Pharmacist’s significant contribution to the future of the profession

Media release: 23 June 2021

Roughly 3,400 pharmacist interns have passed through the EVOLVE Intern Training Programme under the guidance of Debbie Wallace.

Debbie Wallace recently stepped down from her role as Manager of the EVOLVE Intern Training Programme with the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand to take up a new role as Quality and Risk Team Lead Pharmacy at Wellington Hospital.

The Society’s Chief Executive Richard Townley says, “Debbie made a very significant contribution to the future of the profession through her leadership of the EVOLVE programme over the past 15 years.”

The EVOLVE programme delivers the post graduate programme that enables interns to develop the skills they need to register as pharmacists.

Debbie joined the Pharmaceutical Society’s EVOLVE team in October 2006 and was appointed as Manager of the team in 2014.

She is a registered pharmacist, with over 30 years’ experience in the pharmacy profession and holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education.

Business as usual in her role meant managing the EVOLVE programme for over 200 pharmacy interns and their preceptors each year, including all training days and assessment centres.

Assessment centre is a huge undertaking each year, involving over 250 interns, 100 assessors and 80 actors in 2 locations over 3 days each year.

The EVOLVE programme is accredited by the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand. The three-yearly accreditation process is undertaken by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) and took place during 2020.

In 2020, the report from APC stated, “the EVOLVE programme is rigorous and contemporary and will set interns up well for future practice.”

The report went on to say, “the program has shown itself to be flexible and adaptable during the recent COVID-19 lock down period.”

Under Debbie’s leadership the EVOLVE programme has developed several innovative initiatives to ensure the pharmacy profession in New Zealand maintains the highest level of competency and professionalism.

In 2016, Debbie developed an innovative pilot programme to place interns in general practice surgeries. She has also involved the Māori Pharmacists Association (Ngā Kaitiaki o te Puna Rongoā) in providing cultural training as part of the programme.

In 2019, she ran a pilot immunisation training workshop for intern pharmacists, in collaboration with the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC).

The pilot was so successful that from 2020 all intern pharmacists have undergone vaccinator training as a regular part of the EVOLVE Intern Training Programme.

This year, the quality of the preceptor assessor training that the EVOLVE team has been providing to preceptor pharmacists for many years was recognised by the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC).

As a result, IMAC asked the Society to write and deliver a bespoke online assessor training programme for health professionals from the wider health sector.

“The Society will miss Debbie’s leadership, support and excellent baking. Wellington hospital are fortunate to have her joining their team,” says Megan Scott, EVOLVE team member.

Jonny Mah has been appointed to replace Debbie as Manager of the EVOLVE Intern Training Programme. Jonny has been with the Society since 2015 as part of the EVOLVE team.