Organisation: Therapeutic Goods Administration
Job Title: Pharmacist – Medicines Regulation
Word Limit: 700 words maximum each criteria
Describe a recent achievement, project or task that you played a major role in, and which had to
be completed within a demanding deadline. Describe some of the strategic decisions you took
to ensure the deadline and the objectives were both met.
As a hospital pharmacist, I regularly face situations where I am the sole pharmacist available with a
high volume of patient discharges requiring medication to be dispensed under very tight
timeframes. Approximately 30 patients could be discharged on a peak day that require medication
prior to leaving the hospital, giving us a two hour timeframe to assess, conduct any follow up
queries or advice with medical staff, and dispense. Any failure to dispense medication in a
hospital environment, in a timely manner could have significant impacts not only on the activities
and work of doctors and nurses at the hospital but also results in indirect costs incurred by the
hospital itself in terms of delayed discharges, late admissions and overall patient dissatisfaction.
To reduce this risk, I have developed a system to minimise any potential delays, which includes an
initial determination of patients being discharged, admitted, or requiring medication that day,
prioritisation according to the level of urgency and categorisation according to prescription type
and location within the hospital.
I consult with my assistant and delegate tasks as appropriate, and ensure that in prioritising, I have
considered compliance with the relevant legislation, regulations and standards related to the
medication required. To ensure the accuracy and efficacy of this, I liaise closely with my assistant,
nurses and doctors. Throughout the day there are often unforeseen disruptions arising, which
affect this prioritisation. This can be due to unforeseen changes in patient circumstances,
situations where my evaluation of medication requires follow up with the medical staff to ensure
the correct prescriptions are dispensed, and other ad hoc requests from medical staff for
additional information or research into new or variations to existing medication as required.
Working in these situations means I am able to adapt and reprioritise effectively, to ensure the
best outcome for the doctors, nurses and of course, the affected patients. I have built strong
rapport with the hospital staff and due to my ability to manage conflicting priorities and deliver
quality results in tight timeframes, they are confident in relying on our pharmacy to deliver the
correct medication on time, as well as provide any advice or seek their confirmation should there
be a potential issue or concern in relation to the requested medication. Their confidence is
evidenced in the regular positive feedback I receive from patients, nursing staff and doctors.
As Pharmacy Manager at Sydney Airport, I regularly had to prioritise tasks such as liaising and
collaborating with other Store Managers at the airport, engaging customers, supporting my more
experienced team members and up skilling the less experienced store assistants. These were
made particularly complex as I needed to ensure all activities of the store were compliant with
legislative requirements and met professional quality standards, while ensuring the store met key
performance criteria. Techniques used to manage this included close collaboration with the entire
team using clear communication, including delegation of tasks where possible to enable the
necessary training of the store assistants. In addition I managed the budget and assisted in
carrying out stock orders, sharing tasks with the other three pharmacists to enable cohesive and
efficient operation of the pharmacy. Further measures included developing and implementing
appropriate processes to effectively track and monitor legislative requirements and the overall
performance of the store over time. Despite being a new store and having only a three-month
timeframe to meet performance targets, by working closely with the team and paying close
attention to customer behaviour, we exceeded the store performance targets, doubling the
targets set and providing a strong starting foundation for the store’s ongoing performance.
Describe a recent achievement, project or task that required you to work closely with other
colleagues to achieve a challenging outcome. Describe some of the difficulties you experienced
working in a team environment and how you overcame them.
My current role of Pharmacist for St George Private Hospital involves working collaboratively with
medical staff and other professions, to maximise positive patient outcomes. This requires tailoring
my approach to providing health and medication information to suit the intended audience, using
easily understood explanations in plain English with inpatients and outpatients who have no
medical knowledge avoiding jargon wherever possible, and providing clinical advice and input to
health care professionals and medical experts to optimise patient outcomes.
I have many instances where on closer inspection of scripts, liaison with the patient and
understanding of their medical history have led to my identification of an anomaly or error in the
medication sought. Where this has been identified, I have been conscious in consulting the
medical practitioner who prepared the script in person to discuss any concerns and resolve the
matter amicably. In all instances I have maintained and improved the close professional
relationship I have with the nurse or doctor involved, and ultimately ensured a positive outcome
for the patient involved.
In my role as Pharmacist Manager, I played a key part in establishing a new pharmacy store, along
side two other pharmacists and three assistants, at the Sydney Airport. This was particularly
challenging, as the pharmacy was new, requiring a coordinated marketing approach to make
customers aware of the store and to gradually develop a client base and deliver on performance
targets for the store. I was responsible for the overall performance of the store and team, and
initially I was heavily focused on establishing new and recurring customers, listening to their
concerns and making changes to the store layout, process and procedures, to better tailor our
services towards their needs.
One example of changes made was the layout of medication. These were initially organised in
alphabetical order, however, on closer inspection of the grouping of medications commonly
sought by customers, and brainstorming ideas with the entire team, we reorganised the
medication according to medication types, thereby reducing unnecessary time spent travelling
across the store for various medication, and improving the customer experience in the process.
These improvements to business processes, while small in nature, led to significantly improved
customer outcomes, reduced delays in provision of medication, and led to greater efficiency in
handling times of prescriptions for team members.
I quickly formed a close rapport with airport staff including the Golden Ambassador so they could
make any potential customers aware of our existence and location. I established systems to
closely monitor the sales and performance of the store, holding regular team meetings to make
staff aware of the progress against targets, results of customer surveys, and discuss tasks and the
delegation of tasks as appropriate.
An added complexity was that all three assistants for the store had no prior exposure in pharmacy
or retail, requiring an extensive training program and rapid development in their capabilities, to
ensure they could properly assist customers and be aware of legislative requirements, without
overwhelming the staff in doing so. I needed to consider the personal traits and skill sets of each
assistant, including their learning styles, the speed at which they could each absorb information
and understand it, and specific approaches to ensure that learning was able to be translated into
their daily tasks and activities. Working closely with the other pharmacists, we developed a
comprehensive education program for the store assistants that we all played a role in.
Communication was a core focus for me to ensure the team was working in concert, and to
facilitate this, I circulated regular updates via email of any changes in store policy or other external
implications affecting team roles. I also established separate individual catch ups to check how all
the team members were feeling and performing, also seeking feedback from them on what they
needed from me to support them in their roles.
As a result, the store exceeded the performance targets substantially, doubling the sales targets
set for the store within the three month timeframe provided. We were also able to establish and
maintain repeat customer business – particularly difficult given the nature of an airport location
Describe the major area of knowledge or skills that you are required to develop and keep up to
date to be successful in your current role. Describe how you apply your expertise to your work
and how you have maintained your knowledge of skills in the last year.
With experience in both hospital and community pharmacist roles, across dispensary, clinical and
management capacities I apply a broad array of existing skills on a daily basis. My skills including
pharmacology, therapeutics, assessing impacts of potential drug interaction and adverse
reactions, clinical disease state, patient evaluation, diagnosis and identification of any appropriate
medication as well as referral to a doctor (both standard or urgent) where appropriate. I have
extensive interpersonal skills both for customer and client service experience and in working with
other medical professionals including doctors and nursing staff. I have good rapport and
professional working relationships with medical staff in my current role and I am very capable
working both individually and as part of a broader team. Recognition of these skills has occurred
both in my current role, which has led to all hospital staff feeling comfortable accepting my advice
or seeking advice from me, as well as in my previous roles. Doctors and nurses have expressed a
preference in contacting me for advice or to provide medication before approaching my other
Through my studies and career, I have developed excellent skills the Microsoft Office Suite;
preparing advices, reports, policies, procedures and other material, including presentations. I have
also become highly proficient in the use of statistical software SPSS and electronic databases
including eMIMS, eAMH, eTG, Merck, ScienceDirect, Pubmed and Medline, and have exceptional
skills in operating dispensing software such as FRED, LOTS, Aquarius and iPharmacy.
As a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and subscriber to Pharmacy News, NPS
newsletters and the Australian Journal of Pharmacy, I am able remain current on all changes to
existing or new regulations and drug knowledge. I continue to enhance my skills and knowledge
through a range of training including continuing professional development (CPD), often
undertaking more than the requisite 40 CPD points as required by the Pharmacy Board of
Australia, and further studies. I am currently undertaking a Masters of Public Health, exposing me
to the influence and importance public policy has on community health outcomes. It has also
provided me with a greater knowledge of evidence-based assessment, diagnosis and dispensation
and the importance of biostatistics in evaluating scientific and clinical papers. I will be learning
epidemiology, drug evaluation, qualitative health research, health promotion and health
economics, which will enable me to further my knowledge and understanding on how to
implement evidence, based approach on public health. Additionally I also will receive recognition
and CPD points for my Masters studies. I have completed Home Medicine Review Stage 1 and am
in the process of gaining Stage 2 accreditation. I am also nearing completion of the online Global
Health course provided by Harvard University – looking at public health within Australia from a
global perspective, and in comparison to other models internationally.
Currently, as a Pharmacist in St George Private Hospital, I use these skills and knowledge to assess
the use of medication in consultation with medical staff and health care professionals. In doing so,
I assist with NHS claims and drug addiction checks. I also apply my knowledge and learning to
assess and identify any medication issues to ensure the use of those medications meets regulatory
requirements and standards in quality. Any issues are discussed and resolved with medical staff
prior to dispensation, and I regularly reference literature and consult with fellow pharmacists in
Previously as dispensary Pharmacist at HPS Pharmacies Randwick and Clinical Pharmacist at
Calvary Hospital, I would use my interpersonal skills in conducting ward rounds and dispensing
prescriptions. My technical knowledge was often applied in undertaking paediatric dose
calculations and preparing Webster packs. In carrying out ward rounds I was continually assessing
for possible drug interaction or adverse reactions, incompatibilities or toxicity effects and
documenting these in Pharmacy intervention records and patient notes.