College of Medicine and Dentistry News & Stories A day in the life of a children’s hospital pharmacist

A day in the life of a children’s hospital pharmacist

Fri, 10 Jul 2020

Having a younger brother spend time in a children’s hospital provided JCU pharmacy graduate Sidony Miller-Waugh with a long-lasting impact. So much so that she chose to pursue a career as a paediatric pharmacist, gaining an internship at the Queensland’s Children’s Hospital straight after graduating from JCU in 2017.

“My brother was an inpatient when I was in my first year of the pharmacy degree and I saw the pivotal role that a pharmacist not only plays in the recovery of a patient, but also in the well-being of the family unit,” said Sidony.

“The pharmacist deals with the parent as much as with the patient, educating the family in how to use the medicines and just generally alleviating their concerns. Parents have such an earnest need to look after their child, so it is very satisfying and rewarding work to help these families.”

Now in her third year at the Brisbane-based Queensland Children’s Hospital, Sidony is still exploring all the different options that hospital-based pharmacy can offer as part of her two year SHPA (Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia) Foundational Residency Program.

“The pharmacy department consists of multiple teams who provide support for all the different specialist areas at the hospital. Some examples include the medical team, the surgical team, the oncology team, the critical care team and the ambulatory care team.”

After rotating through the various hospital wards and departments, Sidony has chosen to take up the challenge of oncology pharmacy.

“Caring for a child undergoing cancer treatment is an extremely difficult challenge for a family to go through. We help families by providing advice on symptom management and also on how to use the medicines at home. I really enjoy this aspect of my work.”

“I’m also currently part of the hospital’s chemotherapy organising team, which means I help arrange treatments for children across Queensland, both at our site and at other regional hospitals. If patients live in regional areas, we try to facilitate their treatment to be administered somewhere close to home. Being able to do that is really important to me, as I grew up in a regional area and understand the difficulties of living far from the city.”

Sidony credits her JCU training to helping her secure her dream job so early on in her career.

“The practical experiences you get at JCU are unmatched. I was able to do various hospital placements and clinical project work which really helped to set my career in the direction I was wanting.”

“Plus the rural placements I undertook meant I got a wide range of practical experiences early on in my degree.  JCU is very different to other universities in that respect. Getting hands-on experience while you study just makes the world of difference when you start working and when you’re applying for internships.”

Sidony recommends a career in pharmacy to anyone interested in the health sector.

“Consider a career in pharmacy if you’re interested in health service and if you’re interested in educating and empowering others, whether that be patients, their families, nursing and medical staff, or fellow allied health staff.”