‘Paying it forward’: How this mentoring relationship brings laughter and fun for both pharmacist owner and intern
Welcome to AJP’s series on mentor-mentee relationships. If you are interested in being featured, please email email@example.com with your story.
Rebecca Ayun is currently a #WanniWhiteCoat intern at Capital Chemist Wanniassa, where Elise Apolloni is a pharmacist and partner. The WanniWhiteCoats are famous for their singing videos on health topics (with some even performing for our recent Pharmacy’s Got Talent competition!)
Rebecca was also a long-time pharmacy assistant prior to beginning her internship there.
Here the AJP chats with them about their mentoring relationship.
1. How would you describe your mentoring relationship?
Elise: Respectful, fun, transparent and fair. I feel our relationship means Rebecca grows as a pharmacist, I grow as a pharmacist, and there is laughter and fun along the way, as well as professional betterment for both of us.
Rebecca: I would describe our mentoring relationship as supportive, trusting and fun. Elise is there for me for both professional and personal support, I feel quite lucky.
Elise is a very experienced pharmacist and mentor; she has so much knowledge and experience to share. She pushes me to use my knowledge to tackle tricky scenarios and I find myself learning something new everyday. Additionally, Elise dedicates so much of her time to ensure her interns are well prepared for the board exams, which is a big stressor as an intern.
2. How do you approach the relationship as a mentor?
Elise: At the time I am not necessarily thinking about it actively, but when I reflect on it, a few strategies I use include:
- Reflection – so looking back on situations, or reviewing them in real time and problem-solving the best outcome together, or thinking about what could be done better for next time.
- Integrity – being honest and open about my own practice, abilities and knowledge to Rebecca, and saying, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Sorry, I was wrong about that’ is really important.
- Mutual benefit – I am equally interested in passing on learnings/experience as I am to learn in return from Rebecca, so I am interested in her perspective, her ideas, because she may have a different view to me, or different skills she can bring to a situation that improve the outcome.
I enjoy the reciprocal nature of the relationship, and how I too become a better pharmacist for working with Rebecca.
3. What kind of support do young pharmacists need?
Rebecca: The transition from being a pharmacy student to becoming an intern pharmacist can be quite overwhelming.
I think it’s very important for interns to have a great support system around them, because there will be difficult patients, and there will be challenging conversations with doctors.
To grow as a pharmacist, it is important to reflect and learn from these challenging situations and it’s a lot easier when there are pharmacists you can go to for advice and reassurance.
4. Tips for other early career pharmacists / mentors?
Rebecca: I met Elise at a PSA event when I was in my first year of uni, and here I am now completing my internship with Elise as my mentor. I would say to other early career pharmacists, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and reach out; you never know what opportunities can come your way.
Elise: Be the mentor you wish you had in your career. We haven’t all had easy journeys, or great experiences all the time, but these types of relationships are a chance to ‘make it right’ for someone else.
Legacy is important too. How do you want to be remembered? As the helpful collaborative person willing to welcome others into your sphere and assist, or in a different way?
In return you get professional satisfaction that you have contributed to bettering the profession by ‘paying it forward’. I have been so lucky to have great support and mentoring in my career, so it is important to me to make sure the next generation of pharmacist that crosses my path receives the same!