6 December 2022

A pharmacy technician at Royal Papworth Hospital has been recognised in a new gallery now open at the Science Museum, showcasing the role of technicians from a wide variety of workplaces.

The new space, Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery, opened in early November and is a free interactive gallery aiming to bring to life the often hidden yet vital role of the technician across a wide variety of different workplaces, from a blockbuster film set to pharmaceutical labs.

Pharmacy technician at Royal Papworth Hospital, Francesca l’Anson, is one of the people featured in the gallery.

Pharmacy technicians are registered healthcare professionals and can be found in several different sectors, including hospitals, prisons, the military and education. The role is varied depending on the sector being worked in.

At Royal Papworth Hospital, the duties of a pharmacy technician include: working with nurses to process medication requests for individual patients; accurately listing medicines for newly admitted patients; endorsing discharge prescriptions with medicines the patient currently has; counselling patients on their newly prescribed medicines, including anticoagulation treatment for example blood thinners; labelling and dispensing medications; and accurately checking dispensed prescriptions.

The Science Museum has collaborated with industry leaders, such as the NHS, to replicate these innovative exhibits so that the experience is true to the tasks the technicians carry out every day. Members of the public will have the opportunity to carry out the role of an NHS pharmacy technician and attempt to make lifesaving medicine.

Francesca l'Anson with her exhibit

Francesca with the artwork she features in

Describing her delight at being recognised within the gallery, Francesca said: “I am so proud to be part of a project which will impact the lives of the younger generation when it comes to deciding on their future career paths.

“It has been an absolute honour to become part of something so innovative and it is both exciting and terrifying knowing my face is going to be seen by millions of people over the next 5-10 years!

“The gallery is an amazing opportunity to showcase the different technician jobs available, and for particular focus to highlight the work of pharmacy technicians, which I hope will encourage more people to join the profession.

“I am looking forward to continuing to support the success of the gallery throughout its lifespan, and to establish connections with technicians across the NHS and other sectors.”

Alongside the work at Royal Papworth Hospital, pharmacy technicians can also work in areas such as Homecare and procurement. Homecare pharmacy technicians specialise in supplying medication to patients with less common diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF) or transplants. This service allows patients to receive treatment delivered directly to their home. Procurement pharmacy technicians on the other hand, focus on the buying and selling of medicines as well as investigating any medicines which are in short supply.

The Science Museum gallery aims to highlight the roles of technicians in daily life but to also showcase an insight into the profession.

Pharmacy Technicians require an NVQ Level 3 Pharmacy Technician (Integrated) Apprenticeship or equivalent. To enrol for the apprenticeship, candidates should have a strong interest in science and a foundation level in English and Maths. The apprenticeship is a 2 year on the job diploma, mixed with studying and workplace learning. Once qualified, an application is submitted to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to join the register as a Pharmacy Technician. Once on the register, individuals are therefore able to practice as a Pharmacy Technician.

Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery at the Science Museum, is open daily from 10:00 – 18:00.