Innovation in pharmacy

Australian television and radio host, author, and comedian James O’Loghlin will inspire delegates at this year’s APP to identify opportunities for innovation in their pharmacy business.

O’Loghlin will discuss the importance of innovation, strategies to develop improvement methods, barriers to innovation and ways to overcome them, and how to ensure your staff perform better in their roles.

“If you don’t change, if you don’t continue to do things better, sooner or later, you’ll be left behind,” O’Loghlin says.
“We’re not thinking every day and really applying the full creative force of our brains to problems and opportunities in our business”.
O’Loghlin has a wealth of experience and passion on the subject of innovation, drawn from his role working with hundreds of inventors and innovators as host of the ABC TV’s The New Inventors.
O’Loghlin will present ‘Overcoming the obstacles to innovation’ to the APP audience on Saturday 11 March.
APP is held from 9-12 March at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. For a full program or to register online, visit; Guild Interns* & Pharmacy Students^ receive FREE registration to #APP2017!
*Excludes Street Party
^Entry to trade expo and welcome reception, discounted upgrades available

Set yourself up for success

With Semester One (or Trimester) edging ever closer, it’s probably time to start thinking about the study year ahead. And while heading to Office Works and stocking up on new highlighters and post-it notes is certainly one way of preparing (personally, my idea of HEAVEN!) – we thought we’d offer you a few digital options for keeping on track.

  • 1. WunderList: Wunderlist is a cross-platform, desktop and mobile to-do list manager with apps for iOS and Android. It’s also a webapp, so you seriously have no reason to be without your to-dos on any platform you choose. It’s simple and easy to use and offers all the helpful tools to keep you on track with your study load, like timed reminders, recurring to-dos, separate reminders from the task due date (good if you’re working toward draft deadlines etc.) plus notes and additional info associated with your to-dos. You can share your to-dos with others, create multiple categories and more.
  • 2. Evernote: As the logo would suggest, Evernote is like a big digital elephant that never forgets. You can create project-to-do lists, write reminders and even draw a sketch or attach media. Like WunderList, Evernote is a cross-platform program allowing you to capture information once, and it’s instantly available on all of your devices. Capture entire webpages, lecture notes and recordings in this one, resourceful little beauty.
  • 3.Focus@Will: Studies from the University of Birmingham show that music is effective in “raising efficiencies in repetitive work”. But if you are required to use a little more brainpower, finding the perfect playlist can be a little difficult. Enter – SCIENCE. The good folk over at Focus@Will have created scientifically optimised music that helps you focus on the task at hand. The only catch is that there is a subscription fee – so if you’re already paying for Spotify you might want to use the sites samples as a good jumping off point to curating your own study session playlist. #LifeHack

Nail your job interview

You’ve just finished four years of studying and you think the hard part is over…think again! Nailing your intern interview is the next important step in your career. We’ve assembled some advice and tips to help you make a killer impression!
First impressions count
You’ve heard the old saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well according to our HR Manager at the Guild, it stills rings true! You should look your best at a job interview, wear something simple, professional and clean. Choose something that makes you feel confident, and dare I say, powerful?

Make eye contact!
Eye contact is particularly important when you’re meeting your interviewers; it will also help you remember names. It shows you’re confident and personable, and in retail pharmacy, this goes a long way!

Have some questions prepared to ask your interviewers.
This says to your interviewers that you’ve come prepared, and you’re keen to learn! It also says you will take the initiative to understand the role.

Know the organisation!
In the age of information, knowing and understanding what your organisation does, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie is so important! You may find out that this organisation isn’t for you, or that you can offer some suggestions of how you can make a difference in your interview.

Be early!
It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how often people turn up just in the nick of time, or worse, late! Arriving early gives you some time to relax, catch your breath and reflect on what you want to achieve in your interview.

Be clear on what you want to achieve in your career
Think about what you’d like to get out of the position, and ask yourself why pharmacy? Often interviewers will ask the tough questions about your motivation, and where you see yourself in five or ten years. So be honest and truthful with yourself before your interview, and your interviewers will see an earnest and candid candidate!
It’s very normal to experience nerves, but try to remember every powerful, successful person has been interviewed and felt nervous about the process (you are not alone!) Don’t underestimate the power of a great first impression, or killer job interview!

QUT HealthFusion Team Challenge

In September this year, Sarah Luckman and Courtney Coleman, two fourth year pharmacy students from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) participated in the QUT HealthFusion Team Challenge. This was a friendly competition where health students from various disciplines were placed in teams and given a case study with the aim of working as a multidisciplinary team to present how they would handle that situation. The case study they are given is complex and challenges their knowledge and understanding as well as the group’s cohesion.

This scenario placed students in a packed Suncorp Stadium during a rugby game as the first responders to a significant bomb blast in the stands. Teams were faced with fatalities, head injuries, an amputation and other seriously injured. Additionally, teams were required to explain how they would react to assist in the immediate setting and what care would be required for survivors in the future.

The competition consisted of two days in which the teams were thrust into the challenging scenario and a plan to tackle the ongoing situation and then successful teams competed in finals on the following day. Teams had access to experienced health professionals from different disciplines who advised on how to best respond to the case study. Next, teams presented the initial plan in a four-minute speech at the end of day one. The judges deliberated and the six finalist teams were announced at the end of the day. Excitingly, Courtney was part of one of the successful teams selected.

The final was held on the afternoon of the second day. Teams presented their four-minute plans to a new panel of judges, solved and presented extension questions and participated in practical tests involving Webster packing, bandaging limbs and making a stretcher. Courtney’s team took the bronze and placed third!

Overall, the HealthFusion Team Challenge was a fantastic opportunity to learn what other health disciplines are capable of and educate others on the various roles of pharmacists – all while having fun and making new friends. Both Courtney and Sarah highly recommend any health students to participate next year!

Adam Spencer presents: The numbers 1 to 100 at APP2017


Ever wondered whether Usain Bolt could beat an ostrich over a 100 metre sprint? Or what is the most popular coloured M&M? Comedian, media personality and mathematics genius, Adam Spencer can answer these questions, as well as entertain and enlighten you with other numerical trivia and bizarre facts, at this year’s APP Conference.

Adam Spencer is a respected Australian radio presenter and accomplished writer, who found his comic calling in the talent search Raw Comedy in the mid-1990s. His newfound talent took him to the Australian airwaves, where he eventually hosted The Triple J Breakfast Show with Wil Anderson.

Spencer has featured on Australian television screens since 1998, hosting the ABC science show Quantum and the current affairs wrap The Drum. He also co-hosted Sleek Geeks science comedy show with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

In addition to Spencer’s successful career in radio and television, his intellect saw him graduate from the University of Sydney with first-class honours in mathematics and win Best Speaker at the World Debating Championships in 1996.

Spencer is a spokesperson for Redkite, Kids for Life and UNICEF and is an ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation. He is co-creator and nation Patron for Dry July, which has raised over $15 million for adult cancer services.

Be inspired and motivated Spencer’s education session ‘The numbers 1 to 100’ at APP2017. The conference will be held from 9-12 March at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. Students enjoy an exclusive discounted registration fee. Register now!

How to survive the Christmas hangover!

By Nicholas Efstathis, Professional Practice Pharmacist, Business Support

With Christmas and News Years just around the corner, we’ve assembled the best and worst of hangover cures, to get you through those nightmare egg nog hangovers!


The hard stuff: Physiology

Once Alcohol (ethanol) is ingested by a person, the liver begins the process of breaking down the ethanol into less harmful constituents. The process begins when the ethanol is converted by the liver to acetaldehyde, which is a highly toxic substance on its own. However, the acetaldehyde is quickly broken down into acetic acid (a less toxic substance) which can then be broken down further into water and carbon dioxide for excretion.

Alcohol is also a diuretic. This property is a result of the inhibition of the body’s natural production of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) by the alcohol, which acts on the kidneys and prevents reabsorption of water.

Symptoms include general malaise (discomfort), thirst or dry mouth (dehydration), feeling dizzy or faint (low blood sugar), tiredness (sleep deprivation), loss of appetite, nausea or stomach ache (gastrointestinal complaints) and a feeling as though one’s heart is racing (increased cardiac output and vasodilation).3 Hangover symptoms peak when the alcohol concentration in the blood stream falls to almost zero.1 We’ve all been there, although some suffer more than others!

In addition to alcohol, congeners (flavouring or by-products of the fermentation process) found in drinks increase hangover symptoms. Dark liquors have a higher concentration of congeners compared to clear liquors. So, for example, drinking Bourbon on a night out is more likely to increase hangover symptoms than sticking to Vodka as your poison of preference.4 You might also find that your hangover is more severe after drinking only a small quantity of wine or liquor, when compared to someone drinking the same quantity of beer.

The following remedies are nothing more than old wives tales; try if you dare

  • Prairie Oyster – raw egg yolk mixed with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper
  • Coca-Cola and milk
  • Tomato juice and beer
  • Hair of the dog – further consumption of alcohol
  • Bloody Mary – Tomato juice, Vodka and combinations of other spices and flavourings including Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and celery salt
  • Kudzu Root or Pueraria Lobata
  • Artichoke tonic
  • Sauna or steam baths
  • Breathing oxygen supplies
  • Fructose or glucose supply
  • Vitamin B6
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Milk thistle or Liver care products.


There is no evidence that any treatment is very effective in curing hangovers7. However the following will help relieve the symptoms and are good first aid for hangovers:Rehydration: Drinking water or electrolyte replacement, while you drink (one for one is good ratio), before going to bed or later during the hangover phase will relieve or reduce the symptoms of thirst, dizziness, dry mouth and headache.5 Remember to consider other health conditions associated with the person when recommending electrolyte replacement.

Pain relief: NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) will treat the symptom of malaise but will have limited effect on headaches. They may increase the risk of stomach bleeding and liver damage.6 Paracetamol and codeine products may help settle the stomach and will have some effect on headaches.


Gastrointestinal complaints: Ranitidine will treat the heartburn or upset stomach symptom but check interactions with other medications or health conditions before recommending.

The best options in curing a hangover is to treat the symptoms, avoid over-indulgence in the first place and time cures all. Merry Christmas and have a hangover free 2017!

1. Verster, JC; Stephens, R; Penning, R; Rohsenow, D; McGeary, J; Levy, D; McKinney, A; Finnigan, F; Piasecki, TM; Adan, A; Batty, GD; Fliervoet, LA; Heffernan, T; Howland, J; Kim, DJ; Kruisselbrink, LD; Ling, J; McGregor, N; Murphy, RJ; van Nuland, M; Oudelaar, M; Parkes, A; Prat, G; Reed, N; Slutske, WS; Smith, G; Young, M; Alcohol Hangover Research, Group (June 2010). “The alcohol hangover research group consensus statement on best practice in alcohol hangover research.”. Current drug abuse reviews. 3 (2): 116–26. doi:10.2174/1874473711003020116.PMID20712593.

2. Penning, R; McKinney, A; Verster, JC (May–Jun 2012). “Alcohol hangover symptoms and their contribution to the overall hangover severity.”. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire). 47 (3): 248–52. doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags029. PMID22434663.

3. Stephens, R.; Ling, J.; Heffernan, T. M.; Heather, N.; Jones, K. (23 January 2008). “Review * A review of the literature on the cognitive effects of alcohol hangover”. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 43 (2): 163–170. doi:10.1093/alcalc/agm160. PMID 18238851.

4 Rohsenow, DJ; Howland, J (June 2010). “The role of beverage congeners in hangover and other residual effects of alcohol intoxication: a review”. Current drug abuse reviews. 3 (2): 76–9. doi:10.2174/1874473711003020076. PMID 20712591

5 Penning, R; van Nuland, M; Fliervoet, LA; Olivier, B; Verster, JC (June 2010). “The pathology of alcohol hangover”. Current drug abuse reviews. 3 (2): 68–75. doi:10.2174/1874473711003020068. PMID 20712596.

6 Verster, JC; Penning, R (June 2010). “Treatment and prevention of alcohol hangover”. Current drug abuse reviews. 3 (2): 103–9. doi:

7 MSc, R. L. (2013). Retrieved from British Columbia Drug and Poison Information Centre:

How to have a ‘Merry Pharmacy Christmas’!

Just when you thought the craziness of exams and assignments was over and you could relax a little, pharmacies are now preparing for the rush of extended Christmas trading, school holidays and customers trying to reach their Safety Net limit!

Are you a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Year Pharmacy student looking for work during the Uni holidays?
This is the busiest time of year for pharmacies, and they are often looking for extra staff to cope with the increased script numbers. Now is the time to get out there and let employers know you’re available.
Do you have a Resume prepared? Here is something we prepared earlier to help you find a job!
Words of advice when preparing a Resume:

  • Use a template- it’s a resume, not a Christmas card, keep it clear and easy to read.
  • Be professional- talk more about your skills and abilities than your sporting achievements
  • All experience counts! It doesn’t have just to be in pharmacy… Working for the last two years in a clothing store proves you would have great customer service experience!
  • So does training- it demonstrates to your future employer that you are keen to learn and continually develop your skills…
  • Include the details of any Professional referees that can be contacted during work hours.
  • Double check for spelling mistakes.

Are you a Pharmacy Student already working in Pharmacy?

If you are already working in pharmacy you might know that the busy Safety Net time is the perfect way to increase your dispensing speed and efficiency.

Here’s some additional skills you will develop while working in pharmacy during this busy time:

  • Effective interaction with your customers- build rapport and improve your confidence
  • Companion selling- improve customer service by asking questions, offering advice and recommending companion pharmacy products to meet their needs and increase sales!
  • Increasing Professional Services- as you interact with a customer, you may record a Clinical Intervention, identify the opportunity for a Medscheck or even the need for the Pharmacist to issue a Leave Certificate.

Your Pharmacy will love you for providing a health solution to the customer!

  • Increase prescription numbers- PBS scripts can be dispensed every 21 days. So if your customer has reached the Safety Net limit, they may want you to dispense their medications more regularly.

The customers will appreciate the offer!

  • Working with others – the pharmacy will be busy with lots of different staff around you and this will give you the opportunity to work with different personalities and levels of experience. But most importantly – be part of a TEAM!

One more tiny piece of advice for surviving Christmas in pharmacy; try to ignore the Christmas carols! You may get tired of hearing “Jingle Bells” all day, but the customers love it!

Five tips to maintain your mental health

As you finish up your final semester of the year, ask yourself, how is your mental health today? What practices do you maintain to ensure a healthy state of mind during high stress times? If you answered nothing to the last question, listen up! We have some simple tips to improve your mental health.

1. Make meditation a part of your daily routine
Recent studies show meditation and mindfulness can have a positive impact on stress, anxiety, focus, creativity and even relationships. You have no idea how much your mind wanders until you stop and attempt to quiet it. Meditation can seem very overwhelming, particular if you’ve never tried it before, or are unsure about which method is best for you. If you’re anxious about starting, there are some useful tools and apps to get you started on your mindfulness journey.
Check out HeadSpace; it’s a gym membership for the mind! You’ll find a course of guided meditation delivered via the app or online. Another simple idea is just to explore YouTube for some guided meditation that suits you and your needs. Remember to tailor your practice to your needs, it’s not always easy, but five minutes of meditation are better than none.

2. Talk openly about your mental wellbeing
Half the battle of speaking openly about mental health and depression is the stigma surrounding it. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues “are you ok?” regularly, and listen to their answer.

3. It may seem obvious, but eat healthily!
Of course, a poor diet has a huge effect on our physical health, but what about our mental health? According to Felice Jacka, Associate Professor, Psychiatric Epidemiologist and Director of the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University, “there’s a very strong link between quality of diet and the risk of common mental disorders like depression and anxiety.” You can read the full article from HuffPost here.
Take the time to meal plan at the beginning of each week, and steer clear of the snack and confectionery aisles in the supermarket. Try substituting sweet snacks for healthier alternatives; instead of ice cream in the evening have some yoghurt and berries.

4. Exercise daily
Daily exercise can feel like an impossible feat when you’re time poor, but even 30 minutes of exercise can have a huge impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. If you don’t have an established exercise regime already, try the Nike + Training Club. It’s perfect for those who don’t know where to start when it comes to workouts, or if you just need some fresh moves!
5. Lastly,

Meet The Roaming Pharmacists, Luke Vrankovich

The MIMS Pharmacy Guild of Australia Intern of the Year Awards are now open! The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is pleased to announce it is partnering with MIMS Australia in a search to find the 2016 Intern of the Year. ​The winner will receive a travel and educational scholarship to the value of $4,000 courtesy of MIMS Australia enabling them to pursue their pharmacy career in Australia or overseas. The award is given to the Guild ITP intern who demonstrates excellence in patient-centred practice, improving health outcomes of communities, innovative pharmacy practice, integrity or communication and teamwork. We sat down with the 2014 winner, Luke Vrankovich to talk about her experience as the Guilds Intern of the Year, and what the future holds.
Dispensary: Who nominated you for the award and why?
Luke: My preceptor nominated me for the work we did under the category ‘improving the health of communities’.

Dispensary: What did you do with the $4,000 prize money?
Luke: The money went towards attending the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Dispensary: How do you think winning helped shape your future in Pharmacy?
Luke: ​The congress definitely opened my mind to the potential of pharmacy on an international scale; especially in regard to research and public/international relations. I had the opportunity to network with like-minded people from all around the world and learn what pharmacy is like in their country. It inspired me to travel using the degree and I am now venturing to all corners of Australia as a locum. You can follow ‘The Roaming Pharmacist’ adventures on Facebook or Instagram:

Dispensary: Do you have any future goals for your career in Pharmacy?
Luke: I am currently undertaking my medication review accreditation and a certificate IV in training and assessment. I would love to be involved in teaching and upskilling– whether it be pharmacists, pharmacy students or the wider community. Pharmacy ownership and mental health research are also passions of mine that I will hopefully explore in the near future.

Dispensary: What advice would you give a current Guild Intern thinking about nominating?
Luke: Take the time to thoroughly brainstorm everything you have accomplished during your intern year. You would have achieved so much that it is often easy to overlook some of the highlights. Writing about yourself can be difficult, so check with your preceptor and peers to gain their input.
​Think you’ve got what it takes? Nominate now!

Looking to enrol in an Intern Training Program? Why not check out the Guild ITP at

Stress and wellbeing survey

You are invited to complete a Stress and Wellbeing Survey being conducted by a team headed by Emeritus Professor Colin Chapman, Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University on behalf of the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) an organisation established in Victoria in 1995 to provide assistance and support in necessitous cases to persons who are practising pharmacists, pharmacy interns and students in Australia.

The survey consists of an on-line questionnaire of pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students working in any branch of the profession in Australia, and is being undertaken to help the PSS and other professional organisations respond to identified stressful issues and situations.
The survey is now available on-line.
Participation in the survey is entirely voluntary and is anonymous.

The survey is unique in that it does not seek to undertake an in-depth exploration of the causes of stress – a lot of this is already well known – but instead focuses on:

  • How respondents cope with the pressures associated with today’s challenging economic and regulatory environment
  • What sorts of barriers they encounter when seeking assistance
  • How well prepared they are to manage workplace related stress.

The expected benefits of this research project are:

  • Collection of information that can assist the profession to better support pharmacists in their professional capacity
  • Improvement in the resilience of pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students
  • Development of strategies that can be adopted to assist pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students cope with the many and varied challenges they experience in the profession
  • Provision of information to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Inquiry currently underway.
Contact us
For more information or enquiries
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1300 110 161