Stephane is an early career pharmacist who graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Pharmacy, majoring in community retail pharmacy. He has completed an advanced diploma in Pharmacy leadership through the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and is certified in complex pharmaceutical compounding. Stephane is a previous winner of the Aspen Medical Innovative
pharmacist of the year award.
Stephane is working for “Blooms the Chemist”, one of NSW’s largest pharmacy franchises which has provided him the opportunity to practice throughout NSW. He was recently offered a partnership within two Blooms the Chemist franchises in the Hunter area and is avidly looking forward to these new challenges. Outside of work he is known for his passion for outdoors whether it is surfing, freediving or bike riding.
1. How do you manage your work/life balance?
With difficulty! There is no doubt that the work/life balance is one of the biggest challenges young professionals face today. Over the years I have found a few things that have helped me.
First, be a morning person! Starting your day right is the key to having a productive and rewarding day. Be an early riser and get your daily dose of endorphins before work. It makes me feel great and no doubt increases my productivity.
Second, use your time wisely. In today’s world, we all wish we could find that extra hour. I discovered that in fact I had enough time to achieve my objectives, I was simply not prioritizing well and using my time judiciously. For instance, I spend approximately 1.5 hours driving per day so instead of listening to the radio and let my mind wandering, I use this time for professional development, phone conferencing or social calls. And lastly, make someone (including you) happy every day. Most of the time it only takes a quick chat and a smile!
2. Where do you see your industry heading and how have you positioned yourself to benefit from these changes?
More, more and more Technology! I firmly believe that future technology developments for pharmacy practices will cause the introduction of massive changes in community health care. We are already appreciating the real benefits of data sharing and systems integration as well as multidisciplinary collaboration which is driving health care costs lower for everyone. This is only in the early stages and further innovative advances will bring more possibilities like better support for the delivery of safe, effective, and efficient healthcare and collaborative models of care.
More in-depth training and peer sharing practices will be necessary to enhance the role of community pharmacists to have a greater level of responsibility and accountability for medicine management. I see the relationship between doctors and pharmacists changing in terms of
more accountability and responsibilities shifted to the pharmacist function. Members of the community are mostly unaware of the additional services a pharmacist can offer without the need to see a GP first. Your local pharmacist is able among other things to:
- Issue one month of most contraceptive pills without a prescription
- Administer Whooping cough, tetanus or a current flu vaccination on-site
within 30 mins without a prescription
- Provide a ‘not fit for work’ certificate
Moving forward, I feel the autonomy of pharmacists is only going to grow. We are already witnessing a massive impetus for pharmacists to prescribe an individual’s medication dose and pharmacogenomics. Into the future, it will be imperative for pharmacists to adopt both this expanding scope of practice and technology advancements in order to be successful.
3. What characteristics do you think an individual need to be successful in your profession (or in general)?
I believe that the single most important characteristic for a pharmacist is empathy. Empathy on three levels, cognitive, emotional and compassionate. It is essential that a pharmacist be able to put herself/himself into a patient’s place to appreciate their problem, medication needs, and overall health. The ability to feel a person’s emotions alongside them and sensing their pain leads to devising a more individualised action plan to provide help and advice as well as greatly facilitating the patient’s management process.
I consider that a sound clinical knowledge is also vitally important for a pharmacist. I endeavor to remain up to date with current evidence-based practice guidelines and recommendations to tailor my advice to my patient’s needs.
4. How do you define success?
Happiness at all levels, with family, friends and work.
5. Do you have a life motto/mantra that keeps you going?
I personally feel encouraged and motivated by two mantras:
- Today’s issues and challenges will become tomorrow’s standards. So, address and embrace them as early as possible to become a leader and a mentor NOT a follower (even on those days when you just can’t be bothered).
- Is the juice worth the squeeze? Sometimes you just have to sit back and think whether the risk is worth the reward.