Get ready to celebrate the profession

Safe, efficacious use of medicines remains at the heart of the profession, says one leading pharmacist, as World Pharmacist Day draws near

Australian pharmacists are being urged to join their colleagues around the world on World Pharmacist Day, 25 September.

They day aims to highlight and celebrate the crucial role they play in public health and safety.

According to Webstercare Managing Director Gerard Stevens, the World Pharmacist Day theme ‘Safe and effective medicines for all’ is an opportunity to remind pharmacists and their patients that the broad knowledge and unique expertise of pharmacists contribute every day to the health and safety of all Australians.

“Despite the ongoing evolution and increasing specialisation of pharmacists and pharmacies, the safe and efficacious use of medication remains at the heart of what we do best,” Mr Stevens said.

“There’s no secret to why we pharmacists maintain a high level of community trust in the various surveys that rate jobs and professions each year,” he said.

“Health consumers have come to trust the level of knowledge that pharmacists possess and our commitment to using it for their benefit. They have the confidence that they can rely on our knowledge and our willingness to use it for their benefit.

“We begin our professional lives backed by four years of hard, challenging study, followed by a year of practical implementation. That’s five years of effort before we even get the opportunity to become a registered, practicing pharmacist,” he said.

“And even then there’s a high fail rate for the registration exam. After that it’s a lifelong commitment to maintaining and updating our professional knowledge.

“This profession-wide commitment of time and effort in building a deep knowledge and understanding of medication, and maintaining its currency, fosters a reliable level of competence – an outcome that the community has come to rely upon because it consistently satisfies them,” said Mr Stevens.

“So medication knowledge and its perceived value is at the heart of what has become a social contract with the communities we care for which is based on trust.

Mr Stevens said the profession could build on this by reinforcing the value of the pharmacist-curated medication profile.

“The pharmacist-curated medication profile is the most accurate, up-to-date record of what someone is actually taking.

“It’s not simply what they have been prescribed and, importantly, includes non-prescription medication. It also reconciles clinical instructions from a range of healthcare providers so it’s the best possible document to reference when making future medication-related decisions.

“With technological developments, such as My Health Record, and increasing expectations from data mining and analysis, the pharmacist-curated medication profile offers the profession a crucial point of difference during negotiations over practice scope and capabilities.

“We just need to activate it and ourselves,” said Mr Stevens.

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