Kawerau pharmacist wins national award
14 August 2015
A PROJECT to support rheumatic fever prevention in Kawerau has helped Michelle Whyte earn the national best young pharmacist award for 2015.
Miss Whyte received the accolade at a formal evening on Saturday at the New Zealand Pharmacy Awards in Auckland.
The Trident High School old girl moved to Otago to study, but returned to the Eastern Bay during her holidays and worked at the Kawerau Pharmacy in Tarawera Mall.
In 2013, after completing an internship at a pharmacy in Gisborne, she returned to Awakeri and began working for Kawerau Pharmacy full time.
This week, a congratulatory banner adorned one of the pharmacy’s windows. Since the awards, numerous people have popped in to congratulate her.
Miss Whyte said she enjoyed being part of the community and felt people really appreciated her skills.
“I have so many more opportunities here. You also know the community and they know you; it’s a lot more than just dispensing.”
She said there was a myth that pharmacists just counted pills; but this was only a part of her role. It also included a considerable education component.
Pharmacists who have registered during the past five years are eligible to win the award.
The second requirement is to submit an entrepreneurial initiative completed over the past year in a community, a pharmacy, a hospital, or in a pharmaceutical industry.
Miss Whyte’s project addressed rheumatic fever by educating people involved with the Kawerau Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme about pharmaceuticals available for treating the illness.
It also created new labels and other information to educate customers.
She also organised a donation of BLIS Lozenges from the manufacturer. They helped prevent the infection, and the initiative was so effective a trial of the lozenges was extended to Whakatane.
A collective push around Kawerau, which Miss Whyte’s project contributed to, has reduced the illness rate.
The judges said adding value to an already well established and resourced health initiative, such as the rheumatic fever scheme, was not always easy.
But Miss Whyte had successful done this.
“She showed entrepreneurial and professional initiative by clearly identifying where and how pharmacists could contribute and add specific medicines management expertise.”
They said she put in place an action plan and her work improved patient health outcomes.
Source: Whakatane Beacon
Photo by Megan Hunt