Pf Awards winner Nick Meeks on how winning the Award has catapulted his career and how COVID-19 changed his course, causing him to reflect and find a renewed sense of purpose.
Congratulations on your Pf ‘Primary Care Specialist’ Award win. How did you feel when your name was announced?
Shocked…and obviously ecstatic! I felt I performed well on the assessment day itself, but you never quite expect that it will be your own name read out as a winner.
What does it mean to you to be a Pf Awards winner?
It means a heck of a lot. I had been lucky enough to place as a runner-up in previous years. I took the time to learn from the feedback given to me and worked hard to improve ahead of the 2020 awards. It gave me a real sense of validation and satisfaction to know that hard work can and does pay-off if you stick at it; to have that recognised by such a prestigious organisation and by a group of highly experienced judges is thrilling.
Professionally, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
A cliché it may be, but my main driver is to constantly learn and improve on a daily basis. I get great enjoyment from learning new skills and ultimately adding value to the work I do, knowing that I’m further ahead both professionally and personally than I was 24 hours earlier and in-turn, aiding the progression of the company I work for.
We’ve all had to change the way we work, and the Pf Awards themselves were no exception. How did you watch the Awards ceremony and how did you celebrate your win?
I watched the awards with my partner and her parents (and dog!); we connected the laptop to the TV and had a drink in hand throughout the event. I was really impressed with how sleek the production and ceremony itself was, given it was put together in about 24 hours – I could see the effort the Pf team had gone through to make it feel as real and special as possible. To celebrate, we marched down to the nearest pub for a drink or ‘two’! The excitement continued the following day, as I was taken for lunch by both my Regional and National Manager.
How has the way you work changed due to COVID-19 and what have the implications been for your career?
Interestingly, with limited access to healthcare professionals amongst the uncertainty of COVID-19, I felt my pharmaceutical career progression would need to be put on hold. I was presented with the unique opportunity through Star Medical to work on a household COVID-19 swab study. Naturally, a role that did not exist before March, it gave me the chance to feel like I was contributing to the national effort to navigate through the pandemic, whilst learning new skills in the process. Meeting the general public at their homes, often being their only form of personal contact in the depths of national lockdown, was humbling and rewarding.
“If recent months have taught me anything, it is to be an open book to what might be around the corner and make the very most of what I currently have”
What has being a Pf Awards winner done for your career?
Naturally, I rode the wave of excitement and began to wonder where the win may take me…unfortunately, this ended abruptly only 11 days later with the enforced national lockdown. Like a lot of the country, such uncertainty caused me to take a step back and think about what is important to me, both personally and professionally; where I want to get to, and how I am going to get there. Perhaps a little strangely, this time helped keep my feet on the ground and I feel ultimately gave me the confidence to make a couple of very difficult career decisions. In recent weeks I have had the exciting opportunity to move into a role as a Regional Manager with Star Medical. This role sees me return to work on the fast-paced COVID-19 testing project, as I oversee a team of field-based employees ensuring compliance with the programme and engagement with the participants.
What are your career ambitions now?
The simple answer to this six months ago would have been to progress towards a managerial role. Given that this is now the position I hold, my current ambition is to continue learning and progressing as I settle into this exciting opportunity. Of course, my goal is to be successful, but if recent months have taught me anything, it is to be an open book to what might be around the corner and make the very most of what I currently have. I feel fortunate to be working for Star Medical; the company takes great interest in developing its people and often looks to create a diverse range of opportunities which will benefit me and my career. I will always look at the winning of my Pf Award as a huge milestone in my career and something that gives me the reassurance that hard work does pay off in the end.
What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the next Pf Awards?
Do it! At worst, you have a challenging, enjoyable day to network with high-calibre industry professionals. At best, you walk away a winner!
Go to www.starmedical.co.uk