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 some of them, to learn about their lives across Australia and how their work in a variety of healthcare settings improves patient outcomes.


A chat with... Brett

A member since 2016, Brett talks about how having SHPA as his professional partner has helped him navigate Residency and begin networking with peers and leaders nationwide within his specialty of Emergency Medicine, to drive his career forward.

‘Through the SHPA website there are online communities where people with speciality practice, you are able to communicate and share ideas and discuss the issues unique to their practice.

‘I find SHPA members to be highly engaged and motivated and passionate about their areas of practice… you know that you can always ask using the forums to get advice or to gain others experience, they are happy to share.'


A minute with... Grace Wong

For Grace Wong, leaving her home city was a shock but experiencing pharmacy around the world and seeing the disparities in healthcare helped ignite her passion and hone her skills.

‘After completing a Masters in Public Health I volunteered for Calcutta Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation based in West Bengal, India, where I reviewed medicines donations, supervised the intern pharmacist, and assisted the medicine team in delivering healthcare in the slum areas of Kolkata.   

‘While a lot has improved in India over the past 20 years I was quite confronted by the pollution, and lack of proper disposal of medicines and the confronting reality of life and death you see around you every day.’ 

A labyrinthine pharmacy career well underway, which has taken her to the Northern Territory, Traralgon in regional Victoria, India and back to Melbourne, and comprising community, technician and hospital pharmacy as well as experience in home medication reviews, Grace felt inspired to launch Pharmacists for the Environment Australia (PEA) in 2016. 

With a commitment to increasing awareness and encouraging the growth of environmentally sustainable solutions and initiatives in hospital and community pharmacy, Grace says it’s important for pharmacists to take a step back from the detailed work they do and understand the ripple effect the profession has on people and the planet.  

Her keen interest in sustainability has seen Grace act as a ‘Green Champion’ for the Western Health Pharmacy Department, become involved in their Five-Year Sustainability Action Plan and take out the People’s Choice Award at the National Medicines Symposium 2018 for her poster ‘How Green is your Pharmacy?’ 

‘Our poster and abstract just got accepted into the 78th FIP World Congress in Glasgow in September and I’m really looking forward to being inspired by people from across the globe who are working in this space, and bringing new ideas back to Australia.’ 

While Grace has a full plate working as a pharmacist at Western Health, as an academic detailer for NPS MedicineWise, and on her charitable foundation, she says she always makes time to teach yoga. 

‘I’ve been practising since 2009 when I was at Austin Health and it’s come full circle – I’ve really enjoyed deepening my knowledge around the esoteric underpinning of yoga and learning from two highly experienced yogic masters in their 70's’.


A chat with... Rita, SHPA's 5000th member

In a special video commemorating her unique position as SHPA’s 5000th member, Rita Skipper, Rotational Pharmacist at Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia explains how her journey to membership was an unorthodox one.

My interest was always in hospitals, but I started my career as a community pharmacist as I also had a passion for customers and clients and the communication that comes from healthcare in that setting.

‘After a while I really started to miss some of the research and education aspects, so I began the move back toward hospital pharmacy and I rejoined SHPA earlier this year.’

Rita, who begins in a new role as Clinical Pharmacist at HPS Pharmacies next week, says she is looking forward to driving her career forward through her SHPA membership.

‘I plan to make use of all the resources, join Specialty Practice streams and get to some of the clinically-focused face-to-face CPD seminars.

‘I’m amazed at how much SHPA has grown in terms of services provided since I was first a member in 2011, and I’m looking forward to learning from peers and leaders in the field.’


A minute with... Ruby Graham

Ruby Graham knew moving to Alice Springs to start an internship would take her out of her comfort zone, but she never anticipated how rewarding it would be.

‘On both a professional and personal level, the last five months at Alice Springs Hospital really have been a gift.’

In search of an adventure after studying, working in community pharmacy and completing a placement on the Sunshine Coast, Ruby secured both a regional internship and a place in the University of Queensland (UQ) Pharmacy Intern Training Program.

‘I decided to take a chance - moving to the outback was an adjustment at first, but the pharmacy team here have been very welcoming and UQ have provided support every step of the way.’

Ruby says the transition hasn’t been without it challenges – from severe disease states to language and health literacy barriers, her clinical and cultural understanding have been put to the test.

‘The first time I had to treat Norwegian scabies was really challenging because it was completely different to what I was used to, but thanks to the amazing insights and clinical knowledge of the health team it was an excellent learning experience.’

While Ruby misses her family and friends at home, she’s taking every opportunity to experience all the outback has to offer.

‘Every couple of weeks we’ll take a picnic to one of the watering holes nearby or I’ll climb up Mount Gillen and watch the sunset or rise over the beautiful orange desert and red rocks – there’s really nothing like it.’


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