An interview with Liz Fidler - Senior Professional Advisor Pharmacy Technician Practice

An interview with Liz Fidler - Senior Professional Advisor Pharmacy Technician Practice

Please could you start by telling us a bit about your career and journey so far?

My career has never had a plan! I began in community pharmacy in the nineties, university was not an option for me for many reasons and my original thoughts of being a nurse had to change. With hindsight, I do not think I would have made a particularly good nurse so perhaps, it all worked out for the best. Thanks to an encouraging pharmacist, Vanessa Roach I completed education requirements to get a job as a pharmacy technician, way before mandatory registration. Even then I could see the need for our skills and knowledge to be used more. After a few years I moved to hospital pharmacy, another break, many refused my application as my qualifications were not recognised in hospital and even with 10 years’ experience wanted me to retrain! Tess Fenn gave me my first hospital interview, worked around a range of sectors, and found a passion for education. Spurred on by ensuring that education is accessible, allowing people to be the best they can be, not by reducing standards but ensuring no barriers. I was privileged to work in regional pharmacy education and training for many years working with fantastic colleagues, leading national pieces of work. My boss was Gail Fleming and I reflect on the impact that the women mentioned so far have had on my career, giving me chances when I have not fitted the mould. Through the years I progressed to Associate Head of Pharmacy for London and SouthEast and even had a period as Interim Pharmacy Dean. Leading on all aspects of pharmacy workforce, planning and commissioning. At this time, a role with the GPhC as an education associate enabled me to broaden knowledge into undergraduate and pre-registration education and lead the development of National Occupational Standards which underpin the 2017 Initial Education and Training standards for Pharmacy Technicians. I left pharmacy for a brief period to work as Associate Dean for Quality in HEE. This was an amazing experience to work on education quality multiprofessionally, we have much to learn across the professions. At this time, the opportunity to undertake an executive MBA and career path outside of pharmacy was my trajectory, then the pull of being a pharmacy technician and how important professional identity is to me, encouraged me to stand for President of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK. The experience and professional relationships gained from working in this role during the pandemic would fill my word count! Applying for my current role as Senior Professional Advisor for Pharmacy Technician Practice in NHS England is something I am immensely proud of. Providing professional leadership and advising government and policy teams on the contributions that pharmacy technicians can be empowered to deliver is a passion I thrive on. It is a privileged position and I get the opportunity to work across many organisations, sectors, and teams to raise the professions profile on what we can do for patients.


What are you most proud of?

Being me and feeling comfortable with who I am and what I can contribute, its taken a long time and although still some wobbles, I will always champion my profession and raise where equality and parity is required.


What has been one of your biggest professional challenges and how did you overcome it?

Not letting imposter syndrome get the better of me. Work is tough, many competing priorities and often as a solo voice it can be overwhelming and draining. BUT I work with some amazing colleagues, and I am always learning new ways to do things….


What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Pieces of paper do not justify your existence. I have often felt not good enough as I did not go to university straight from school. It has been tough balancing education later in life with all the commitments and joys it brings and often experience is overlooked… do not shy away from being your biggest champion.


What is something you would like others to know? For example, a piece of advice you would like to give women that are at the start of their pharmacy career.

There is no better time for a career in pharmacy, barriers are coming down and opportunities to develop professional skills and attributes are everywhere. Do not be afraid to try new things and new routes as who knows where it will take you. Sometimes it is a dead end but the experience you gain will find away of presenting itself in another way. Take every day as an opportunity to be effective and be YOU!


Liz Fidler FAPharmT, MBA (executive) , PGCertEd

Senior Professional Advisor Pharmacy Technician Practice