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Alli - our "Good Sort" Pharmacist

Alli and Sanders Pharmacy Owner Gemma
Alli and Sanders Pharmacy Owner Gemma

Our Alli is a superstar - here is why...

In November, we nominated Alli for the "Good Sort" award in the New Zealand Primary Healthcare awards. This award is to recognise someone who goes 'above and beyond to make people feel better about themselves and where they work" - and she certainly does that. Unfortuately, she made it to the top level but didn't win this year - but we thought it was high time Alli got some credit for the massive impact she has on the Sanders Team, our patients, and our community, and want to celebrate the beautiful, talented person she is.

Read on for our entry and to learn more about Alli's impact on Sanders Pharmacy and our community:

Allison Gallagher is nominated by for the Good Sort award by her colleagues at Sanders Pharmacy. She is an outstanding Pharmacist, workmate, community supporter and has been highly involved with the Pharmacy Profession for many years with Pharmacy Council, PSNZ, and training Interns and Dispensary Technicians. She leads with respect, passion and kindness, and innovates constantly to help improve our patients experience and health outcomes. She is known for above and beyond community involvement especially in mental health.

Allison Gallagher qualified with a Diploma in Pharmacy in December of 1990, and has never looked back in terms of her support for Pharmacy, her peers and her community. Allison is not only an excellent Pharmacist - knowledgable, dynamic, kind, and forward thinking - but she is also an exceptional human being, and a great encourager to all who come in contact with her. 

I am proud to nominate Allison who been my mentor since I worked for her at her Pharmacy, Roberton Pharmacy in Hamilton, during my Pharmacy school years. She has gone out of her way to provide me with opportunities for learning and has always championed Pharmacy’s cause, as well as many others close to her heart. In 2015 I was lucky enough to be able to turn the tables and employ Allison as a Pharmacist here at Sanders Pharmacy, where she almost immediately was woven into the fabric of our team, bringing her many talents and generous heart.
Within the profession of Pharmacy, Allison has been involved with almost every organisation in her time, including being a PSNZ branch president. She is currently involved with Standard Setting and professional supervision for the Pharmacy Council, with the Evolve Intern training programme, and undertakes PACT assessments.
Outside of pharmacy, Allison is a major champion for Mental Health, actively supporting local initiatives and awareness including the I Am Hope & Gumboot Up campaigns, especially up-skilling herself with Mental Health First Aid courses - many times I have grabbed her for a patient in crisis, or had her on speakerphone beside me as she has carefully coached a distressed family member of a suicidal patient on what to do and how to help. She is also actively involved in the Staywell NZ trust, volunteering her time to support the health of rural communities, especially farmers. Staywell Trust is a charity group of nurses and pharmacists that attend local rural farming and agricultural events where they run general health check ups - BPs, glucose, cholesterol, weight etc but also mental health check ups -  how people are coping with their workloads. As an ex-farmer's wife, she is only too aware of the stresses these communities face. Allison has been involved for many years and would usually attend 4-5 events per year, even bringing along our intern to help.
She is the first person to get our team involved in health promotion or fundraising events, baking and collecting for Pink Ribbon, knitting warm clothes for Waikato NICU departments and the local Loving Arms charity, and wearing gumboots to raise awareness for Gumboot Up, just to name a few. 
Allison has an incredible capacity to be with people in their time of need. In 2016, we lost a much loved staff member to suicide. This was an incredibly heart-breaking time for the Sanders Pharmacy team, and Alli kept us all going; a true leader offering support to the rest of the team while coping with her own profound loss, and looking out for the family practically and emotionally. Alli is an absolute champion of staff culture, and goes out of her way to find us great staff and make sure they feel welcomed. She truly cares for each of our team (20+), and is known for her thoughtful gestures, listening ear and wise words. She is involved in every single staff event and is always up for anything that will bring the team closer together. 
Alli is very well respected by our local GP practice, continually championing safe and effective use of medicines, and is especially appreciated for her commitment to extra services - she embraces every opportunity Pharmacy has for impacting patients. Alli is frequently assisting patients with comprehensive lifestyle & medication counselling for those with Gout and patients who have been newly prescribed anti-depressants. She is passionate about vaccinating pregnant women for flu and pertussis who otherwise would fall through the cracks.
Alli has trained our dispensary technicians for years, always going above and beyond to ensure they get much more than a textbook knowledge of pharmacy. Alli recently began as a Intern Preceptor again, after being contacted by PSNZ in 2016 to help out an intern who was in a very difficult site. Alli is an exemplary preceptor - actively involved in her intern’s progress, coaching, encouraging, stretching and supporting them, not only in the workplace but outside of it as well. Well after they qualify I know they keep in touch with Alli and she is always there for them to offer advice and guidance.
Allison is organised, diplomatic, and consistent. She is constantly thinking of ways to improve the dispensary so we can get more time with patients. She always holds up what is right for the patient, and is the master of all sorts of information resources and health promotion leaflets. She is mature, able to discern what is best for the team and for patients and understand where she fits into that, never looking for status or credit but for the quiet knowledge she has helped someone and made a difference. She is able to really see people’s needs, hopes and fears, and not only work out how to help them, but to empower them to help themselves. She is eminently compassionate, and never rushes with her patients, but is incredibly giving of her time and capacity. She is driven by an insatiable need for forward progress, loves to think about the future of Pharmacy and Primary Care, and how to maximise patient (and human) connection for the good of all.  The one quality which differentiates Alli, and maximises all her talents, is her uncompromising commitment to doing what is right. If it’s the right thing to do, nothing will get in her way. 
Allison is well and truly worthy of the Good Sort award - we are incredibly lucky to have her, as is the wider Te Awamutu community, and she deserves recognition for the years of passion, care and hard work she has brought the profession, her workplaces and her community.


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