Supporting future pharmacists

young person waiting to start their career

PDL has named the three recipients of its Student Grant Program – although the motivated pharmacy students have had to delay some of their plans due to the pandemic

PDL launched its inaugural Student Grant Program in at the NAPSA Congress in January 2020, with three grants of up to $5,000 each.

The program aims to enable Australian pharmacy students to attend educational events or conferences locally or overseas, to enhance their education and training as a future pharmacist.

PDL has announced the three recipients of the grants: Mikah Peterson, a third-year pharmacy student at the University of South Australia; Stefan Coombs, a fourth-year pharmacy student at Monash University; and Monica Sharma, a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of South Australia.

Mikah Peterson

While applying for the PDL Student Grant Program, Mikah shared that she intended to seek a position as a hospital-based clinical pharmacist. She wants to be equipped to provide appropriate counselling and information to ensure patients are using medications safely and effectively, to reduce the likelihood of an incident and prevent readmission.

Mikah aims to use the grant to attend the 66th International Pharmacy Student Federation (IPSF) World Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in August next year, to prepare herself for future roles in clinical practice through the professional development events offered.

Stefan and a team of students conducted a study over eight weeks from February to April this year, investigating patient opinion on ways to improve medication lists and dosing instructions upon discharge.

Stefan Coombs

“Throughout my time at Barwon health I have gained insight into areas surrounding medication safety, such as health-related policy, standards development, e-health and digital systems, quality improvement and medication systems support,” he said.

“It has been an amazing, eye-opening experience to witness pharmacy practice being improved in ways outside conventional practice.”

Stefan had intended to enter his findings to the 2020 SHPA Pharmacy Practice Pillars Conference in May with the assistance of the PDL Student Grant. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been put on hold.

Meanwhile Monica shared that she plans on becoming an accredited pharmacist in the future, with a passion for pharmacist roles in the aged care setting.

Monica Sharma

When applying for the PDL Student Grant Program, Monica was intending to attend PSA’s flagship conference PSA20 after they released the Medicine Safety: Aged Care report. She was hoping to attend to be part of the conversation that would shape the role of pharmacists within the aged care teams.

PSA20 conference was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.

So far the recipients have been unable to use the funds yet, as there has not been anything they can attend, PDL confirmed.

“The hope is that they will be able to attend the same event next year. Alternatively, we will work with them to find something that aligns with their interests and that they will find value in attending,” said a PDL spokesperson.

“Supporting our pharmacy students has always been important to PDL and the Student Grant Program was designed to enable students to attend some of the leading industry events across Australia and internationally,” said PDL Chair Paul Naismith.

COVID-19 has put a hold on many things in 2020 but pharmacists have been instrumental in helping manage this health crisis in Australia.

“We’re excited to continue to support our future pharmacists through these student grants and hope to be able to see the events resume in the coming months.”

PDL is a not-for-profit, independent member organisation that supports Australian pharmacists with professional indemnity insurance, 24/7 incident support and advice to help minimise incidents.

Visit or call 1300 854 838 for more information and to become a member. Students and interns receive free PDL membership.

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