Written by Tan Pei Yee, AA Pharmacist.

Nothing can be more gratifying than being able to heed one’s calling in life and Mr. Brian is a fine testimony of that. As he entered the third year of studying for his pharmacy degree, he managed to land a job as a part-time assistant pharmacist in a retail pharmacy outlet. It was a move that sparked his interest for working in retail. Upon completion of a compulsory service in a government hospital, he then registered as a pharmacist before joining a chain community pharmacy as a retail pharmacist.

In 2017, Mr Brian decided to undertake a joint venture with AA Pharmacy – an establishment with a mission and core values that are in line with his own philosophies in life, which include providing affordable and easily accessible healthcare products to the public. Here, this passionate and upbeat pharmacist shares his experiences in retail.

Currently, AA Pharmacy has more than 20 outlets situated mostly in the Klang Valley. It is looking into spreading its excellent services to other states. Every AA outlet has at least one pharmacist on duty during operation hours, ready to provide professional healthcare advices and services to customers. The fast-growing pharmacy chain also provides regular training for its staff to ensure that their product knowledge, technical skills and working capabilities are constantly updated.

In terms of value for its customers, the AA Pharmacy chain strives to offer the widest range of quality products to fulfill the healthcare needs of everyone. Everything from medicines and supplements to rehabilitation products, organic food products and cosmetic, etc, are kept affordable despite stiff competition in the industry. Furthermore, thanks to modern media technology, customers can always keep track of the ongoing promotions or special deals on the pharmacy’s website or mobile app.

“At AA, our priority is to provide the best service to our customers and continuous effort goes into this,” Mr. Brian asserted.

“I value good relationships with my customers and I believe that it is the essence of quality pharmaceutical care. When customers seek my advice about healthcare, share their decisions with me and appreciate my service and recommendations, it gratifies me. I’m also motivated to keep finding new ways to improve my customer service and job performance. It’s interesting how some of my customers have even become my friends now,” he stated with pride.

In regards to occupational drawbacks Mr. Brian lists long working hours as well as working on weekends and public holidays as the main downsides. These are mainly because time for family and friends is limited. “It’s something we need to accept, for it’s a commitment of being a healthcare frontliner. As a result though, we learn how to allocate our time to achieve an ideal balance between work and home”.

The job of a retail pharmacist isn’t just about dispensing medication. It also requires a profound understanding of all the technical work that goes on within. There’s product knowledge; inventory management, staff training and allocation as well as customer service. “My learning capability is challenged every day. As stressful as it sounds, I always tell myself to learn from everything and everyone around me and stay positive even during tough times,” Mr. Brian quipped.

“To maintain sustainability and durability as a pharmacist, I’ve learned to be patient, slow down and stay focus in order to thrive in this competitive industry. We’d also be nothing without teamwork within the organization. There is no place for ego in the workplace for anyone at all may have valuable skills, knowledge and experiences that we can learn from. I believe that every action taken by my staff or me, in the front line or behind the scene, will have an impact on the business and our customers.”

“I hope to see the new generation of pharmacists become more proactive and passionate. Taking up a part-time job as a pharmacy assistant, even for just a few hours a week, is a great way to see if this particular field really is for you before committing to it. The more you explore on your areas of interest, the more you will begin to discover your passion.”

“AA pharmacy is now a rapidly expanding company and I anticipate upcoming challenges in my duties. Even so, I look forward to learning more and gaining new experiences as I strive to give my best. I hope to be a part of decisions that may help this company to grow and become the most affordable and professional healthcare service provider in Malaysia,” Mr. Brian concluded.