Q&A with JCU Alumni and Senior Pharmacist Sophie Mokrzecki
With up to 26 areas of speciality practice on offer, hospital pharmacy offers an amazing array of specialisation for a pharmacist to choose from. JCU Pharmacy Alumni Sophie Mokrzecki describes how she became a hospital pharmacist specialising in emergency and acute care, and what attracted her to this fast-paced role.
What is your role at the Townsville University Hospital?
I currently work across two positions as a hospital pharmacist at Townsville University Hospital – in the Emergency Department (ED) and in the Acute Admitting Unit (AAU). As these two areas provide acute care, they are quite fast-paced and have a high turnover of patients.
I regularly see patients as they come through the hospital doors and again on discharge from the hospital. Patients and families tend to remember the first interactions they have when entering the health service. So our primary focus isn’t just the acute clinical service, but also the provision of a high level of person-centered care and a friendly face.
Within these roles, I also mentor and educate newly-arrived pharmacy interns, pharmacy students and medical interns which I find very rewarding, and has formed the basis of my PhD research at JCU.
What do you love most about your job?
I find great pleasure in helping others. This comes in the form of assisting patients and their families/carers transition through their health journey, as well as helping students and interns develop and grow into early-career health professionals. One of the greatest rewards of my job is to be able to help patients with their discharge process and share in their excitement when going home.
What inspired you to study pharmacy?
I always knew I wanted a career that would help others, I just didn’t quite know that would be in pharmacy. Having family already in healthcare and knowing some people who had done the pharmacy course at JCU helped me to choose to study pharmacy in my hometown of Townsville.
What has your career journey been so far?
After completing my Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) degree in 2015, I undertook my internship at Townsville University Hospital and joined the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) Residency program. My ideas of where I thought I wanted to specialise changed dramatically as I was exposed to the many different areas of hospital pharmacy.
How was your JCU student experience?
The pharmacy course provided me with so many hands-on experiences that prepared me for the workforce from the day I graduated. Having the chance to do placements in larger metro hospital pharmacies and in rural and remote locations gave me a diverse insight into the world of pharmacy and all the possibilities it offers. I never thought I would be where I am now so early in my career, which is a testament to how well JCU prepares you.
What does the future of pharmacy look like?
The opportunities in the pharmacy profession are only going to grow in the future. I expect multi-disciplinary models of healthcare to become stronger, with improved medication safety and person-centred care.
“Our primary focus isn’t just the acute clinical service, but also the provision of a high level of person-centered care and a friendly face.”
JCU Alumni and Senior Pharmacist Sophie Mokrzecki