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Uni job sparks career

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times
Bunbury born and bred Catherine Brandis was named WA Pharmacy Assistant Of the Year and will now head to Brisbane for the Guild Pharmacy Assistant Conference to be in the running for the Australian Pharmacy Assistant of the Year.
Camera IconBunbury born and bred Catherine Brandis was named WA Pharmacy Assistant Of the Year and will now head to Brisbane for the Guild Pharmacy Assistant Conference to be in the running for the Australian Pharmacy Assistant of the Year. Credit: Nicole Salmeri

If you had told Catherine Brandis she would turn her casual university job into a full-time career, she would not have believed you.

Like any 20-year-old, Ms Brandis was studying and needed a part-time job to pay the bills and, that is where her passion for pharmacy first became apparent.

“When I started I was actually studying for a Diploma in Tourism and Event Management,” Ms Brandis said.

“I thought I needed to do some part-time work in between my study so I started here at the pharmacy.

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“After about a year my manager told me I would be great at going a bit further with this so she offered me the traineeship, which was two years.

“From that I was promoted to 2IC and then the retail manger.

“My job entails doing all the ordering, implementing new products, merchandising, running the team and of course I am a pharmacy assistant, so I serve our customers and meet their needs as much as possible.”

Ms Brandis grew up in Eaton, attending local schools in the region.

“I’m originally from Eaton, my family home is there and I attended Leschenault Catholic Primary School in Australind and then Bunbury Catholic College — so I’m a Bunbury girl through and through,” she said.

Not only has Ms Brandis slotted nicely into her unplanned profession, she has achieved individual excellence, having been named WA Pharmacy Assistant of the Year.

“Across Australia there was 700 applicants so from each State and Territory they select 20 people and I was one of the 20,” she said

“I had to go to Perth for a workshop, which was a full day of information and getting to know people.

“ You walk into a room full of strangers and the four people judging you, which was pretty intimidating.

“I absolutely loved it — it was a great challenge that I was willing to step up to and wanted to take on as well.

“From here I will now travel to Brisbane for the Guild Pharmacy Assistant Conference to be in the running for the Australian Pharmacy Assistant of the Year, which is exciting.”

Ms Brandis has many duties in her role as pharmacy assistant but her priority lies directly with her customers.

“For me I really enjoy that customer interaction,” she said.

“I like helping and feeling like I’m making a difference to someone. I’m the kind of person that will get really upset about things happening in the world and there are certain things I can’t control.

“If I can assist someone with their health and they’re having a bad time or I can be a a part of helping them in a positive direction, then for me that is very satisfying. The amount of girls we have had come through here, gone travelling or tried new things, they have always come back, so its really nice that pharmacy has that solid background.”

It has now been nine years since Ms Brandis began working in pharmacy and she has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“It’s something that you can leave whenever, but if you want to come back, you can,” she said.

“I mean it does take a little bit to get that knowledge back but its like riding a bike and that’s what I love about pharmacy.

“Once you’re in it and a part of pharmacy, you’ll never lose it.”

Ms Brandis and her husband are building their dream home and she loves nothing more than coming home to her border collie, Bailey.

“One of my hobbies is I love training and spending time with my doggo, he is my little baby,” she said.

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