Student wins national pharmacy award

Samantha Montgomery, a fourth-year QUT Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) student has been named Australia’s Pharmacy Student of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

The annual awards showcased the skills of outstanding pharmacy students who were assessed in a live clinical situation on their clinical knowledge and communication skills to identify the most appropriate course of treatment and advice.

Finalists were drawn from a pool of entrants representing seven universities, as well as a wildcard entry selected from the 2023 National Australian Pharmacy Students Association Congress in January.

As the overall winner, Samantha received a $3,000 cash prize to support her studies and pharmacy career

“I was after something a little bit different for a career in helping people out – so here I am in pharmacy,’’ Samantha said.

“I have the goal to be as diverse as I can be in the profession and give everything a go. I’d like to locum and travel Australia, become a consultant pharmacist and work in many settings to keep changing it up. That is the beauty about pharmacy – there is an endless list of things you can do with yourself.’’

Samantha said pharmacists filled a vital place in within integrative healthcare, especially when it was often difficult for patients to access GP appointments.

“Patients are finding it more and more difficult to access healthcare, and they trust their community pharmacist,’’ she said.

“We can be the bridge of communication between hospitals and GPs, the hotline for patient concerns, the barrier to an adverse medicine event through intervention and problem solvers – especially in rural areas.

“Community pharmacies are one of the first places a patient may come to for health advice. Over population moving forward is every ageing and the demand for health services are on the rise. I do believe the scope of practise within pharmacy will expand in the future, and it is an exciting time to enter the profession.’’

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Dr Fei Sim said the competition provided students the opportunity to demonstrate skills such as gaining patient insights and patient understanding, and active listening.

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