We speak with SHPA’s Resident of the Year for 2017

1. Where do you currently work and what is your role?

I am currently working as a psychiatry pharmacist at The Alfred Hospital (Melbourne). This is my second rotation of the first cohort of SHPA pharmacy residents. I started the Residency Program in March 2017 after working as a renal and endocrinology pharmacist at The Alfred.

The SHPA Residency Program gives pharmacists the opportunity to have six-monthly rotations in various surgical, medical, operational and medical specialty units. I have already completed my operational rotation as the Sandringham Hospital Dispensary Manager, and will be undertaking my Colorectal, Breast and Endocrine Surgery and then Stroke and General Medicine rotations in 2018.

2. Where did you study/graduate/intern?

After I left school, I completed a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University. There, it became apparent that I was passionate about patient care and about pharmacy/pharmacology. So I enrolled in the Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash University (Melbourne).

During my degree I was fortunate enough to have student placements at The Alfred and Peter MacCallum Hospitals and to live and work as a student pharmacist for six weeks in Broken Hill (NSW) doing a mixture of community, hospital and rural pharmacy.

I completed my internship at The Alfred Hospital in 2016 at the same time as completing my Graduate Certificate in Pharmacy Practice (Monash University).

3. What parts of your job do you love the most?

First and foremost I am passionate about the health of our patients and the wider community. I get real satisfaction out of being able to impact and contribute to the management of patient’s health. I also love the challenges that pharmacists have to face on a day-to-day basis.

I believe that a lot of our patients have so much respect and place so much trust in their pharmacists, whether that be in the community or at the hospital, and knowing that you have really made a difference to patients and their health outcomes makes me genuinely excited to go to work every day.

We need to think more laterally when trying to obtain a good medication history or implementing new strategies to encourage medication adherence on discharge. We are also considered the “medicine experts” and I feel that the medical and the nursing team really appreciate the fact that pharmacists always consider and contribution to the management of all patient medications (rather than just the medicines prescribed in that medical specialty).

I also love how pharmacists are constantly learning and developing new skills. I really enjoy working a part of a multidisciplinary team, where daily discussions and learning opportunities have been instrumental in the development of my clinical knowledge.

4. What are some challenges that you face as a pharmacist?

One of the reasons I chose to work at a hospital pharmacist is because it is a challenging and fast-paced environment. In all health care settings, it can be challenging to dedicate ample time to explain disease states or new therapies to patients.

However, I believe that as pharmacists, we pride ourselves on our interpersonal communication skills. If you can tailor your counselling in a way that is patient friendly, your patients will actually acknowledge and appreciate your time and efforts.

In every work place, there will always be times which are more challenging than others, but ultimately I think of challenges as a good learning opportunity. I also believe that the challenges we all face as pharmacists is what makes our roles as health care professionals rewarding and worthwhile.  

5. Are there areas of pharmacy that you hope will change in the future? If so, what?

Pharmacists are contributing incredibly to health care on a national and international stage. There is not one predominant area of pharmacy that I hope will change in the future.

The profession has been able to move with the times and evolve, whether that be pharmacist prescribing, pharmacy lead outpatient clinics, home and aged-care medication reviews, pharmacist lead therapeutic drug monitoring, e-medicine, and much, much more.

I hope that we continue to support and promote our roles as pharmacists and to share our research and our experiences with each other to ensure that our profession continues to grow from strength to strength.