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My job explained: Customer contact centre adviser

My job explained: Customer contact centre adviserCathy McGarvie is a contact centre adviser for AstraZeneca. She responds to queries from patients and healthcare professionals about the drugs that AZ produce. Find out more about her job below.

Can you describe a typical working day?

Arrive for 8.20 and be ready to answer calls from health care professionals and patients across the whole AstraZeneca portfolio of approximately 100 drugs. During the day I will also answer emails and letters as well as attend any inter-departmental meetings. Usually leave at around 5.30pm.

What made you choose this job?

I am a registered osteopath but previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry both as a representative and training manager. I was keen to move into a more medically focused role that used my medical knowledge and my pharmaceutical background.

Was there anything or anyone in particular that inspired you?

I studied at Imperial College and their research/development and scientific expertise inspired me to move into the pharmaceutical industry.

What qualifications do you have?

I did A-levels in biology, chemistry, maths and English, then went on to do a degree in osteopathic medicine.

What training and experience have you undertaken to get where you are today?

In addition to my degree and professional training, I have had ongoing training on the job within the pharmaceutical industry and constant educational attendance and continuing professional development for osteopathy.

What's the best thing about your job?

I enjoy working as part of a team and knowing that we are providing a first class medical information service.

Have you had to face any challenges getting to where you are now?

A constant learning curve and a need to constantly adapt and evolve my skills.

What skills and personal qualities do you think are important for your role?

As far as personal qualities go, it’s important to have patience, confidence methodical attention to detail and a non-flappable personality. Skills-wise, obviously really sound medical understanding is crucial. It’s also good to be a multi-tasker, and have quick, analytical thinking.

What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

Don’t ever be afraid to go for your dream job…never take no for an answer. Keep your eyes open and use your contacts.

How do you think your role benefits society?

We provide a vital support not only to patients but also healthcare professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. One day, it could mean a life or death outcome for a patient receiving one of our drugs.