A small team committed to the philosophy of collaboration and going the extra mile for their patients is a feature of Wheatbelt Health Centre Pharmacy in Northam, WA.
And Managing Pharmacist Georgia Bolden said while it was a tight unit, the pharmacy invested in each member of the team.
“We invest in training and ensuring everyone’s skills are up-to-date,” she said.
“Our team has grown significantly from three to five. Both pharmacists are vaccination trained and all staff CPR trained so vaccinations are able to be given at all times we are open.
“We have invested time for staff to do online and on-site training, we are also continually upskilling our staff and giving them the opportunity to develop and enhance their own knowledge bases.
“Idea generation and creating a solid, nurtured team is what has given us stability and the ability to grow and excel.”
Ms Bolden said the collaboration and team work set the pharmacy up for a viable and sustainable future.
“The development of core collaborations and our positioning as the medication experts in town is how we future-proof ourselves. Our future is to build on relationships with patients and other healthcare providers.”
Ms Bolden said proprietor Daniel O’Driscoll had totally supported changes in the pharmacy.
“He is truly a remarkable person to work for. He has been supportive of all my suggested changes. We work fantastically as a team and play to each other’s strengths.”
The pharmacy’s approach to collaboration with other health professionals is a foundation plank in its overall business and patient philosophy.
Ms Bolden said the commitment to collaboration was one aspect that made the pharmacy unique.
“Combine that with our investment in the future and our amazing staff and you have a pharmacy that goes the extra mile for our patients,” she said.
The collaboration with other health professional extends beyond what many would think was a usual benchmark.
“We work closely with our local GPs and there are three clinics in town,” she said.
“I get out and visit them personally and get in front of them to tell them what we are working on at the pharmacy and what we are able to do, such as MedsChecks.
“They really appreciate this and are very open and accepting and in turn refer back to us when they have a question or want us to look after a patient in a particular way.
“One GP clinic is adjacent to us so it’s like being a pharmacy in a GP clinic – but without the funding.
“But the proximity just strengthens the relationship.”
Ms Bolden said the pharmacy provided flu vaccines to the community in collaboration with the neighbouring GP clinic.
“Our collaboration sees us immunise the bulk of the clinic’s private patients to reduce the need for appointments. In 2018 we administered about 100 influenza vaccines. This year we administered more than 300 vaccines with two accredited pharmacists available at all times.”
The pharmacy also works closely with the local hospital.
“I’m very active with the hospital, not just the emergency department and wards, although we work closely with them as well.
“In the hospital I do a lot of work with the palliative care ward because often people with chronic illness swing from the hospital to home so we make sure they are looked after.
“This is a time when they can fall between the cracks and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We work with the hospital, the doctors, the patient and their family and delve down to find the best solutions for the patient.
“I think a great part of our success in helping these patients is that we are patient-centric in our approach.
“We make sure they are OK and not just having to fit in with the system when it comes to the care they receive.”
Ms Bolden said that in recognition of their work the pharmacy had been invited to participate in WA Country Health Service clinical or social work, an honour she had not heard of being given to any other pharmacy.
“We are the first pharmacy I’ve heard of that this has happened to and it’s all because of our involvement with patients,” she said.
“It is a recognition that we are integrated with their care and make sure they are ok. That’s what we are here for.
“We look after a number of patients who could easily fall through the gaps because of their situation but we make sure that doesn’t happen and that they are looked after.
“We are able to provide that extra bit of care to help them.
“Too many pharmacists get wrapped up in the day-to-day minutiae and lose sight of the fact that their patients are still people. We make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Ms Bolden said while this was often hard work, it was always rewarding.