How does a newly-qualified pharmacist – whose training is focused on clinical skills – step up to manage a team and run a business? It's a question that led Lloydspharmacy to set up its Step Into Management programme two years ago.
It is one of several programmes Ms Follows – herself a Lloydspharmacy manager for two years before taking on her current role – is involved with.
“We’re committed to developing a learning culture,” Ms Follows says. “We’re ensuring that our teams have access to bite-size learning. Our new learning management system is now accessible from home and on a tablet.”
As is the aim for all staff at Lloydspharmacy, the pharmacists on the Step Into Management course will become Dementia Friends.
Ms Follows helped to advance the company’s dementia services by working with the product team to bring in a new range of products, which were rolled out across 50 stores from May.
As dementia “affects so many people now”, improving services around patients with the disease is a “growing project”.
But recently healthy living pharmacy (HLP) accreditation has been the “biggest focus for my team”, Ms Follows says. She wants “all of our stores” to get accreditation
With such a strategic outlook, how does Ms Follows ensure she doesn't lose touch with what is happening on the pharmacy floor? “I work in this role full-time, but still do as many locums as I can,” she reveals. “I normally do one shift every two weeks.”
“It's a challenge, but it's a good one.”