UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year turns pain into gain
The award, announced at a ceremony hosted by the UTS Graduate school of Health last night, honours the achievements of innovative pharmacists across Australia who create industry, professional or community solutions to current challenges facing the pharmacy sector.
McSwan is a consultant pharmacist, community pharmacist and pharmacy educator who has driven exciting innovation in the field of pain management in Queensland over the last three years. In 2011, she founded MedRN, a company dedicated to medication education for nurses working in the aged care sector in Mackay.
“Within aged care, the need arose constantly for pain education for nursing staff that were at the coalface of providing medicines. I started educating on a very local basis, and then the demand just grew from there,” McSwan says.
She followed her MedRN achievements with the development of the Mackay Pain Support Group, in partnership with the Australian Pain Management Association. The project provided support in pain management to local GPs and made available a community support group through which patients could improve health literacy around effective pain management strategies.
“There was just a desperate need within the community for good, sound, clinical medication support for GPs, as well as for patient education,” McSwan says.
“The uptake for those services was actually very strong – we had something like 300% growth within 12 months, which really spelt out the need for a robust pain management initiative in the area.”
This work led directly to a recent commission on the Gold Coast. Since April 2013, McSwan has been leading the Turning PAIN into GAIN patient program in collaboration with Gold Coast Medicare locals in order to assist Gold Coast residents in accessing primary health care services and improve their self-management of persistent pain. An excellent example of how pharmacists can work with Medicare Locals
According to Professor Shalom Benrimoj, the Head of School at the UTS Graduate School of Health, McSwan’s approach to contemporary pharmacy practice provides a snapshot of the future of the pharmacy sector.
“Joyce’s commitment to innovation within the field of pain management is impressive, but what was most outstanding about her application was her evident commitment to expanding the role of pharmacy role across the spectrum of health care service delivery,” Benrimoj says.
“We talk a lot about professional services in a pharmacy context, and Joyce’s application and her achievements demonstrates the pharmacist have a much greater reach than even five years ago.
“We congratulate Joyce on her achievement, and to thank her for showing pharmacists everywhere that pharmacy remains an extremely innovative, challenging and exciting sector in which to pursue a career” added Mr Warwick Plunkett chair of The UTS Pharmacy Industry Advisory Board.
As the winner of the UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year, McSwan received a medal and $5000. The award, which is sponsored by AstraZeneca, is now in its second year.