The resident hospital pharmacist

hospital pharmacy

Hannah Knowles MPS loves being involved in every stage of a patients’ journey, an interest well suited to her new role at a leading Brisbane hospital pharmacy.

Why did you choose pharmacy?

Coming from a rural background, I saw the impact of a pharmacist on a community. Pharmacy combines my interest in science and people and the opportunity to work in a wide range of practice areas.

Throughout my degree, I worked in different community pharmacies and then transitioned into hospital pharmacy in my intern year.

I am currently completing my residency training at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Was community pharmacy a stepping stone for your current interests?

Yes, working in community pharmacy has been invaluable for my development as a pharmacist.

I have worked with and been mentored by some exceptional pharmacists who fostered my passion for the profession, my appreciation for the importance of developing effective relationships, and the key skill of explaining medicines in a way patients can understand.

How has COVID-19 impacted your role?

This is a response that could change quite quickly!

Currently, I am upskilling for partnered charting and as being the second check for medicine administration in addition to my regular work.

In partnered charting, credentialled pharmacists work closely with the medical team to undertake a medication review and chart medicines for nursing staff to administer.

There are COVID-19 specific research projects and trials within the department ongoing, and social distancing has meant that all meetings have moved onto a virtual platform.

What are the benefits to early career pharmacists in attending FIP and PSA conferences?

Conferences are a fun and effective way to connect with other people in the profession, to discuss current issues in pharmacy and to share ideas.

Through attending International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) conferences, I have gained a global network of pharmacy colleagues, broadened my understanding of international pharmacy practice and the importance of policy to implement programs and how it relates to my daily practice.

What are your thoughts on pharmacists’ remuneration?

The role of a pharmacist is evolving quickly to meet the needs of patients and the healthcare system. The increasing complexity and accountability of pharmacy roles should be supported with training pathways and advanced practice credentials.

This change in role needs to be reflected in remuneration. This is discussed in detail in the PSA Roles and Remuneration report published last year.

What’s next?

I’m excited to see new roles for pharmacists emerging. For now, I will be completing my foundation residency training, attending professional conferences and working on my research skills.

A DAY IN THE LIFE of Hannah Knowles MPS,
Resident Pharmacist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

8.00 am: Organisation and planning

Administration and prioritisation of workload. Set goals and expectations for intern. Attend ward MDT meeting for overview of patients, planned procedures and expected discharges.

8.30 am: Discharges

Clinical review of medication, reconciliation, patient counselling, HF titration schedules, liaising with pharmacies to ensure medicine supply. One patient admitted with angioedema from ramipril was started on irbesartan and prescribed a C1 esterase inhibitor in case of reoccurrence. I organised supply of stock and liaised with her closest hospital to keep medicine for any required administration. The patient was also counselled about identifying future episodes of angioedema, what actions to take and the importance of having medicine on hand when travelling.

12.00 pm: Reviews

Admission histories, clinical and medicines supply – all part of being involved in every stage of the patient journey. Work closely with the ward team, identifying missing therapy, drug interactions, giving dosing and administration advice, TDM, reviewing appropriateness of therapy, identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions.

3.00 pm: Continuing education and research

An array of education opportunities available within the department and hospital. Recent topics: COVID-19, renal medicine, research skills, case based discussions and journal club.

4.00 pm: Outpatient reviews

With blood tests, I identified iron deficiency in a female, aged in her 60s, with fatigue and shortness of breath and a background of heart failure (HFrEF). The patient received my recommended iron infusion. This avoided an extra visit to the heart failure clinic for medicine uptitration where the patient was then referred. IV iron replacement is shown to improve symptom burden and quality of life in patients with HFrEF.

Further resources

Want to find out more about different career pathways for pharmacists? Visit