Staff Spotlight

Former NAPSA president Shefali Parekh describes her experience six months into her pharmacy internship

1. When and where did you graduate from pharmacy?

I graduated from Griffith University in Gold Cast, Queensland in 2018 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy. I am also a graduate member of both the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA).

2. Can you describe your experience in the pharmacy sector so far?

I have extensive experience in community pharmacy from working part-time as a student. I was fortunate enough to land my first pharmacy job in a Melbourne pharmacy that specialised in residential aged care facility services, so I spent my Saturdays packing dose administration aids.

I then transitioned to another community pharmacy in Melbourne where I got exposed to the opioid substitution program.

When I moved to the Gold Coast, I worked for both the Chempro and Good Price Pharmacy groups, where I was challenged in a fast-paced environment to deliver optimal customer service and healthcare.

3. Where are you currently working and how long have you been there for?

Currently I am six months into my pharmacy internship at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH).

4. What kind of work does your role entail?

At RHH so far, I have had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of clinical areas including oncology, emergency, paediatrics, neonatal and adult intensive care, infectious diseases and cardiothoracics.

I have also been involved in extemporaneous manufacturing, inpatient and outpatient dispensary, and medicines information.

When I look back on my intern year, I will largely measure its success by the amount of effort I invested into it, the countless learnings and the amazing people.

Something unique to the RHH intern program, is a rotation with the Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) which is responsible for protecting the Tasmanian public from harms associated with drugs and poisons, in particular Schedule 8 medicines and opioids.

I am looking forward to my out-centre rotation later on in the year where I will get to work in the renal, mental health and palliative care settings.

5. What does intern year mean to you?

Intern year can definitely feel overwhelming especially since the aim is to become a competent pharmacist by the end of it.

I believe it is important to adopt a positive approach to this period of learning and be conscious of the transition from student to professional. Internship for me is about complementing the knowledge and skills I learnt at university with practical experience.

When I look back on my intern year, I will largely measure its success by the amount of effort I invested into it, the countless learnings and the amazing people.

6. What do you love the most about pharmacy?

What I love most about pharmacy is how dynamic it is. Whether it be involvement with committees outside of work, or participating in research.

For example, I submitted an abstract to the SHPA Tasmanian Branch symposium in May and was honoured to have my presentation be awarded the prize for Highly Competent.

Furthermore, my tasks can differ on a daily basis, which means every day is exciting and a new chance to develop personal standards of professionalism.

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