying to get through to the pharmacy to check in with the other team. Phone line is constantly busy. Call pharmacy mobile instead. Note to self: Publicise the alternative mobile number suitable for Whatsapp messages, texts and calls: 0858102707. Back to document…
11am I just got a notification that our fabric, reusable masks are being shipped. Going online to find ‘styrofoam heads’ so I can display them.
11.45am IR Thermometers now available – fill in account application form for new supplier
12 noon Head out with deliveries to some of our cocooning patients, have a brief (socially distant) chat to check they are ok. Quick run into shop to get few groceries and home to get lunch for hungry son. Check on his work progress for the morning and help in any areas required.
1.15pm Arrive at pharmacy and get hand-over from morning team (who have wiped down all surfaces, phones etc, so no potential for viral transfer). Social distancing and masks on rapid handover. Discuss new guidelines and reiterate our procedures. Then, down to work…
Our normal day has changed so much in that we don’t see a lot of our older or younger patients. Many people come in and have a list for themselves and one or two other people. Others take a photo of a skin rash, for example, in a family member and we advise using that pic and info provided by the messenger. In some cases, we will need to do a phone consultation with the patient to get the big picture. We take phone calls for medication orders and front of shop orders for cocooning patients and schedule deliveries to them or have them ready for family members – it’s so nice to meet family members of some of our older patients to put faces on the names we hear. Many people phone in orders, pay over the phone and we bring it to their car when they pull up outside- we are lucky have our own area for parking right outside the door. Check healthmail regularly as many of our prescriptions are now sent by email. Usual day-to-day activities, dispensing prescriptions, advising patients, chatting with staff re: new products, merchandising, shop layout, rosters. My staff are keeping the shop clean, disinfected and freshly merchandised as people need their day-to-day products, and it is handy to pick up gifts and cards when they are here for their essentials. Dispensary staff are keeping up to date with HSE paperwork and PCRS claims. One of many phone calls today was a discussion with Home Help Provider Company re; best practice procedures for their staff.
6pm The pharmacy closes, and I place orders with suppliers for next day delivery, tidy up, make notes for tomorrow, and leave around 7pm.
Home Catch up with son while cooking dinner. After we eat, son goes to do an hour of study and I go down to the treadmill with my iPad to have a walk whilst watching Unorthodox on Netflix (love it!).
9pm Back up to watch the news headlines and then laze on the sofa with my son, watching ‘The Martian’ (didn’t think I’d like it but, I did. Before I started to doze off…
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