In the 2021 graduating class, Patrick has followed his passion for travelling and will be starting an internship next year in hospital pharmacy at Launceston in Tasmania.
“I’m happy to move around the country a bit while I develop my career and I’m really excited to be starting my internship at Launceston General Hospital. Being a regional centre, Launceston has quite a sizable hospital, but it still allows you to have a more hands-on approach from an intern’s point of view, as compared to major city centres.”
During his course at JCU, Patrick completed various placements in hospital pharmacy at Townsville, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast which further developed his interests in this broad and diverse area of pharmacy practice.
“There are just so many specialisations you can do in hospital pharmacy, and it was great to be able to get a lot of exposure to them all during my various student placements.
“For my third-year placement at Townsville University Hospital, they rotated us through a different area each day including the dispensary, as well as a medical ward and a surgical ward.
“And then in fourth year I completed a placement at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. I spent the first week in the medical assessment and planning unit where I got to do a lot of clinical reviews and counseling patients on their new medications as well. Then for my week in the surgical ward, I was in the maxillofacial unit which was really interesting.
“I also got to do morning ward rounds with the acute pain services team which consists of a medical consultant, specialist nurses and perioperative pharmacists. They go throughout the hospital checking up on any patients who are having complex acute pain and basically make sure that they're prescribed the most effective pain control possible which can range into some really interesting uses of medicines. I then spent some time on the ward dealing with acute and chronic liver failure and also on a general medical ward where I got to observe how the pharmacists prioritized their workload in such a busy environment.”
Although it’s early days yet, Patrick already has some ideas of what speciality areas of hospital pharmacy he is most interested in.
“I have some particular interests already in cardiac and oncology pharmacy, as well as infectious diseases. Cardiac pharmacy includes things like high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as the more serious conditions of heart attacks and heart failure, so it’s an interesting mix of chronic disease management as well as acute medicine.
“Oncology pharmacy is also an interesting area to work in as pharmacists have quite an important role in optimizing medications for patients suffering from cancer. It’s also really rewarding work helping cancer patients because as pharmacists we have such an important role in terms of educating patients about their medicines and chemotherapy treatments. There's actually a lot medicines that pharmacists can use as an addition to chemotherapy to help reduce some of those harsh side effects, so you get to really see the impact of your role on patient healthcare.
“And then I’m also interested in the pharmacy required to manage infectious diseases which can include some of the more unusual kinds of antibiotics for those weird, tropical infections you might come across once in a blue moon.”