A minute with...

SHPA members are progressive advocates for clinical excellence, passionate about patient care and committed to evidence-based practice. Here, we spend a minute with them to learn about their lives across Australia and how their work in a variety of healthcare settings improves patient outcomes.

A Minute With... Bianca Heron

FANZCAP (Informtcs, PublicHlth) | Chair, MM2024 Scientific Program Committee | Acting Director of Clinical Information Systems Governance, NT Health, Darwin, NT
This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2024

Hi Bianca! Tell us a little bit more about your current role.

I recently started in a new role as Acting Director of Clinical Information Systems Governance at NT Health, where a key responsibility is leading the development, implementation and monitoring of the clinical safety and quality governance framework for NT Health Digital Health Solutions.  

Why did you decide to join the Medicines Management Scientific Program Committee?

I have always loved going to the Conference and I really wanted to provide a voice and increase opportunities for NT within the program!

What has been the most rewarding experience from your time on the Medicines Management Scientific Program Committee (MM2023 or MM2024)?

I really enjoy meeting and working with pharmacists and technicians across such a wide range of areas. Their thoughts and contributions are so unique and invaluable for consideration in the programs. You get exposure to topics and ideas that you don’t get in your normal workplace.  

What is your favourite memory from attending a Medicines Management conference? 

It always has to be your first conference. Mine was in Darwin - I had the amazing opportunity to present on my work, and was overwhelmed by all the amazing work and people that attend conferences.   

What sparks joy for you? 

Learning new things, and running (except when training for a marathon!). 

Which parts of the program spark the most excitement for you? 

It may sound like a cliché, but I am excited for all of it. It's really going to be a challenge to decide which parts of the program to attend over others! But overall I'm very excited to hear all the new and advancing ideas in the pharmacy and technician space.   

A Minute With... Monique Scott

ANZCAP-Reg. (Generalist)Co-chair, MM2024 Scientific Program Committee | Team Leader, Clincal Pharmacy and Acting Clinical Manager, Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Tas
This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2024

Tell us a bit more about yourself! What is your current role and how would your colleagues describe you? 

I am a Tassie girl, born and bred! I am a simple soul who loves her family and friends, her job, and a good bottle of Tasmanian Pinot Noir. At Launceston General Hospital, I currently hold the substantive position of Team Leader, Clinical Pharmacy and am backfilling the Clinical Pharmacy Manager role part-time. My day-to-day involves a blend of strategic planning, staff pastoral care, collaboration with medical staff, and hands-on involvement in patient care. 

Colleagues would likely describe me as a highly dedicated individual. I'm someone who leads by example, always willing to roll up my sleeves and tackle challenges alongside my team.  

What has been your most rewarding experience from being on the Medicines Management Scientific Program Committee (for both MM2023 and MM2024!)?

The most rewarding experience from my time on the Medicines Management Scientific Program Committee last year was seeing the program come to life in Cairns - it was a surreal feeling attending the conference and seeing our hard work come to fruition. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to do it all again at the helm with Bianca [Heron, Chair of the MM2024 Scientific Program Committee] to deliver a program full of 'spark' for MM2024! 

What sparks joy for you, both inside and outside of work?

At work, I find joy in the ability to influence practice change to better serve our community. I am exceptionally lucky to work with a phenomenal group of people across the Tasmanian Health Service. Outside of work, travelling sparks immense joy - from exploring my island home to island hopping in Greece. I'm lucky enough to be able to secure leave for three overseas trips in 2024! And of course I cannot miss the trip over the Bass Strait for MM2024! 

Which parts of MM2024's program spark the most excitement for you? 

The program promises to spark attendees' interest in bringing new innovation to their practise! There are some very exciting invited speaker sessions in the works - it sounds like science fiction, but are self-assembling nanorobots synthesising DNA subunits the future of modern medicine? Get ready to ignite! 

A Minute With... Maryam Sherkat Masoum

FANZCAP (Inf,Dis, Steward) | Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Royal Perth Hospital | SHPA Infectious Diseases Leadership Committee Member
This interview is part of a series for Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Day 2024

Why are you passionate about working in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)?

Antimicrobial stewardship principles impact almost every patient we encounter in the hospital. For me, the most rewarding aspect of being an AMS pharmacist is the people - the people I am privileged to work with, the people I teach or learn from, and most importantly, the people I can help. Being able to have a significant and meaningful impact on the patient’s journey is a truly rewarding experience (and certainly staves off boredom at work!).

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

Working in the field of AMS is certainly a steep learning curve, but collaboration and building relationships is essential to the success of every initiative. We work in health care because we want to help others and every healthcare provider has each patient’s best interests at heart. This can create conflicting views, where management goals are seemingly not in alignment. It is important to lead every encounter with kindness and diplomacy, and be creative in one’s approach when managing challenging situations (which are frequently encountered in the world of AMS). 

What does Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Day mean to you?

The role of infectious diseases pharmacists is rapidly expanding with many exciting and innovative initiatives led by some of my colleagues nationally and internationally. I think, as pharmacists, many of us tend to be less extroverted than other healthcare professionals and less likely to advertise our knowledge and achievements. Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Day provides a platform for us to share our accomplishments and experiences, how we navigate challenges, and to empower ourselves and each other.

A Minute With... Laura Triggs

ANZCAP-Res. | Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Stewardship Advanced Training Pharmacist Resident, Canberra Hospital
This interview is part of a series for Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Day 2024

What attracted you to your role?

I became interested in gaining experience in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) and infectious diseases after going to an antimicrobial lecture series at university (shout out to the excellent presenter Fiona Doukas, who is now my registrar training program mentor!). I remember learning about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and thinking it was an area where health professionals could make a real difference. So I jumped at the opportunity when an AMS job came up after I completed my foundational residency.

What excites you about your work? 

I absolutely love learning and then being able share that knowledge with others. The learning opportunities in infectious diseases are endless, especially relating to antimicrobial pharmacokinetics (PK)/pharmacodynamics (PD).

What do you hope to achieve in pharmacy… or in other health-related fields?

I can definitely see myself staying in the AMS/infectious diseases specialty area, and would love to either undertake a PhD looking into PK/PD of antimicrobials or gain experience working on national standards or policies relating to AMS and antimicrobial resistance.

What’s your special talent?

My special talent is somewhat useless but a fun party trick – I can balance on a bike without moving or falling off (it’s called 'track standing' if you want to Google it!).

A Minute With... Dr Margaret Jordan

General Practice Pharmacist, Woonona Medical Practice | Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Wollongong | Transitions of Care and Primary Care Leadership Committee Member | FANZCAP (PrimCare, MedsMgmt)
This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2024.

Why are conversations about deprescribing so important?

Deprescribing conversations with a patient or carer are best approached through a medication review, which can be either comprehensive or targeted. There is then some context given for the discussion about the medicine/s of interest. By using this approach and the usual or adapted exchanges, patients and/or their carers can twig as to what the purpose of the review is. After reflecting on questions such as ‘What medicines are you taking?’, ‘How long have you been taking this?, 'Why was it prescribed?', etc. the foundations have been laid to consider deprescribing. Taking that next step to introduce cutting back or stopping medicines is so important, as the outcome is often the first steps in a patient’s regimen being rationalised to reduce or cease unnecessary/potentially hazardous medicines.

How can pharmacy professionals empower older patients/patients with a disability (and their carers) through conversations about medicines?

By taking the steps described, actively listening, and then using the patient's/carer's responses to trigger further action, these individuals can be more empowered. I am an advocate for information exchange as shared decision-making enables deprescribing. To begin any deprescribing, establishing what and how much medication the person is taking, and why, is essential. For example, in the case of opioids, the prescription reasons may lead to opportunities for investigating other options, both non-opioid and non-pharmacological.

These individuals can feel empowered to ask questions, including about their past or current medication regimens and the need to remain on their medicines. We call this 'challenging the status quo' and learnt that 'status quo bias' is a known barrier to deprescribing, especially if they have been on their regimen for a number of years. Feedback from one of my patients said 'You just take [the medication] because you've always taken it' and that their deprescribing conversation with a pharmacist gave them 'a real clear picture', having been on one of their medications for around 15 years!

Can you describe a situation in which you've initiated deprescribing and how this benefited the patient?

There are many examples – although at times it is tough going. One of the most memorable experiences for me involved a 91-year-old patient of the practice and their adult carer grandchild. Although both were at first confused about my involvement in the patient’s care, they soon realised the potential benefits of deprescribing when we discovered that: the patient's daily prescribed aspirin had been continued indefinitely after a previous hip replacement, their high-dose antidepressant had been commenced ten years earlier after the death of their spouse, and that their extended daily nap could potentially be attributed to a pregabalin and opioid combination. Feedback from the grandchild was that 'time with [the pharmacist] was really worthwhile to help [the patient] and remind [them] what these medications were doing, or if they're not doing anything and whether we can get rid of them. It made a lot of sense to me and [the patient]. We could have more of an active role in reviewing those medications.'

A few months later when I asked the patient how they were going, they reported feeling wonderful - 'like a 22-year-old!' A while later I received a special message of appreciation from the family through their GP, as all of the patient's medicines had finally, slowly, been deprescribed.

A Minute With... Dr Lisa Pont

Professor, University of Technology Sydney | Senior Research Fellow, Macquarie University | Geriatric Medicine Leadership Committee Member | FANZCAP (Edu., GeriMed)
This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2024.

Why are you so passionate about understanding polypharmacy’s impact in aged care settings?

Understanding the impact of polypharmacy in aged care settings is crucial, as polypharmacy can directly influence health and wellbeing, especially among older individuals. Polypharmacy can lead to adverse drug reactions, medication errors, reduced adherence to treatment plans, and increased healthcare costs. By understanding the factors contributing to polypharmacy, we can tailor interventions to optimise medication management, reduce unnecessary medicine use, and enhance the quality of care provided to older adults.

What are some of the tools that can be used to drive deprescribing for patients and their care teams?

There are lots of tools and interventions that have been developed to drive deprescribing, yet rather than focusing on specific tools or interventions, we all have a responsibility for deprescribing. Each healthcare professional involved in medication management should conscientiously assess the need, potential benefits, possible risks, treatment goals and patient/carer views for each medicine at each point in care. We need to be brave and challenge our colleagues to think about stopping medicines when the benefit/risk profile changes; we also need to put our patients and their carers at the centre of the care journey and help them to think about stopping medicines when they are no longer useful.

What is your personal motto for MedsAware Week?

It is very easy to add medicines, especially among older persons with multimorbidity; it is much more difficult to remove them.  We often have a ‘plan’ when we start new medicines; we need to flip our thinking and start ‘planning to stop medicines’ as a routine part of medication management.

A Minute With... Brigid McInerney

Assistant Deputy Director of Pharmacy, Monash Health | PhD Candidate,Monash University | Transitions of Care and Primary Care Leadership Committee Member | FANZCAP (GeriMed, ToC)
This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2024.

Why are conversations around deprescribing so important for older Australians and Australians living with a disability?

These individuals are often exposed to polypharmacy required for the management of multiple medical conditions, but suboptimal communication between their healthcare providers can lead to unclear plans and confusion regarding the indications for some medications and intended duration of use.

Older people and people living with a disability may be more vulnerable to medication-related adverse effects. The signs and symptoms of these adverse effects may be difficult to identify as the individual may be unable to communicate new or worsening symptoms, or these may be interpreted as a new or worsening medical condition.

Conversations around deprescribing should be tailored to the individual and related to their goals of care and preferences, and should occur at every opportunity in any care setting. This can help to raise awareness of the often fine line between benefits and risks of many medications used by these individuals, while empowering them and their caregivers to engage in conversations about ongoing medication use.

What changes do you hope to see within the deprescribing/medicines education space in the future?

I'm excited to see increased clinician confidence in making deprescribing recommendations and decisions in the acute and subacute settings, in close collaboration with their primary care clinician colleagues and patients. Pharmacists are already very good at engaging patients in conversations about their medicines, but further uptake of education to support conversations about deprescribing may be helpful.

Further advancements in the availability of relevant information required at the time of deprescribing discussions and decisions being made, along with workflow efficiencies to support pharmacists working at top of scope and to facilitate deprescribing conversations with their medical colleagues, will be exciting to see.

Timely and appropriate follow-up in the post-discharge period is essential to follow up medication changes and appropriate monitoring.

My research supports the identification of psychotropic adverse events in residents of nursing homes, and I'm looking forward to seeing this translate to the availability of clear evidence regarding the risks of medications in this population, for consideration in medication reviews and deprescribing conversations. 

What is your personal motto for MedsAware Week?

Deprescribing is a vital part of good medication management and is as crucial to patient care as appropriate prescribing!

A Minute With... Anna Jennings

Senior Clinical Pharmacist – Health of Older People, Alfred Health | Geriatric Medicine Leadership Committee Member
This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2024.

Why are conversations around deprescribing so important for older Australians? 

As the human body ages, the ways in which our medications impact us changes. We have altered pharmacokinetics and are more likely to suffer adverse effects. Additionally, the evidence behind many medications decreases as we age, with medication trials largely conducted on younger participants.

Conversations around deprescribing are essential to make sure medications are both safe and effective. These conversations must always involve the patient and include a discussion about what matters most to them. Medication use must be tailored to our patients as individuals and align with their personal values. As we get older, deprescribing is no less important than the original commencement, or prescribing, of a medication.

Can you describe a situation in which you've initiated deprescribing and how this benefited the patient?

I recently deprescribed amitriptyline in an elderly lady admitted to hospital following a fall. This was in conjunction with the patient and her medical team.

No indication for the amitriptyline could be ascertained from either the patient or her GP; the patient only knew that she had been on it for many years. She was wanting to reduce the amount of medications she needed to take each day and reduce her chances of having another fall. Amitriptyline was slowly weaned to cessation with careful monitoring, and no changes occurred as the dose was weaned and eventually stopped. The outcome was very positive as the patient reduced both her falls risk and her tablet burden.  

What is your personal message for MedsAware Week?  

Involve your patient in deprescribing - I can’t stress this enough. Spend time talking to your patients about their medications, determine if deprescribing is an option, and then involve them in the decision and process. Do this for your patients as it leads to improved outcomes, but also do it for yourself. Successfully deprescribing a medication and witnessing firsthand the patient benefits is an amazing source of job satisfaction!

A Minute With... Sharon Goldsworthy

Workforce Portfolio Lead, SA Pharmacy, Adelaide, SA
This interview is part of a series for International Women's Day (IWD) 2024

What helps you thrive in your workplace?

The key things that help me thrive in the workplace are having clarity in what my team's prioritised goals are and knowing my role in achieving them, alongisde having a great team to work within!

Delineating work from home life is also very important, including feeding my physical activity and nature needs (rowing, hiking, and native bushland regeneration) and spending time with family.

A Minute With... Claire Hatty

Senior Clinical Pharmacist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Vic
This interview is part of a series for International Women's Day (IWD) 2024

What advice would you give the next generation of women leaders in pharmacy?’

Embrace every opportunity that comes your way and seize the chance to work in different positions, as they provide diverse challenges that will progress your skills toward senior roles.

Have confidence in the skills you have acquired, your knowledge, and your potential.

The significance of interpersonal skills in leadership cannot be underestimated, as effective communication, collaboration and understanding are vital for building robust relationships with colleagues, while empathy fosters trust, cooperation and positive outcomes.

Lastly, surround yourself with people who will both challenge and support you in your professional journey. Their encouragement, feedback and insights will be invaluable contributors to your growth as a leader in pharmacy.

A Minute With... Ione Wallace

Senior Dental Pharmacist, Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne; Clinical Pharmacist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Vic
This interview is part of a series for International Women's Day (IWD) 2024

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

On International Women's Day, I am grateful to the women who came before me, and their courageous and tireless efforts in advancing the women's rights that we enjoy and too often take for granted today. 

I will reflect on how fortunate I am to be surrounded by strong, brilliant and inspiring women in all aspects of my life, and I will dream of the steps we all need to take to create a future where women and girls are safe from all forms of violence against women, and our sons and daughters have equal reproductive rights, equal pay, equal political representation, equal access to education, and equal legal rights.

A Minute With... Misha Devchand

Infectious Diseases/Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Austin Health | Senior Advisor, Penicillin Allergies and Project Lead, Check Again Collaborative, Safer Care Victoria | Member, SHPA Infectious Diseases Leadership Committee
This interview is part of a series for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career in pharmacy? 

Implementing innovative services that push boundaries and upskill pharmacists to improve patient care.  

Explain your role and its impact on AMR.  What are you most proud of achieving in your role as Project Lead for the Check Again project? 

My roles are very diverse and I’m fortunate to have a balance between being involved in individual patient care and being able to improve state-wide healthcare.  

For the Check Again project, I’m most proud of seeing hospitals progress with the project. I was a coach and a cheerleader for all hospitals involved. The dedication of the hospital teams in ensuring the success of the project was inspiring! It was a very rewarding project to be part of.  

What changes would you like to see in the future to promote AMS? 

I think AMS still has many steps to take to progress. All pharmacists (ward pharmacists, outpatient pharmacists, etc.) have a huge role to play in AMS and they are under-recognised and underutilised AMS champions. In addition, I think primary care should also be considered and involved when planning for future AMS services.  

A Minute With... Minyon Avent

Advanced Pharmacist, Queensland Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program | Consultant Clinical Research Pharmacist, The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research | Chair, SHPA Infectious Diseases Leadership Committee

This interview is part of a series for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career in pharmacy?

The opportunities that I have been offered by working as part of a multidisciplinary team. The clinicians that I have worked with over the years have contributed to my clinical and research skills. It has also provided me opportunities to collaborate on projects which have been published. 

Explain your role and its impact on AMR.  What are you most proud of achieving in your role within the Queensland Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program?

I am an Antimicrobial Stewardship pharmacist working for the Queensland Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. What has attracted me to this role is the variety, working in a relatively small multidisciplinary team as well as the challenge of setting up a new program. I work with clinical staff in rural and regional areas who often have limited resources and/or skill sets to implement onsite antimicrobial stewardship programmes. I have found that these pharmacists are amazing and very appreciative of the training and support that our program provides. A bonus of this position is that I travel to some amazing parts of Queensland for our site visits.

What changes would you like to see in the future to promote AMS?

[Greater awareness that] ‘antimicrobial stewardship’ programs to promote the responsible use of antibiotics apply to every patient on an antibiotic and are every pharmacist’s responsibility. Pharmacists have a key role to play in addressing Antimicrobial Resistance, educating both clinicians and patients about the appropriate use, duration and route of antibiotics as well as disposal of unused and expired antimicrobials. This is highlighted in SHPA’s Infectious Diseases Standard of Practice and one of SHPA’s Choosing Wisely recommendations.

A Minute With... Tricia Holmes

Senior Pharmacy Technician/Service Coordinator, Royal Adelaide Hospital 
This interview is part of a series for Australian Pharmacy Technicians Day 2023

What makes your work as a hospital pharmacy technician exciting?

Working alongside the most amazing assistants/technicians, whose knowledge and skills never cease to amaze me. One of the best parts about being a pharmacy technician is making a difference in people’s lives every day. This fulfilling career allows me to use my specific skills to assist others in health care. A pharmacy assistant’s job is hands on and encompasses various duties and responsibilities each day. 

What would you like to see for the future of pharmacy technicians?

There are so many diverse roles for technicians and each role will evolve. I'd like to see continued support for technicians in the expansion of roles and in our career progression. 

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

SHPA has given me a huge boost in my career pathway. I have been privileged to be invited to the  Medicines Management conference as a guest speaker where I have met amazing fellow technicians. SHPA’s education offerings for technicians are also well-delivered and well-received. 

I love catching up with my Specialty Practice Pharmacy Technicians and Assistants group. We are a little family that talk about our roles as technicians, but can also have a chat about ourselves outside of that and have a laugh together. It’s great to know that I have that support. 

What is your favourite way to unwind? 

Reading and spending time with my family. 

A Minute With... Kirsten Lowe

Lead Pharmacy Technician – Workforce Development, Royal Melbourne Hospital
This interview is part of a series for Australian Pharmacy Technicians Day 2023

What makes your work as a hospital pharmacy technician exciting?

I feel extremely lucky to work in a hospital setting where I have the chance to make a positive impact on patient health. Hospital pharmacy roles are so diverse, you have different experiences and learning avenues every day. Creating education that provides my cohort with new opportunities and gives them the chance to practice in new and exciting ways is extremely rewarding. I feel privileged to work with such a fantastic group of people.

What would you like to see for the future of pharmacy technicians?

I would like to see more technicians advancing in leadership and management roles. The technician workforce is flexible, highly adaptable, and ambitious, and plays a vital part in pharmacy progression as a whole. Many technicians already possess strong leadership characteristics, and I believe this is an area where more development can occur.

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

Being an SHPA member has given me outlets to connect with other pharmacy technicians in Australia. Networking and idea sharing amongst other professionals is crucial for lifting practice standards nationally and it’s always fun talking shop with your peers.

The conferences also provide really great opportunities to see your fellow technicians' project work and cheer them on.

What is your favourite way to unwind?

My favourite way to unwind is quality time with my fiancé and dogs.

A Minute With... Rose Dingal

Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician (PACT), Canberra Hospital Pharmacy Department
This interview is part of a series for Australian Pharmacy Technicians Day 2023

What does your role entail?

I am responsible in doing the final accuracy check of a dispensed medication before they are given to the patients. 

What makes your work as a hospital pharmacy technician exciting?

I find working as a PACT exciting and fulfilling because I am able to contribute to our department. The pharmacists that I work with are able to focus more on their clinical duties and work with patients and the medical team on the ward. I also like talking to patients and helping them improve their health. 

What would you like to see for the future of pharmacy technicians?

In the future, I see a digital transformation in pharmacy as a whole and the expansion of roles technicians play in enhancing patient outcomes.  

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

SHPA has been committed to the growth of their technicians. There are discussion groups available and career development choices are handy. Moreover, SHPA appreciates the contribution technicians perform in our profession. 

What is your favourite way to unwind?

I enjoy spending some quality time with my husband and our dogs after work. 

A Minute With... Radha Regmi

Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician (PACT), Canberra Hospital Pharmacy Department
This interview is part of a series for Australian Pharmacy Technicians Day 2023

What makes your work as a hospital pharmacy technician exciting?

Every day is fun knowing that my small contribution is helping someone to recover from illness or maintain their health and wellbeing. In addition, the support from TCH Pharmacy in providing opportunities to move around different areas of hospital pharmacy and certification programs like PACT keeps my job enjoyable.

What would you like to see for the future of pharmacy technicians?

More nationwide training and certification programs enabling technicians to play a greater role in performing pharmacy duties.

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

Access to various technical news, articles and communities of practice to get updates on a variety of things. SHPA membership was desirable criteria for my current role as well.

What is your favourite way to unwind?

Exercise, cooking and a Netflix series.

A Minute With... Dr Jedidiah Morton

This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2023, the 47th SHPA National Conference
Research Fellow, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at MM2023? 

My presentation will explain: the place of observational studies in understanding and shaping clinical practice; how to interpret the results of observational studies and randomised controlled trials, as well as the important differences between the two; and common limitations of observational studies and randomised controlled trials, in addition to how to interpret results in the context of these limitations.  

What makes your job exciting?

I get to perform difficult and novel analyses to understand new science.  

Who are your role models?

Rosa Luxemburg.

How do you give yourself 'space to grow'? 

Allow time to read.  

A Minute With... Professor Lloyd Reeve-Johnson

This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2023, the 47th SHPA National Conference
Professor of One Health, University of Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Qld 

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at MM2023? 

  1. The critical importance of working across the healthcare boundaries in man, animals and the environment. Human health care does not exist in isolation from pathogen reservoirs, emerging animal diseases or climate change causing vector and human movement. It is short-sighted not to consider the wider systems impacting global health. This implies a shift in preventive healthcare needs for the future. 

  1. The economic factors that drive healthcare delivery to change. 

  1. Complexity economic theory versus traditional healthcare funding. 

What makes your job exciting?

My passions are economics - the science of managing scarcity - and epidemiology, which considers the way diseases spread. The rising costs of health care are not sustainable and have to change. The excitement is working internationally to address options for how healthcare delivery can adapt for our future.  

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? 

Antarctica – the only continent I have not visited and the only continent likely to give historical clues as to how disease emergence could have been different with less environmental and human pressure on the ecosystem. 

How do you give yourself 'space to grow'? 

Meeting with great minds internationally to enjoy debates on the most controversial topics and strategies, then returning refreshed to the very small portion I can influence within our global community.

A Minute With... Julia Tisdall

This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2023, the 47th SHPA National Conference
Advanced Pharmacy Technician, Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Services (STARS), Brisbane, Qld

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at MM2023? 

I will discuss and share my journey and experiences of how a team worked on implementing research and quality improvement processes within the technician workforce. 

I will explain the following points:  What are quality improvement projects compared to research? How to identify quality improvement projects? As well as describing ways to incorporate quality improvement projects within the workforce and how to make project systems/research sustainable within the workforce.  

What about research and quality improvement excites you? 

Seeing the results of an idea, whether negative or positive; seeing people learn and grow; being able to share with others what I have learnt from my peers; and being able to do my bit in helping to promote technicians, as I believe research helps with showcasing how important technicians are to the healthcare system.  

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the last year within the industry? 

So many advanced technician roles. It's amazing to see technicians counselling patients on discharge. I remember seeing that at the conference last year! 

Which fictional character would you most like to meet? 

Just Carpet (the Magic Carpet) from Aladdin

What does ‘space to grow’ mean to you? 

It means to me that we should learn from our failures and achievements, reflect, forgive, move forward and grow. No one is perfect in life, including the workforce. We should embrace our differences and grow together, as there is always space to do this. 

A Minute With... Dr Hester Wilson

This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2023, the 47th SHPA National Conference
GP, Clinical Director, AOD MLHD, Murrumbidgee; Medical Advisor, PaCH SESLHD; Conjoint Senior Lecturer, UNSW; Chair for Specific Interest Group in Addiction, RACGP, Sydney, NSW

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at MM2023? 

A common sense approach to e-cigarettes: what we know, what we don’t know, and how to work with patients and other healthcare workers to support smoking cessation and decrease harm.  

What's something you love about your job and why? 

It’s a privilege to work with patients towards best health and wellbeing outcomes. I am humbled by the stories and life experiences of people who experience addiction, and their strength and resilience.  

Who are your role models? 

I stand on the shoulders of giants – all the wonderful healthcare workers that have gone before me, those who work with me now, and those of the future. I deeply appreciate the work of my pharmacist colleagues  - guys, you’ve saved me from a number of medication errors and bad handwriting, for which I deeply thank you! 

What one piece of advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago? 

Go for it and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions - there is no such thing.  

How do you give yourself 'space to grow'? 

Being curious, open and respectful.  

A Minute With... Michael Bakker

This interview is part of a series for Medicines Management 2023, the 47th SHPA National Conference
Digital Health Portfolio Lead, SA Pharmacy, Adelaide, SA | Chair of SHPA's Electronic Medication Management Leadership Committee

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at MM2023? 

I hope to cover how advances in technology happening now and in the future will shape how we work.  

What is the most exciting thing about future pharmacy? 

There is a quote: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ To me, this means that we probably can’t anticipate the ways that we will be working, because it will be beyond our current comprehension.  

Most of the conversations I have are about shifting workflows from conventional to digital platforms. But what about when technology has advanced to the point where we trust it enough so that some tasks and processes are no longer required at all? It might sound a long way off but when you take the time to look, we already trust machines to do quite a few essential tasks in the world. I think the exciting part is what that allows us to otherwise do with our time. 

Who are your role models? 

Derek Muller, a.k.a Veritasium on YouTube. He is an expert at taking complex topics and focusing on communicating science. Too often we get stuck in assuming the audience we are speaking to understands the subject matter we are talking about. Being able to talk about complicated topics in a way that encourages other people to understand with you is a skill I wish I was better at.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? 

I wouldn’t say no to a quick dip in a hot spring in the middle of the snow. 

How do you give yourself 'space to grow'? 

Woodworking and metal fabrication videos on YouTube with a focus on process over outcome. I want to know how people arrive at making awesome furniture and repairing tractors. Something about watching artisans go about their craft is very inspiring. 

A Minute With... Dr Janet Sluggett

This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2023
Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia and the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) | Non-Executive Director of the Australian MedicAlert Foundation and Southern Cross Care SA, NT, VIC

Why is deprescribing important for residents of aged care homes?

Residents of aged care homes take an average of 10 medicines regularly, including high-risk medicines. These individuals often have complex medicines regimens and are susceptible to harms like confusion, falls and sedation. This means it’s really important for us to look closely at the medicines charted to see if things can be optimised. Deprescribing might be part of that process.

How can pharmacists minimise inappropriate polypharmacy for residents of aged care homes?

Many older people transition into aged care homes via hospital and a third of existing residents are hospitalised at least annually. Medicines review is one of the many important ways that pharmacists can contribute to identifying potentially inappropriate medicines, as well as deprescribing opportunities. It’s crucial for us to prioritise medicines reconciliation, review and information transfer for this population, particularly because only one in five new residents receive a medicines review in the three months after entering an aged care home. Few receive multiple reviews during their stay.

How does medicines simplification fit with deprescribing?

Simplification involves consolidating existing medicines and can accompany deprescribing. MRS GRACE is a validated, five-step tool that guides pharmacists through the simplification process. We’ve successfully implemented simplification in hospitals and residential and community aged care services, with tangible benefits both for patients and for the staff who administer medicines.

Find out more about MedsAware

A Minute With... Deirdre Criddle + Kieran Broderick

This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2023

Deirdre: Complex Care Coordinator and Pharmacist, CoNeCT MHE, Fiona Stanley Hospital | 2023 Transitions of Care and Primary Care Leadership Committee
Kieran: CoNeCT Complex Care Clinical Pharmacy, Metro CoNeCT | Senior Clinical Pharmacist, Fiona Stanley Hospital

Why is deprescribing important?

Deirdre: October 31st 2019. On this day, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety tabled its powerfully titled interim report “Neglect”. That report condemned the widespread use of inappropriate chemical restraints in aged care and highlighted the importance of engaging pharmacists in the art of deprescribing. Since then, the call for greater governance in medication management across the aged care and disability sectors has become louder. So, when you ask ‘Why is deprescribing important?’ I would suggest that every frail, vulnerable older person deserves the opportunity to engage in this process. Are you providing your patients the opportunity to take control of their medicines journey? Do you know your patient’s attitude to deprescribing?

When more than half of the participants in the 2022 SHPA Pharmacy Forecast predicted that hospitals were unlikely to provide a dedicated resource for a deprescribing stewardship pharmacist by 2027, I knew we had work to do. I am delighted to see SHPA take leadership in this space and ignite the passion for this important medication safety initiative. Let’s stop neglect, end nihilism and start those dedicated deprescribing discussions today. It’s taken 20 years for deprescribing to progress from a ‘new term’ to a ‘Week for Awareness’. Let’s mark today’s date as that moment – that date where we said ‘Yes’ to making real inroads to deprescribing stewardship.

Can you describe a situation in which you’ve initiated deprescribing and the benefit for the patient?

Kieran: In the pursuit of patient-centred care, the role of a transitional care pharmacist should encompass deprescribing as an integral aspect of medication management, carrying implications for the patient and their overall health and wellbeing.

Consider a recent case of mine, a patient with Alzheimer’s, which highlights the importance of shared decision-making and deprescribing. After obtaining a medication history I started the process of reviewing the indication for each medication and critically evaluating the ongoing need for continued use. The patient was in their 90s and experiencing dizziness, hypoglycaemic episodes, rapid cognitive decline and first-degree heart block. The patient’s guardian and daughter also expressed the difficulty in managing a large pill burden with medicines administered several times each day. Collaboratively, we developed a tailored plan to present to the geriatrician to deprescribe several of the patient’s unnecessary supplementation, statin, sulfonylurea, calcium channel blocker and donepezil, and rationalise all medications to once-daily administration in the morning. This would also allow for daily medication prompts to be implemented: an additional strategy to help support ongoing medication compliance and relieve the family of some of their carer stress. This plan was accepted by the geriatrician, resulting in a more streamlined medication regimen that not only reduced the patient’s pill burden but also translated into tangible outcomes - diminished hospitalisations!

This case highlights the indispensability of deprescribing in the realm of patient-centred care and its role in fostering optimal health outcomes.

What is your personal message or mantra for MedsAware Week?

Kieran: For MedsAware week, my personal message revolves around the pivotal role of transitional care pharmacists in deprescribing medications, and how their unique ability to see a patient's home environment and physically assess their medication management practices enhances this process.

My mantra for this week resonates: ‘Empowering Health Through Thoughtful Transition’.

Transitional care pharmacists are assets in the realm of deprescribing and their influence is highlighted when they step into the patient's home environment and delve into their real-life context. Their unique perspective empowers them to evaluate not only the medical aspects but also the practical intricacies of medication management. This ‘in-home' understanding often uncovers hidden challenges that might affect a patient's adherence, prescribed medications, and overall health outcomes. This may include anything from patients storing their medicines on the kitchen benchtop exposed to direct sunlight, poor compliance of current therapy leading to overprescribing, to social factors which can include financial struggles or medicines diversion.

By embracing this holistic approach and patient-centered care, we work towards ensuring that deprescribing decisions are not only based on medical guidelines but also deeply rooted in the patient's daily reality. Uncovering these hidden challenges and ensuring that this is effectively communicated between the hospital and community sectors is how we improve the health of these patients in transitions of care.

Find out more about MedsAware

A Minute With... Thuy Bui

This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2023
Lead Pharmacist, LRH Partnership Project, Alfred Health | 2023 Surgery and Perioperative Medicine Leadership Committee | 2023 Pain Management Leadership Committee

When did you become aware of deprescribing as a concept?

Around 2010.

How can pharmacists minimise inappropriate polypharmacy?

By taking a proactive role in regularly reviewing their patients' medications and advocating for deprescribing where appropriate, especially with high-risk medications.

What is your personal message or mantra for MedsAware Week?

Regular review of medications to be continued, reduced or ceased is crucial.

Find out more about MedsAware

A Minute With... Gauri Godbole

This interview is part of a series for MedsAware: Deprescribing Action Week 2023
Chair, 2023 Geriatric Medicine Leadership Committee, Specialty Practice | Specialist Pharmacist, Aged Care, Gosford Hospital, NSW Health | 2023 Palliative Care Leadership Committee

Why is deprescribing important?

The art and science of deprescribing is a patient-centered, shared decision-making process that empowers patients and families to 'de-trial' medications. Over time, some medications may no longer be of benefit, may be harmful, or no longer fit with the current goals of care. Deprescribing not only reduces the medication burden, drug interactions and potential for errors but has shown to improve patients' quality of life. It is important, however, to approach deprescribing in a systematic way to minimise rebound symptoms or withdrawal effects. There are a number of excellent Australian and international resources available to guide you through this process! Also, I would highly encourage you to check out our SHPA Geriatric Medicine Specialty Practice landing page and attend one of our seminars where deprescribing is always the protagonist! 

Can you describe a situation in which you’ve initiated deprescribing and the benefit for the patient? Or when you explain deprescribing to a patient and they’ve understood the positives? 

Recently, a 93-year-old female patient was admitted to our facility with falls, chronic insomnia and gastrointestinal issues. Upon review, we noted she had been on an SSRI. Further patient interviews revealed that she had been on an SSRI for over 18 years! She clearly remembered being prescribed this as her depressive symptoms were due to loss of her partner. Depression screening during the current hospital admission did not indicate depression. Moreover, SSRIs were worsening her presenting complaints. We explained the potential benefits of 'de-trialling' the SSRI to improve her symptoms. The patient was delighted to hear she may sleep better and fall less! We gave her a detailed written plan to wean off the medication, what to do if the symptoms came back, and communicated this to her GP in the discharge summary. It was a gratifying moment for the team! We used the NSW TAG deprescribing guidelines which also include useful patient-friendly leaflets.

What is your personal message or mantra for MedsAware Week?

I look at deprescribing as a jigsaw puzzle. Pharmacists are an important piece of that puzzle - without us the picture is incomplete! All the interventions should work in harmony to create better outcomes for the patient. In my role as a Drug Burden Index Stewardship Pharmacist, we had the opportunity to empower multidisciplinary teams to learn the principles of deprescribing and become deprescribing ninjas themselves! Secondly, not all recommendations can be implemented during a patient's hospital stay. However, do not give up! Clear communication to the primary care teams with recommendations, goals and following up is of paramount importance and can make a huge difference in patient outcomes!

Find out more about MedsAware

A Minute With... Brenda Shum

This interview is part of a series for International Women's Day
Chief Pharmacist – Royal Perth Bentley Group | SHPA Member | WA Board Director

What factors impact the ability of women to lead others?

Factors that affect an individual’s ability to lead are broadly societal, organisational, and individual. The key component interlinking these is that it is often the perception and expectation of women — both from others and themselves — across these categories, which impact their ability to lead. For example, a woman may have been raised in a culture which primarily attributes caregiving roles to women but is currently living in a society which advocates for women in leadership positions. They may face the challenging duality of being a primary carer in their personal lives, whilst also ensuring they excel as a leader in their professional role. Both roles may carry significant mental and physical loads, and holding both concurrently may have a detrimental impact on the individual’s ability to undertake either. This can result in a destructive cycle of the perception — both by others and oneself — that they are underperforming in either role.  

Reflecting on my personal experiences, whilst we cannot control the perceptions and expectations of others, can manage our own reactions to these pressures, and our perceptions and expectations of ourselves.  

What advice would you give the next generation of women leaders in pharmacy? 

Have a growth mindset — understand that your personal and professional evolution will help you to create and lead the pharmacy profession of tomorrow.  

Embrace opportunities, but after you have considered if they align with your key values and your career trajectory.  

Don’t reject opportunities based on concerns that you do not have the full spectrum of skills and operational knowledge required for them. Trust in your ability to learn these whilst in the role and embrace this initial discomfort.  

Consider vulnerability as a strength, as it helps to create a compassionate and supportive environment in which our team members can flourish. As women, we can be more conscious about exhibiting such traits with the perception that it may indicate weakness. Remember, we are all human, and such interactions help us connect with and better understand our teams.  

Take care of your personal mental and physical health. There will likely be many people over the course of your life that will need your support in both your personal and professional spheres, but you must ensure that you are as well as can be within yourself to be able to give this help.  

How do you equitably distribute your time between your personal and professional roles/commitments? 

I time block my days, particularly weekends, in advance to ensure that I allocate time to these. This does result in some hectic days, but that’s also the way I work best — both in my personal and professional roles! Most days, I do generally have a ‘cut off’ time in the evening, when I will go through a consistent series of actions (e.g. reading for 30 mins), to help wind down and recharge for the following day.

A Minute With... Elizabeth Manias

This interview is part of a series for International Women's Day
Research Professor at Monash University | SHPA Member | Committee of Specialty Practice in Clinical Pharmacy 2014–2017, Member of Transitions of Care and Primary Care Specialty Practice Leadership Committee 2021–2023

Tell us about your career in pharmacy and healthcare.

I have completed bachelor’s and master’s studies in pharmacy and have undertaken a PhD examining health care collaboration and communication in critical care. Aside from being a registered pharmacist, I am also a registered nurse and a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. My professional experience has mainly been in acute hospital settings, but more recently my focus has turned to the importance of managing medicines across transitions of care. Currently, I work as a university professor, where I undertake research in medication safety, consumer participation in health care, and communication between health professionals and patients and families. I am particularly interested in supporting older people with complex health care needs.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, International Women’s Day is a recognition of the need for collective action to achieve gender equality. It identifies the importance of addressing women’s struggles in health, education, and personal and professional relationships so that the whole of humanity benefits. This day symbolises the value of all women, by celebrating differences and supporting those who are in vulnerable situations.

Do you have a woman in pharmacy that you admire? Why?

I admire many women in pharmacy, and it is difficult to identify someone as a definite standout. If I am required to name only one woman, I would have to say Debbie Rigby. She is at the pinnacle of how pharmacists can make an enormous impact on health care. Debbie advocates for the importance of pharmacists on the health care team, with the aim of enabling better medicine management for patients. She is also very active in policy and guideline development, implementation and evaluation, and in supporting and mentoring pharmacists. Debbie is also not afraid to speak out and is a strong advocate for patients and their families.

Over your career what positive changes have been made for women in healthcare?

I feel there is greater inclusion of women in senior executive roles in health care, and in professional and government organisations. There is greater recognition about the important role that women play in healthcare, as demonstrated by celebration of women’s achievements through prizes and awards. Furthermore, in health care environments, there is enhanced recognition about being aware of unconscious bias within ourselves and other people’s behaviour and activities.

What helps you thrive in your workplace?

I thrive on the ability to work with people who are passionate about improving patient and family care by enhancing quality use of medicines. I am also inspired by helping patients and their families to be more involved in medicine decisions. I also really enjoy mentoring other people and helping students to achieve their goals.

A Minute With... Helene Gjone

First in a series for International Women's Day
Pharmacy Intern, Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania | SHPA member| Intern Observer (since 2022)

Do you have a woman in pharmacy that you admire? Why?

I work alongside so many knowledgeable, driven, and passionate women, it would be impossible to name just one!

I admire my primary research supervisor, Dr Laetitia Hattingh, who is a wealth of knowledge about all things research and empowered me to produce two publications during my intern year.

I admire Sarah Barwick, one of the advanced training residents at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH), whose knowledge and passion for ID is contagious (no pun intended). 

I am also incredibly thankful to RHH pharmacists Zoe Thomas and Mel Nizolek, who invited me over to their houses to help me study for the pharmacy intern exams.

How do you plan to reach your career goals?

As an early career pharmacist my key focus is to keep growing and develop a strong general knowledge before I explore specialist and research pathways. I plan to say ‘yes’ to as many learning opportunities as possible and to keep signing up for more high quality SHPA education events   

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Although there is still work to be done, International Women’s Day (IWD) is about celebrating how far we’ve come towards closing the gender gap. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of incredible women before me I now have access to education, the right to vote, the right to own property, and many other things I sometimes take for granted. 

How will you celebrate IWD?

I will be at work wearing my purple scrubs, the colour of IWD! IWD is also a great opportunity to send a thank you card to some of the incredible female mentors who have influenced me professionally.

What helps you thrive in your workplace?

I am driven by intellectual curiosity, so I thrive in situations that allow me the opportunity to continuously learn and grow. Thankfully I still have a lot to learn, so I don’t think I’ll get bored any time soon.

A Minute With... Katie Ambrose

Invited speaker Katie Ambrose, SHPA 2022 Technician of the Year finalist, will present on the Tasmanian Statewide Pharmacy Technician Strategy at MM2022.

What excites you about your work? 

Right now, the focus on growth within the Tasmanian pharmacy technician workforce, and the opportunities being created. My current role gave me the opportunity to delve into the creation of processes and training documentation that will assist our technicians well into the future. It’s been an incredible opportunity to be part of such a huge project! Also, the investments being made into the leadership skills of our pharmacy staff in management roles, putting a focus on the importance of good leadership within our teams.

What is your hidden talent? 

House and interior design. I designed our home and I’m very proud of the result!

What did you rediscover about yourself during lockdown/the pandemic?

A love for the simple life, and discovering new hobbies.

What is your top tip for to reinvigorate yourself?

I think of this more as grounding myself; stop, think, put things into perspective and don’t compare yourself to others. You create your own story.

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

Spending time ‘off-grid’ and away from technology, whether that is at home on the farm, or spending a weekend away with friends exploring our beautiful state.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Make sure you find time every day to have a good laugh! (Thanks Nan and Pop!)

Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Dr Jo Watson

Invited speaker Dr Jo Watson will present ‘Communicating with patients with disabilities and cognitive impairment’ at MM2022. Dr Watson is Postgraduate Studies Course Director and Senior Lecturer in Disability and Inclusion at Deakin University’s School of Health and Social Development.

What excites you about your work?

Having supported people with intellectual disability and complex communication access needs for over 30 years as a Speech Pathologist, researcher and lecturer I am excited to see the evolution in the realisation of human rights for people with disability since Australia’s signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

We have a long way to go however, as a nation, I think the tide has turned, and the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of life (including health) is now a reality.

What do you hope to achieve in your field of work?

I hope my work continues to further the self-determination of people with intellectual disability and complex communication access needs, a group that I believe are rarely heard in the health system.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

There is power in a union! Humans are relational beings and we achieve our best when we work collaboratively and respectfully with one another.

What’s your hidden talent?

Emerging from an hour scuba dive with 3/4s of a tank of air! I require very little oxygen!

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

Putting on a backpack and exploring a new landscape, people and culture, far from my every day.

Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Professor Johanna Westbrook

Invited speaker Professor Johanna Westbrook will present ‘Big data in aged care’ at MM2022. Professor Westbrook is an NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Leadership Fellow, Co-Director of the Safety, Quality, Informatics & Leadership Program at Harvard University and Director, Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research at Macquarie University’s Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

What excites you about your work?

There is so much potential in using existing electronic data silos in the aged care sector to provide meaningful information to care providers, clients and families which can support improvements in care and outcome.

What do you hope to achieve in your field of work?

Demonstrating the value of collaborations between researchers, care providers and families/clients, policy-makers in developing innovative approaches to drive safer and better quality care in the aged care sector.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Be persistent!

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

Getting lost in a book or movie.


Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Bryan Walker

Chair, Pharmacy Technician and Assistants Leadership Committee

In the lead up to Pharmacy Technician Day, we caught up with some SHPA Technician members on their work, career, SHPA membership and plans on #RxTechDay, Tuesday 18 October.

Tell us what excites you about your work as a hospital pharmacy technician?  

I am humbled and honoured by the responsibility I have been given helping patients get well again. What is exciting is making a positive difference in someone’s life. It makes the work very rewarding.

What are your proudest accomplishments and what more do you hope to achieve?  

My proudest achievement has been being a member of the SHPA Technicians and Assistants Leadership Committee. I hope to help technicians form a stronger partnership with pharmacists to achieve a more dynamic approach to learning and training opportunities. 

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?  

SHPA membership has given me the opportunity to meet extraordinary people from a wide array of disciplines. SHPA is a wonderful way to express ideas, get words of encouragement, and to know you are not alone. 

How will you mark 2022 Pharmacy Technician Day?  

I will celebrate with some good food and enjoy the day! 

Find out how SHPA supports Technicians and Assistants

A Minute With... Amanda Bernhagen

Pharmacy Technician and Assistants Leadership Committee

In the lead up to Pharmacy Technician Day, we caught up with some SHPA Technician members on their work, career, SHPA membership and plans on #RxTechDay, Tuesday 18 October.

Tell us what excites you about your work as a hospital pharmacy technician?

It’s ever changing, growing, and improving! It’s exciting to be part of a team that is constantly finding the best way possible to help patients. 

What are your proudest accomplishments and what more do you hope to achieve? 

Being the first ever Tech on the SHPA QLD Branch Committee. I hope to continue working with like-minded assistants and technicians as part of the driving force behind the progression of the pharmacy assistant career path, I strongly believe there is so much more space for growth and optimisation of the role. 

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

At risk of sounding conceited, I believe my SHPA involvement has really helped get my name out there and opened doors for me to be involved in projects that I could only have ever dreamt about previously. It’s so lovely to be a contact for an assistant met through this space, I know I absolutely take advantage of knowing I have assistant friends around Australia I can call or email for their advice or support about the role of a pharmacy assistant/technician.

How will you mark 2022 Pharmacy Technician Day? 

At the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital I like to dedicate the day to celebrating my team, I don’t want to give too much away, in case my team are reading this 😊  
In the past we have celebrated by asking the wider Pharmacy Department to compile some thank you messages or compliments that are given out the to the team, last year this was in addition to custom cookies I had made and stamped with ‘Happy Tech Day’. 

Find out how SHPA supports Technicians and Assistants

A Minute With... Kylie Richardson

Pharmacy Technician and Assistants Leadership Committee

In the lead up to Pharmacy Technician Day, we caught up with some SHPA Technician members on their work, career, SHPA membership and plans on #RxTechDay, Tuesday 18 October.

Tell us what excites you about your work as a hospital pharmacy technician?

Helping people by being part of a safe and efficient heath system. I am a rotational pharmacy technician and I love the different challenges and unique skills and knowledge working in each area of hospital pharmacy provides.  

What are your proudest accomplishments and what more do you hope to achieve?

Being part of a great team of pharmacy technicians who are expanding our scope of practice. I had the opportunity to take part in a ‘State of the Nation’ presentation, and I would love to one day to be part of a Medicines Management SHPA National Conference. 

How has SHPA membership supported you in your career?

SHPA has been a great networking platform to meet like-minded peers both locally and around Australia. I have had the opportunity to be part of the Technician and Assistant Specialty Practice Leadership Committee and Committee Member of the SHPA Tas Branch where I have been a voice for Technicians 

How will you mark 2022 Pharmacy Technician Day?  

We will have a morning tea to celebrate.

Find out how SHPA supports Technicians and Assistants

A Minute With... Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson will co-lead the workshop ‘Stakeholder engagement: how to pitch your case for change and innovation’.

What excites you about my work? 

I actually love my work. I get to have impact on the lives of thousands of people. I get to see my fellow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians given the tools and respect they deserve to provide the care our patients depend on. And I get to work with a team of people who make me deeply proud.

What is my secret superpower? 

Diet Coke, I guess. It’s great for boosting productivity and concentr…

What seriously is my secret superpower? 

My superpower is the team of people around me and the way we work as a team.  A team fuelled by kindness, collaboration, respect, and warmth will get better results than any other team on the planet.

If I have a superpower it’s in drawing these people together and giving them the space to lead with these values in their hearts and embedded in everything they do.   

What does ‘recharging’ look like for me? 

I didn’t drink gin before the pandemic, but over the last three years I have discovered how refreshing it can be…  

But seriously; in Tasmania your approach to recharging needs to be seasonal, a bit like a solar battery system. In summer I make the most of the beautiful sunshine we get here in Tassie with our lovely long days, and spend time on the deck drinking gin with friends, or in the garden building something, or being dragged to a freezing cold beach because my wife tells me the water is actually quite lovely once you get used to it (it isn’t), or taking my kids up to Derby for a ride on the mountain bike trails.

In summer I try and do six months of recharging because the Winter period is a bit more of a slog. In winter, it’s hanging around indoors and playing some Xbox or Playstation. (With gin.)   

What is my top tip to reinvigorate my staff

My tip isn’t rocket science: work-life balance.  I expect everyone to put in their eight hours a day, and no more. The best patient care comes from people who are, themselves, people – not robots.  We all have families to spend time with, loved ones to look after, hobbies to invest time in, friends to hang out with (and, of course SHPA committees to join and conference abstracts to write!)

Often workplaces tend to only reward people who put in 60-hour weeks, but that doesn’t create a culture of staff who feel energised and satisfied – so how can they care with compassion?  The pandemic has made a huge dent in all of our work-life balances… it’s important that, now that things are getting closer to normal, we feel empowered to have the work-life balance we need.

Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Dr David Holden and Josephine To

Dr David Holden and Josephine To will co-lead the workshop ‘Difficult conversations: what you think you heard is not what I thought you said’.

What can attendees expect from your workshop at MM2022?

The workshop will be an opportunity to learn tips and tricks to improve your communication with patients, families and colleagues. Difficult conversations are difficult, but avoiding them doesn’t make them easier or make us better at them. It’s okay to not be perfect and we can learn to communicate better. We hope that you learn some new skills and gain new knowledge about how to communicate well, and importantly learn that every conversation we have is a chance to reflect and keep improving. 

What excites you about your work?

David: Supporting people at their most vulnerable. Working in a team to support patients and families.
Jo: What David said! And seeing people feel more confident in the care they are providing or the care they are receiving.

What did you rediscover (e.g., about yourself, a hobby, about others) during the pandemic?

David: It is ok to be exhausted and ask for help and we can support each other.
Jo: I am very thankful for my support network in and outside of work. A long, slightly complicated cook became a Saturday afternoon routine which I came to enjoy. 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

David: You are not perfect, and that is OK
Jo: You can do it – the advice everyone with imposter syndrome needs to hear!

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

David: Hiking and walking out of phone coverage
Jo: Exercise, a good book and cooking.

Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Professor Jill Klein

Invited speaker Professor Jill Klein will present ‘Stress driving errors, errors driving stress’, informed by her teaching of Clinical Decision Making, Leadership and Resilience and research interests: medical decision making, diagnostic error, and medical student well being. 

What excites you about your work?

Being able to have a positive impact on others, particularly in the area of resilience and well-being for healthcare professionals.

What do you hope to achieve in your field of work?

Wow - that's a big question. Helping as many healthcare workers as possible. 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

I've just read the book 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman - it is full of great advice, I wish I had read it 40 years ago! 

What’s your hidden talent?

I am a soccer goalkeeper and can still make a save off the foot of a 25 year old Brazilian guy. 

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

Sometimes Yoga… and sometimes I have days where I'm just playing for the time to watch episode 3, season 4 of some series on Netflix.

Find out more about MM2022

A Minute With... Betty Chaar

Betty Chaar will present on ‘Ethical challenges in practice’ at MM2022, and is the workshop lead on ‘Ethical decision making in clinical practice’ 

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation and workshop at MM2022?

Attendees can expect to explore in depth some ethical dilemmas in practice, better understand how to manage ethical dilemmas by adopting an approach that involves both clinical and moral reasoning, as well as an enhanced appreciation of the ethical principles underpinning ethical decision making in pharmacy.

What excites you about your work?

Sharing, continuous learning and mentoring. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing generations of young pharmacists blossom into mature, responsible professionals.

What attracted you to studying pharmacy?

I loved the notion of expertise in medicines, and using that expertise to help alleviate pain and suffering.

If you could go back in time, what’s the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Careful who you trust…

What’s your hidden talent?

I think I can claim some talent in floral design. 

What does ‘recharging’ look like for you?

Taking off my watch, turning off the mobile phone, shutting down the laptop and simply not thinking! …and perhaps enjoying some precious time in the sun. 

Find out more about MM2022

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