“I have the best job in the world.”


Dr Karen Whitfield. Source: Supplied.
Dr Karen Whitfield. Source: Supplied.

Women’s & newborns pharmacist Dr Karen Whitfield has received the 2017 SHPA Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award

Dr Karen Whitfield has been chosen for this year’s SHPA’s Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to clinical pharmacy practice.

Dr Whitfield is currently the Women’s and Newborns Pharmacist Team Leader at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, where she looks after a team of five pharmacists that provides a clinical pharmacy service to maternity and neonatal patients.

In announcing the award on the closing day of Medicines Management 2017, SHPA President Professor Michael Dooley acknowledged the broad impact of Dr Whitfield’s significant contributions.

“Dr Whitfield has been a member of the SHPA for almost 15 years, but her contributions to hospital pharmacy both in Australia and internationally span decades.

“Karen’s work in Women’s and Newborn’s Health has had a lasting impact on the way infants and women are treated nationwide.”

Upon accepting the award, Dr Whitfield encouraged pharmacists to get inspired and involved in research, of any scale, saying “even small studies can lead to big changes in clinical practice”.

Highlights of Dr Whitfield’s professional contributions include:

  • Development and implementation of a Queensland steering group for women’s and newborn’s health
  • Education of medical staff, including Neonatal Transition Program and Neonatal Medical Staff
  • Establishment of medication safety initiatives in neonatal and obstetric medicine
  • Clinical leader and expert in statewide guidelines for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, early onset Group B streptococcal disease and neonatal resuscitation.

In an interview with AJP this month, Dr Whitfield said young pharmacists interested in her career path should consider participating in the SHPA’s residency program.

“The career pathway for the hospital pharmacist is exceptionally bright,” Dr Whitfield said.

“Hospital pharmacy provides many exciting prospects for diversity and allows pharmacists the opportunity to specialise,” she said.

“I get to work with a group of likeminded health professionals to provide excellence in patient care to our obstetric and neonatal patients.

“I have the best job in the world.”

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