Happy World Pharmacists Day!

World Pharmacists Day is a great time to reflect on the positive impact that pharmacists have in the healthcare system and on people's lives. It is also a time to think about what areas of our profession can evolve and develop moving forward.

I hope you have all had a chance to celebrate the amazing work that pharmacists do every day, working to provide safe and effective care to your patients.

I absolutely love my role as a community pharmacist and as Canterbury & West Coast Branch President of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.

Over the last year I have been speaking to community groups about what pharmacists do and the services that are available in community pharmacies in Canterbury. This has been rewarding; seeing changes in perspectives from those who thought we still only "count pills" and hearing stories of how much trust and respect members of the public have for their pharmacist. This is work I hope to continue over the next few years.

Over the last week I have had responses from local pharmacists about what it means for them to be working as a pharmacist, where there career as a pharmacist has taken them, study and research that is being undertaken and what brings them joy on a day to day basis. Thank to all of you who have responded. Please enjoy reading what they had to say!

"After over 40 years as a Pharmacist, I still enjoy my involvement with people, being asked for advice and then giving it,helping people and being told that I have helped:and that means a lot to me."

"To be a Pharmacist, is to educate and empower ngā tangata (our people), to understand their medicines and therefore understand the health system and the role we play within that."

"Being a pharmacist to me is a most satisfying occupation, helping resolve a medical issue to improve a persons health. I always aim for them to feel reassured and leave a consultation having had a happy and caring experience."

"My role as the Team Leader for Clinical Quality and Education at Pegasus allows me to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team and has allowed me to better understand the role pharmacists can play to support patients, whanau and communities. Our team has 5 pharmacists, 3 nurses, 3 GPs, 1 physio, 1 qualitative analyst, 1 coordinator and 1 administrator. I enjoy learning from and working with the different professional groups and believe we achieve much better outcomes working together and utilising each other’s strengths.

I feel privileged to lead the Pegasus Clinical Quality and Education team, deliver the Small Group education programme and ultimately support teamwork and promote best practice in primary care. Community Pharmacists have been part of the Education programme for over 9 years now, and I’m looking forward to us hitting the 10 year milestone next year. I often hear that other regions of NZ are envious of the relationships community pharmacists in Canterbury have with their practice teams. We should be proud of this and continue to foster these relationships. "

"I love doing Medicines Use Review work. It is a real privilege to see people in their home environments. My clients really appreciate the service and I often find things that I can do to help with medicines management that wouldn't be obvious if I only saw them in the pharmacy."

"I am currently involved in a project around extravasation of non-cytotoxic medications. We aim to develop a new health pathway for management, update the cannula training and provide learning materials around this topic. I also an involved with alerts on electronic prescribing in the hospital. We try and provide guidance without alert fatigue to provide safer services."

A reminder about Medical Aid Abroad:
"As pharmacists, and as upstanding members of society, our contribution of time or goods to Medical Aid Abroad (MAA) should serve to remind us that our thoughts and actions have far-reaching consequences. The clinicians that treat people less fortunate than ourselves appreciate that we care enough to organise useful medicines for them at no cost.

All pharmacies that send unwanted medicines to MAA are helping the international community. The end users of the returned medicines are always very grateful, and tears are sometimes shed when a container of medicines from New Zealand arrives at a remote or very poor clinic.

Please continue to send us your unwanted medicines (following the stated guidelines!) and consider spending a few hours a month volunteering."

"I like making small interventions on a daily basis which can have a huge impact on health of people I meet, like encouraging people to stop smoking and providing an action plan with nicotine replacement or measuring a persons blood pressure when presenting with headache or persistent cough and then referring them to their GP if appropriate.

Checking for interactions on their electronic medical record when presenting with a prescription or request for a pharmacy medicine can also prevent a serious health problem. So I hope patients will continue to be patient with us and respect all pharmacists."

Thank you to those who took the time to comment. It is a delight to read! We are always intrigued to hear what our members are doing in the field so please keep us in the loop. It would be great to showcase more of the work that is being carried out locally (in the pharmacy profession).

Aleisha Whyte
Canterbury & West Coast Branch President
Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand