Pharmacist Gemma Bryce shares her journey from Saturday assistant to Trainee Pharmacist of the Year Finalist.

Gemma epitomises all that is wonderful about community pharmacy. She describes being a little girl, growing up in a small village where the pharmacy was the hub of her local community. Gemma loved her visits to the pharmacy so much that the experience ultimately inspired her learning and career goals. Gemma Bryce is 22 years old and has swiftly risen through the ranks at Lindsay & Gilmour, from a Saturday Counter Assistant to a much-respected Relief Pharmacist, supporting our network of 32 branches.

In Gemma's own words:

"My training year with Lindsay & Gilmour was definitely a year I will not forget and I loved every minute of it, ensuring I was enthusiastic and tried to be as clinical as possible whilst always having the patient at the forefront, phoning manufacturers and hospitals etc when required to ensure that care was maximised for patients. I also developed a very strong relationship with the local GP practice and the prescribing pharmacists within to again ensure that patients were receiving the highest level of care in the community, triaging queries when needed and I believe I have carried this forward into my career as a pharmacist.

Gemma Bryce

During the training year that Gemma Bryce spent at Lindsay & Gilmour's Forth branch in Lanarkshire, she demonstrated what was described by her manager, Noreen Larsen, as a "genuinely exceptional commitment to learning and achieving the best possible patient outcomes above all else."  

"From her first week at our branch, Gemma hit the ground running and was incredibly hard-working, organised and motivated in all aspects of her training and development.Gemma was an absolute pleasure to have on our team.  She would always be proactive in her learning but wasn't afraid to ask a question if needed.  She knew her boundaries but would come to me with a question, having already researched the answer as best she could."

Noreen Larson

But, above all other areas of excellence, it was Gemma's unwavering devotion to serving the needs of her patients in the small community that made her stand out. 

The impact Gemma has had on her patients during her training year with Lindsay & Gilmour is described by her manager as 'a million small things' rather than one huge thing but some of the stand-out areas are as follows:

  • Gemma would always and without exception spend as much time with her patients as the situation called for.
  • She would never hurry her consultations with anyone, especially if they were confused about their medication or needed extra support.  
  • She would listen to any specific concerns they had and act accordingly in their best interests.  For example, if a patient was having trouble swallowing their medication, Gemma would also seek to find a liquid alternative if available.  
  • If there was ever a problem with in-branch supply of a medication, Gemma would contact the local hospital, neighbouring pharmacies or even the manufacturer to find an alternative source or medication to fit the patient's needs.  
  • Without exception, Gemma would always take time to have meaningful discussions with her patients and give them the time they needed.  As a result, the patients responded extremely well to her involvement and appreciated her care and attention.  It did not go unnoticed!

I also had the pleasure of conducting health checks at the National Museum of Scotland which not only enhanced my clinical skills but also my communication skills, and ability to answer questions on the spot! I feel as though my confidence increased throughout the year and my ability to find information when needed improved with this and I now feel that patients have a lot of trust in myself and that I am able to help them as much as I possibly can. There is so much more I could mention, but I could not have gotten through the year without my fantastic colleagues and I cannot wait to develop further my career as a pharmacist and help as many people out in the community as possible.

Gemma Bryce

If you're studying Pharmacy and love helping people and are passionate about improving the health of your local community, we would love to hear from you to arrange a training placement with Lindsay & Gilmour.