Congratulations to Charles Walker who picked up the Douglas Young Pharmacist of the Year award at last month’s Pharmacy Awards held at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.
In 2012, Charles’ first year of qualifying as a pharmacist, he took the bold step of purchasing his first pharmacy in New Plymouth. The purchase process while may appear daunting, with the assistance of the wholesalers is a very simple process. Wholesalers can put you in touch with the right people and can work out favourable terms for paying back your loans.
After the purchase of the pharmacy, Charles first sought to introduce consistency in staff and to be the face of Merrilands pharmacy, giving more stability to the community it served. The next step was to introduce new clinical services to the pharmacy. In response to pilots done in other pharmacies, DHBs went ahead with funding Community Pharmacy Anti-Coagulation Management Service (CPAMS) in accredited pharmacies. Once accredited to provide this service, Charles also became accredited to provide other reclassified medicines such as trimethoprim and sildenafil. He supported these clinical services by undertaking post-graduate studies to further his knowledge. Other activities he has undertaken since becoming a pharmacist include being a preceptor to two intern pharmacists, being the Taranaki branch President of PSNZ, and writing blogs to Pharmacy Today.
More recently, his local GP practice has expanded and relocated, moving just across the road from Charles’ pharmacy. This provided him with opportunity to expand his customer base and to work more closely with the GPs. With a mixture of hard work and good fortune Charles greatly improved his pharmacy’s bottom line and completely transformed it.
This was the third time Charles has been a finalist for the Young Pharmacist of the Year award, being runner up in 2013 and 2014 so Charles was elated to become Young Pharmacist of the Year 2016. He received a trophy and $1000 prize money.
Charles’ advice to aspiring pharmacists – Don’t rely on someone else when you can do it yourself. Be hungry and go for it!