AJP chats with Daniel Guidone, Alfred Health’s Deputy Director of Pharmacy by day and audio creative/podcaster by night
1) How would you describe your current role and what it involves?
I’m work at Alfred Health in Melbourne as the Deputy Director of Pharmacy. My responsibilities are Workforce and Development.
My role involves ensuring our patients are getting the best quality care possible through the deployment and development of pharmacy staff. On a day-to-day basis, this involves workforce planning, recruitment and rostering, and education.
2) What has been the highlight of your pharmacy career so far?
Without doubt, being involved in setting up the SHPA Foundation Residency. It ticks so many boxes at once – for patients, employees and employers. Early career pharmacists have been desperate for formal guidance and pathways in moving their careers forward, and now they have that.
Our patients need practitioners with expert skills and advanced training. And, from my own selfish point of view, there’s a huge advantage to employers. We now know that there is a group of pharmacists who have advanced their practice one further step, and we can use them for more advanced positions knowing that they have had predictable experiences in core areas in an accredited setting.
3) Tell us more about your podcast, the Purple Pen Podcast. Why did you decide to start it and how did it come about?
Basically, I wanted an excuse to buy audio equipment, and at the age of 35, I realised that I probably wasn’t ever going to get a band together – so this was a way for me to exercise a creative part of my brain. So yeah – mostly an excuse to go into stores that sell high end audio equipment.
I then approached Jane because I knew she was into podcasts and that as a medicines information pharmacist she’d be good at the parts that I wasn’t. We then approached the SHPA, who have been fantastic in providing support for equipment and hosting. This all happened on one night, at an SHPA dinner.
Jane and I drafted some topics, and contacted guests who we thought were interesting. We set it up as an informal discussion, because neither of us have time to do any NPR-style production and there is enough bad formal education in the pharmacy world, so we think we fill a good niche.
4) What’s the best thing about working in pharmacy?
I really enjoy seeing staff advance their practice and develop as people and practitioners – in my role that’s the what gives me the most satisfaction.
There’s nothing like the buzz you get from seeing people you taught as undergraduates, interns and now residents grow into expert clinical pharmacists.
5) What’s something you think needs to be changed or improved in the profession?
We need to create a workforce that is more mobile, more flexible and more advanced. I am currently obsessed with recruitment – because it occupies so much of my time and because its such a difficult and important part of my job.
I’ve noticed that for our junior positions we can have over 50 suitable applicants for each position, but for senior positions we have at most a handful. Part of this is due to our young workforce, but part of it tells me that our profession has not spent enough time training and grooming leaders.
I think people need to train and develop staff for the next 10 years, not the next 10 weeks.
Pharmacy leaders need to recognise that building a workforce is critical to our success as a profession, and that advancing the skills of our colleagues and staff is core work, not a “nice-to-have add on”. Every workplace has day-to-day pressures, but these will get worse if we don’t have a fit-for-purpose workforce going forward.
See more about the Purple Pen Podcast here