Most Influential People in Pharmacy: Lisa Nissen


We speak to the next person in our 14 most influential people in pharmacy campaign, as voted by you

Lisa Nissen
Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology
Member of the Scheduled Medicines Expert Committee for AHPRA
Member of the Commonwealth Department of Health Advisory Committee on Vaccines
PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year (2002)
PSA Pharmacist of the Year (2008)

One of the leading pharmacy researchers, Lisa Nissen is perhaps best known for spearheading the Queensland Pharmacist Vaccination trial, which opened the door to a new era of clinical pharmacy.

Lisa is also the only person to be selected as both the PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year (in 2002), and PSA Pharmacist of the Year (2008). She also recently won a hockey premiership!

She spoke to AJP after being voted by readers as one of the ‘Most Influential People in Pharmacy’:

Q: Where do you see pharmacy going in five years? Where would you like to see pharmacy in five years?

I see the profession expanding its footprint and impact in the health system. This includes the areas in which you find pharmacists working (e.g. aged care, community clinics, GP practices) and the way in which we will be able to contribute to medicines management (e.g. prescribing, medicines optimisation, vaccinations). This will mean not only operating to our full scope of practice but taking advantage of new and extended roles.

The abilities of pharmacists to impact the outcomes for patients because of the knowledge we can contribute reaches well beyond how we are currently operating, and beyond buildings.

The tide is shifting – the increase in awareness and recognition, by other health professionals and the government, of the impact of medication related issues across the community is an opportunity for pharmacists to step up and take a leading role in medicines management and safety.

Q: Do you think the pharmacy industry/profession is on the right track, or is there more work that needs to be done?

The greatest disappointment for me personally at the moment is the lack of unity in the profession around the direction we are going. While individually the major professional groups have their discrete memberships to service – it is their more global role to guide the profession forward, advocating collectively for a future place and space for pharmacists (all) to contribute.

We are greatest as a profession when we all recognise the value of our individual parts. I often admire the way our nursing colleague, who also have many individual professional interest and organisational groups, can come together collectively to support a group visions and direction – working for a collective outcome rather than discrete interests.

There are more than 30,000 pharmacists who deserve a future full of opportunities, perhaps its time we worked more together to achieve it.

Q: How do you see yourself as influencing the pharmacy profession?

I will continue to advocate for full scope and extended scope opportunities for pharmacy, through research and education activities and my roles in National policy and advocacy groups.

However, I feel that some of my greatest influence comes from the work I get to do with other professional organisations, boards and accrediting groups. Through working with professions like speech therapy, physio, dietetics, optometry, podiatry and nursing around their training and role in medicines – including prescribing – I can advocate for the value and skill that pharmacy as a profession bring to the health care system.

It is in these forums that leaders of other professional groups become our greatest advocates.

Q: What are all your current roles?

I’m not sure there is space for all of my current roles!

Currently I am the Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology (my day job) – where Pharmacy is one of the 7 clinical disciplines in the school.

Amongst a number of interesting and exciting roles, I am a member of the Scheduled Medicines Expert Committee for AHPRA, the Commonwealth Department of Health Advisory Committee on Vaccines and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council Professional Reference Group for the Registered Nurse Prescribing Accreditation Standards.

I am also goalie for my Div 2 women’s Masters Hockey team …. We just won the premiership!

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