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'Leading light' returns to school as affiliate pharmacist

Monday, 4 April 2016

Angela speaking to students at white coat_232
Angela Harwood speaking at the White Coat ceremony in February.

Angela Harwood has been a registered pharmacist for 10 years, but she is now returning to where it all began, this year taking up an honorary role at the school of pharmacy as an affiliate pharmacist.

Mrs Harwood has been recognised by the school as a leader in the profession. “An affiliate is someone in the profession who we think is a ‘leading light’; who is doing things in pharmacy which are creative and new and which help people,” school dean Stephen Duffull explains.

The Otago graduate was last year appointed to the first role of an advanced pharmacy practitioner in Otago, taking up a position as the clinical pharmacy facilitator for Otago for WellSouth Primary Health Network. She is working with several general practices in Otago, offering support in a number of ways from providing education sessions to audits of high-risk medicines and medicines reviews for patients.

As an affiliate pharmacist she will contribute to the school of pharmacy’s undergraduate programme and will have access to the school’s facilities as well as the university library.

Mrs Harwood began her career working in a rural pharmacy in Wellsford, north of Auckland, where pharmacists worked closely with the local general practice team in a collaborative environment.

“I’m so glad that I had the opportunity of learning in a rural area, because you just learn so much and that was a great start for me,” she explains. “I was lucky to have that as my first, real, pharmacist experience.” She was then employed by the Midland Community Pharmacy Group as a mobile pharmacist. She spent five years in the role – one of the first of its kind – where she travelled around the Waikato DHB area visiting patients in their homes and advising them about using medicines.

She worked with a number of high-needs patients, many of whom were suffering from diseases such as rheumatic heart disease and COPD. Hamilton pharmacists Penny Clark and Jane Able offered peer support through the pharmacy community group and Mrs Harwood says she learnt a lot from her colleagues.

Last year Mrs Harwood and her family headed south, where she took up the new role with WellSouth PHO, and bought into a community pharmacy.As well as juggling this she continues her involvement in a number of other groups including Alliance South’s health of older people’s service level alliance team and the Ministry of Health’s medicines classification committee.

Article written by Liane Topham-Kindly for Pharmacy Today, April 2016.