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Determination & Motivation Keeps Adele Ahead of the Game

This week’s “My Kind of Job” is Adele Graham, proprietor of O‘Neill’s Pharmacy in Coalisland.

What was your first job?

I qualified from John Moores University in Liverpool and got my first job in Ormskirk, Merseyside for O’Brien’s Pharmacy. It was a chain of around 20 outlets. During my teenage years I worked in the family pharmacy on holidays.

How much were you paid?

I had just completed my pre-registration year, so anything was good after four years of being a student.

What qualifications do you have?

I completed a BSc Hons in Pharmacy which took three years of intensive studying at university followed by one year of pre-registration training working under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist. Since then I have undertaken a wide range of clinical training which has included first aid and de-fibrillation.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Nothing beats a patient coming in and thanking myself and the staff for helping them. We get a real buzz from helping the local community where we are based. Being nominated for community pharmacy awards has always been a highlight.

Who do you look up to in business?

My parents. My father was a pharmacist and established the family business in the 1970’s . He moved to new premises in 1981, and I am still there. Pharmacy has changed a lot over the decades, but he established good relations in the town and built up a very loyal base. My mother also had various retail units such as a sports shop, a wool and craft shop and flower shop. All while raising a family and running the home. They are both a huge inspiration, and taught me to work hard and always be yourself.

How would you describe yourself to someone who hasn’t met you?

Hardworking, honest and highly motivated. I can be quite persistent at times which is needed more than ever in this sector. Determination is a trait required to stay in business at the moment.

How do you get the best of people who work for you?

Being fair and honest with staff. Bring positivity to all situations and being encouraging and supportive has a contagious affect.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland what would it be?

We need to make sure that the likes of community pharmacy is funded properly as it not only plays a role in healthcare, but also as a community hub in the many towns and villages across Northern Ireland. If some of them suffer the consequences of the current funding crisis then these focal points will disappear and have a significant impact to the social and economic fabric of our urban and rural areas.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The number one most rewarding aspect is helping patients, especially those elderly, infirm or with terminal illnesses. When we see patients, we might be the only friendly contact they have had all week. Giving advice that noticeably changes a patient to improve their own health and their condition is key reason why we do this job.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

The environment and mother nature. I love the outdoors, from camping with my husband and kids to forest parks to the seaside. I love the sea and a good walk on the beach.

What’s your favourite book?

Anything by Dan Brown.

Have you any unfulfilled ambitions?

To travel the world more. I would love to go to Costa Rica.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in their career?

Be patient, honest and listen. Community pharmacy is a great career and you get to meet a huge variety of people. Two days are never the same. It is a challenging profession, but vital to the health and well being of so many people.

If you could swap jobs with someone else for the day who would it be and why?

It would be David Attenborough for sure. Not necessarily a swap, but to shadow him for a day. You could be anywhere in the world – the Arctic circle, African safari or a jungle in Borneo. He is so passionate about the planet and so knowledgeable on so many topics. Plus, I could just listen to his voice all day.