SHPA names its best and brightest

Dr Coombs receives his award from Prof Dooley.

Associate Professor Ian Coombes has been named the recipient of the Fred J Boyd Award at Medicines Management 2018, the 44th SHPA National Conference

In awarding the prize on behalf of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia in Brisbane, outgoing President Professor Michael Dooley celebrated the influence and broad reach of Associate Professor Coombes’ vision and leadership.

“Ian’s passion and commitment to improving the care of patients and developing the pharmacy workforce has been instrumental in the growth of our profession,” Prof Dooley said.

“He has led many innovations in practice that have resulted in the introduction of many impactful, nationwide initiatives and has been instrumental in Australia now recognising advancing practice of pharmacists.

“Ian’s commitment to professional development and innovation saw him lead the evaluation and development of the tools that became the Clinical Competency Assessment Tool (ClinCAT), which is now widely used in Australian pharmacy for self and peer competency-based evaluation and feedback.

“Through his PhD investigating the cause and prevention of prescribing errors, he has seen the adoption of a National Inpatient Medication chart which has led to a significant reduction in medication prescribing and administration errors across the country.”

Associate Professor Coombes is Director of Pharmacy at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, a former SHPA Board Director and recipient of the 2003 SHPA Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award, 2010 Medal of Merit and the 2017 SHPA Qld Branch William Harris Award.

In an entertaining and broad-ranging oration, Associate Professor Coombes encouraged the 1,200-strong delegation to “let go of things that hold you back”.

“The DNA of the workforce is essential – what do people actually do?” he said.

“We’ve got to constantly ask ourselves: have we added value? And be brave and say: ‘let’s do it differently’.

“It is exciting and promising for the future of healthcare that Australian pharmacy has matured so rapidly in recent years. Formalised, evidence-based frameworks for training and recognition are absolutely essential to ensuring the right people are in the right place to provide the very best care for our patients.”

Associate Professor Coombes said innovating and improving is a two-way street and a constant endeavour.

“It is about giving back – there is no manual for effective, persistent performance and innovative patient care. These skills need nurturing, over time.

“As we grow into leaders, we also need to step back when the time is right. Have confidence in the systems you’ve put in place and the practice of the next generation.’

“Most importantly, think broadly, work creatively and allow yourself to be bold. Nothing is impossible… some things are just more difficult than others.’

Associate Professor Coombes stayed true to this creative ethos throughout his freewheeling talk as he abandoned his notes, prompting laughter throughout the plenary hall: ‘Don’t be afraid to make a plan, then throw it away!”

Professor Dooley also acknowledged Rosemary Burke, Peter Fowler and Steve Morris as very worthy nominees for the 2018 award.

“This year’s nominees embody the spirit of the Fred J Boyd Award: innovative pharmacists progressing and developing their field for the benefit of the Australian community.”


Medal of Merit and Clinical Pharmacy Award

Dr Lisa Pont was awarded the SHPA Medal of Merit. Michael Dooley acknowledged Dr Pont’s extensive contribution to pharmacy research and role in supporting, mentoring and inspiring pharmacy, nursing and medical staff.

“As a recipient of 14 major research grants and with a PhD in clinical pharmacology, Dr Pont holds a wealth of research knowledge and capability that she’s shared through numerous past and present professional positions including her role as founder and Chair of Medicines Use Research Australia, and as a former member of the TGA’s Advisory Committee on Non-prescription Medicines,” he said.

Dr Pont receives her award.
Dr Pont receives her award.

“Dr Pont has been instrumental in the design, delivery and expansion of educational programs within SHPA for our clinical practitioners. She has been a mentor for many and has continued to link hospital practice and research, which continues to guide the future vision of Australian translational pharmacy research.”

In her accepting oration Dr Pont, who is Associate Professor in Pharmacy at the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, encouraged delegates to embrace the four ‘pillars’ of hospital pharmacy.

“Education, mentoring and advocacy are essential foundations, and I’m proud of SHPA members’ long history leading on these fronts,” she said.

“The fourth pillar of research is my true passion, both in the development of evidence-based practice and in the undertaking of practice-based evidence.

“I believe the key is to balance research that looks toward evidence to guide clinical practice, while looking back at clinical practice to guide research – they sit hand-in-hand.”

Dr Rohan Elliott was honoured for his contribution to geriatric medicine, receiving the SHPA Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award.

“With over 25 years’ experience in pharmacy practice, Dr Elliott has made an outstanding contribution to optimising patient outcomes, improving medication safety and advancing the role of clinical pharmacists across numerous healthcare settings, most significantly in geriatric medicine,” said Prof Dooley.

Dr Elliott receives his award.

“Dr Elliott brings a great deal of passion to this challenging field through his roles as Senior Aged Care Pharmacist at Austin Health, Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University and Chair of the SHPA Geriatric Medicine Leadership Committee.

“As a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist, he has played a leading role in the expansion of clinical pharmacy services in aged care, enhanced pharmacist roles in continuity of care and developed an expanded ward pharmacy technician role.”

In accepting the award, Dr Elliott called on all pharmacists to include geriatric medicine as an area of focus, as an ageing population sees the discipline becoming more and more integral to pharmacy practice.

“The geriatric medicine pharmacist balances medication-related risks and benefits in the context of multiple comorbidities, polypharmacy, altered drug responses and, often, geriatric syndromes and functional decline,” he said.

“It is important that the pharmacist tailors the treatment plan to the older individual, rather than simply applying evidence-based guidelines and treatment targets, as these are generally derived from studies that included few, if any, older people with multiple co-morbidities and polypharmacy.”

Dr Elliott said the rising importance of geriatric medicine can be seen across all pharmacy practice settings.

“I believe all pharmacists who work with older people need an understanding of the principles of geriatric medicine and should apply these to the care of their patients.

“Older people are the biggest consumers of medicines, so we all need to skill up to ensure we are providing optimum care for our ageing patients.

“We’re all geriatric medicine pharmacists now.”

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