Before I joined RSSL, I knew I wanted to do a Masters in Pharmaceutical Microbiology. I even raised the issue during my interview and was told that it would certainly be looked at when the time was right. True to their word, a few years down the line I was given the funding to enrol. Knowing I also had the flexibility to take time away from work to study was a fantastic motivator.
Four years on - as I work towards my final dissertation - there’s no doubt that the faith RSSL placed in me has been worthwhile. It has been hugely rewarding to be able to put the theory into practice for the benefit of my colleagues, as well as our customers.
For example, I was able to take a hands-on role in the development and launch of our purpose-designed sterility testing suite. This in-demand service has since grown to house a dedicated team of talented RSSL scientists who I now manage.
The qualification has also opened up more opportunities by enabling me to go out and consult with pharmaceutical clients; using what I’ve learnt to troubleshoot performance and help them manage microbiological issues. And led to greater involvement with the training arm at RSSL which I thoroughly enjoy. After all, there’s no point me sitting on my new-found knowledge.
All of these developments mean that I continue to grow, develop and enjoy new challenges on a daily basis.
But I never forget that I am trusted to verify the microbiological safety of pharmaceutical products. And that there are patients at the other end who need the medication. I know this is a responsibility that everyone in the team takes extremely seriously.
This was never more true than during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, we worked closely with one of our pharmaceutical clients to ensure unprecedented volumes of their medicine - urgently needed to treat COVID-19 patients - reached the front line within the shortest timeframe possible.
This meant working extremely long hours in our new facility that had only just received MRHA approval. But because we knew the scale of the crisis, we hit the ground running and got the job done together. It was never about hitting commercial targets or pressure from senior management, that’s not what RSSL’s about. The patients are at the heart of what we do. And it’s why I feel at home here.