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What makes a winner?

David Paulmert
Winner MIMS/Guild Intern of the Year 2018

Moving to Port Douglas turned from a crazy idea to one of the best decisions I could have ever made.

I wasn’t sure what might happen in a year’s time, whether I’d be packing my bags and heading back to the Gold Coast or what opportunities might arise in the meantime.

It took a couple of weeks of settling in when I realised that I wanted to stick around in Port Douglas for a while.

I decided that if I was going to stay here, I would need to dive in head first and make it happen, so my original goals of absorbing knowledge and improving myself dissolved into a clear objective of improving the lives of everyone around me.

I aligned myself with nearby health professionals by delivering several letters to local GPs, politely informing them of who I was and my place in the professional body in town. These letters had more impact than I’d anticipated.

They resulted in local GP and allied health professionals calling the pharmacy and asking for my direct input on patient therapy decisions.

In multiple cases, they visited me instore afterward to debrief and thank me. It was satisfying to show the local health professional body exactly where a pharmacist can integrate to improve patient care.

The value of networking with local practitioners is quite apparent in observing patient outcomes.

A conversation on the phone with a GP where they shed some light on quitting smoking, and some key points they discuss with patients, would help me with counselling my next patient on nicotine replacement therapy.

A quick discussion on the adverse effects of colchicine would influence prescribed directions on many subsequent prescriptions for acute gout flare-ups.

I was very glad that I did my internship with the Guild as it allowed me to attend the biggest networking event of the year, APP. It was there, and it is there every year, that I am able to learn from passionate individuals many things that I didn’t even know there were to know.

Throughout the year, I turned to the pharmacy and sought to free up my time from robotic tasks in order to spend more of it with patients.

I found it enjoyable to reflect on a process that I had performed countless times, think about what made it time consuming, and then come up with an efficient solution to speed it up.

To this end, I improved the systems our team follow for special orders, Webster packing, emergency contraceptives, faxed prescriptions and the layout of the dispensary.

I always began with a written proposal to my boss on exactly what I wanted to achieve, why I wanted to achieve it, and my exact plan — sometimes the change was very small, but very impactful.

It’s crazy how much a small checklist attached to special order requests can relieve confusion, double handling, over/under charging patients and difficulty in finding stock!

If I could recommend anything to interns or interns-to-be, it would be to get your hands dirty.

No-one will tell you what to do to make yourself stand out, you just need to find something you’re passionate about and dig in.

Your intern year will be what you make it, and although I’m only at the start, I believe that will stand true for the rest of my career, and your career.

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