Resident of the Year

Launched in 2017, SHPA’s Foundation Residency is Australia’s first structured, formalised, supported and accredited national pharmacy residency program. It offers participants invaluable opportunities to develop their clinical knowledge and skillsets through exposure to a broad range of activities, such as research, education and committee involvement.

The SHPA Resident of the Year competition celebrates these achievements.


2021 SHPA Resident of the Year 

The 2021 SHPA Resident of the Year competition features Foundation Residents who are SHPA members and are in the second year of their Residency, or who completed their Foundation Residency between August 2020 and July 2021. 

National final

Join us to find out who will be SHPA’s Resident of the Year 2021! Hosted by Kylee Hayward, SHPA Head of Workforce Advancement, this interactive event will feature five Foundation Residents finalists who will each deliver an eight-minute presentation on an interesting case, research project or audit, or a recent learning encountered during their Residency, followed by questions from the audience. 

Date: Wednesday 16 March 2022
Time: 7.00–8.00 pm AEDT
View finalists / register →


2020 Resident of the Year and finalists

Following the success of 2019's inaugural competition, the 2020 Resident of the Year was held virtually on Friday 20 November, ahead of the 2020 SHPA 2020 Virtual Congress. 

Eight Foundation Residents finalists each delivered a five-minute 'lightning' presentation on an aspect of their residency experience – a research project or audit, an interesting case, or a significant learning experience – followed by questions from the audience. 

Mika Varitimos – 2020 Resident of the Year
Medication Safety Pharmacist/Post-Resident Pharmacist, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane

'I thoroughly enjoyed being able to rotate through the Neurology/Stroke ward during my time with the Medical team. The highly experienced multidisciplinary team was brilliant. They included me on ward rounds and helped me to learn so much during this foundation period. I think Neurology represents an area of relatively untapped potential for pharmacists. It was powerful to see how much could be achieved with the right medicines in patients with conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.'

Presentation: The time is now: ensuring timely and appropriate medications for patients with Parkinson's disease.

2020 Finalists

Georgia Bish
Clinical Pharmacist, Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat

'Picking just one highlight of the program is very difficult, as there were so many highlights for me. Finishing the manuscript for my research project was a highlight as it culminated so much work and learning I completed during the two years. The huge portfolio of work that I managed to complete during my time as a resident, and the changes in skills and my confidence as a pharmacist would definitely be highlights also.'

Presentation: When snakes bite – a learning experience on the go

Matthew Hollett
Clinical Pharmacist, Barwon Health, Geelong

'My highlight of the residency program overall was having the opportunity to rotate through different clinical and operational roles, whilst having support to learn more about each area. It really helped me to improve my working clinical knowledge as a whole.'

Presentation: Research is a journey, not a destination​

Bianca Jones
Acting Dispensary Team Leader, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart

'The support of a structured program was invaluable. I gained skills in all areas of pharmacy including dispensary, clinical, management skills and research. The management and research component of the residency, alongside active reflection and feedback, has been a highlight for me.'

Presentation: Blood, not always thicker than water: Co-administration of DOACs and VTE prophylaxis ​

Negin Nasseh
Ophthalmology Pharmacist, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane

'The highlight of the program has been the people. It has been so valuable to be connected to a group of like-minded individuals to learn from and to form a support network with. I'm also grateful to have had opportunities to be mentored by and learn from leaders in the field, especially through events like SHPA seminars.'

Presentation: Assessing the need for pharmacist-led telephone interviews in the Pre-admission Clinic​

Jennie Nguyen
Surgery and Endoscopy Centre Pharmacist, Austin Health, Melbourne

'One of the highlights of the residency program was the opportunity to collaborate with and undertake a research project with the senior ED pharmacist and ED physician to model opioid use behaviour in the ED. Being involved in this project helped developed my research skills and gave me an appreciation of the process involved in turning a research idea into a publication.'

Presentation: Estimating the proportion of patients who transition to long-term opioid use following oxycodone initiation in the emergency department​

Ella Raguz
Clinical Educator, Greenslopes Private Hospital Pharmacy, Greenslopes

'Being exposed to the different elements of the Residency Program was really the highlight for me. The program made me get out of my comfort zone, experience activities outside the regular role of a clinical pharmacist and mostly provided me with the opportunity to learn about myself, not just as a pharmacist, but as a person too.'

Presentation: Pumping up Safety: Implementing a National Drug Library​

Georgia Walsh
Pharmacist, Monash Health, Melbourne

'The highlight for me has been the constructive guidance from my preceptors and my peers which has fostered both personal and professional growth. It has been an invaluable opportunity throughout the residency program to receive feedback from a wide range of colleagues. Receiving feedback from preceptors, nurses, doctors and allied health professionals is something that will not only improve my practice as a clinical Pharmacist, but will transfer into future opportunities outside of the clinical setting.'

Presentation: Time to define antimicrobial risk: Proposal of a paediatric antimicrobial stewardship risk rating tool


2019 Resident of the Year

For the first time, the SHPA Resident of the Year final was held at Medicines Management 2019 (MM2019), the SHPA National Conference, 14–16 November on the Gold Coast.

Six finalists delivered five-minute presentations which highlighted their key learnings from the Australia-first program.​

Jacinta Castello – 2019 Resident of the Year
Renal Pharmacist, Austin Health, Melbourne, Vic

Jacinta Castello’s presentation ‘Opioid use following total knee and hip arthroplasty – not always a case of oversupply' focussed on her research which looked at opioid use following surgery, a key priority area for medication safety across Australia, and the subject of increasing clinical and community focus. In presenting her award, SHPA CE Kristin Michaels said, ‘Through her work, she has contributed to greater understanding of opioid prescribing at all-important transitions of care as patients move from the acute setting back into the community, and her dedication and passion have made her a truly deserving 2019 SHPA Resident of the Year.’

Jacinta said, ‘I applied for a residency position at the end of my internship, and at the time the key things that appealed to me was having an experienced pharmacist as a mentor for each rotation and looking into the ‘why’ behind therapeutic recommendations. Looking back now, the residency program at the Austin definitely delivered on both aspects.’

2019 Finalists

Luke Harb
Clinical Pharmacist – Oncology and Medication Safety Pharmacist, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW
Presentation: ‘Empowering development: A Residency reflection’

‘Now I have completed the Foundation Residency Program I feel I have the personal and professional confidence to practice as a pharmacist in a variety of roles. The compulsory aspect of building a professional portfolio allows me to showcase my development and gives me the confidence to aim for higher-grade roles in the future.’​

Sophie Mokrzecki
Acting Senior Clinical Pharmacist, Sub-acute Care Unit, Rehabilitation and Gerontology, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Qld
Presentation: ‘Prescribing the perfect prescription; pharmacist-led education for final year medical students’

‘The program allowed me the opportunity to rotate through many different departments of our pharmacy which has given me the confidence to practice as a senior pharmacist in a location external to the main hospital, creating other logistical aspects to consider, as well as run clinics from this setting.’​

Jenny Nguy
Geriatric Pharmacist, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth
Presentation: ‘Dabigatran plasma concentrations and its effects in clinical practice’

‘Residency has helped me improve my knowledge, critical thinking, teaching, research, confidence and leadership skills. It has allowed me to work towards my goal of becoming a well-rounded pharmacist who has the skills to provide optimal patient care and able to provide support to all my colleagues.’​

Lisa Rathjen
Senior Pharmacist in Mental Health and General Rotational Pharmacist, Flinders Medical Centre, SA Pharmacy, Adelaide, SA
Presentation: ‘Deprescribing antihypertensives in the elderly – room to move’

‘The SHPA Foundation Residency Program has given me experience in a variety of areas and provided me with opportunities to take on more senior activities, like committee involvement, protocol reviews, workforce recruitment and research projects and audits.’​

Louise Rix
Rotational Pharmacist, Calvary Public Hospital, Canberra
Presentation: ‘Reflections of a Resident’

‘As an early career pharmacist, residency has given me many opportunities, which have fast-tracked my development and exposed me to far more areas of the hospital and pharmacy than I would otherwise have experienced this early in my career. I feel like I am further along in my development, and more confident in my abilities.’