Meet a Member: Samuel Keitaanpaa
Samuel Keitaanpaa is a dedicated Early Career Pharmacist and clinical service specialist from the Northern Territory with a strong interest in ensuring regulatory compliance and improving the clinical services that pharmacists offer.
More than just dispensing
I find inspiration in the sheer range of roles and work outside of dispensing that pharmacists can do to improve the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM). Pharmacists can work in many different areas to ensure the appropriate use of medicines is being considered.
Personally, I’m interested in working with other community organisations that represent particular conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Australia. Collaborating with them and working at their events allows me to provide their client base with valuable information and resources.
Building a relationship with patients
The most rewarding moments in pharmacy are when you build a relationship with your patients and they open up about their health concerns. In those moments, a simple five-minute intervention can fix issues they have faced for years. Advocating for my patients when they are not feeling supported, either through interventions or referrals, and seeing the relief they feel that they are being looked after, is truly rewarding.
A changing industry
The changing nature of the pharmacy sector is a big challenge. There is a real need to change the scope of how pharmacists work with the wider community and within the healthcare models in Australia, while dealing with the financial strain from changes in funding
Avenues for improvement
My advice to other pharmacists is: don’t be constrained by the “traditional” roles of pharmacists. There are many opportunities and avenues to improve QUM and the only cost is to be willing to try something new and put yourself out there.
Health services in NT
One of the groups I work with supplies medicines for remote Indigenous patients undergoing renal replacement therapy throughout the Top End. I am also conducting work to try and improve the way community pharmacy can support services that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities outside of Section 100 supply and government funding. I am researching ways that pharmacy may be able to work with Aboriginal Health Services and clinics in remote areas to improve use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and medicines to assist in smoking cessation and reduce the health burden of tobacco smoking in these groups. I believe this is an area where community pharmacists can show QUM support outside of dispensing S4 medicines.
A representative voice
Over the next two years, I plan to finish my PhD and begin working with local stakeholders and government to improve the way pharmacy services are strategically delivered in the Northern Territory. I believe it’s important to work with government and policy-makers to give a representative voice to all pharmacists. We’re a community outreach profession so we need to be in discussion with local government, even though funding for community pharmacy now comes solely from a national level.
Future pharmacy roles
Ten years into the future, pharmacists will be more focused on managing patients’ medications and working within a wider range of healthcare delivery models. Changes in the industry will lead to customers coming into much more than just a retail environment. With technology speeding up the dispensing process, pharmacists will play a greater role in consulting – for example: by following up with patients who have seen a GP and monitoring their blood glucose readings. Pharmacists could be empowered to follow up with patients about many different conditions, such as diabetes, smoking and mental health.
Why I am a HPANT Member
I think organisations like HPANT are a much-needed resource for the health community in the NT. We have a lot of great people providing valuable services to the community and I believe awareness and connecting between the groups is a major barrier to the efficiency of health care up here. HPANT has already helped me with education in other areas I wouldn't normally be exposed to and personally link with other groups to support their practice around medicines. I look forward to that network growing!