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Pharmacy undergrads prove their ability as researchers

28 May 2018
Meet 5 students who completed a research project over the summer break
Research projects completed over eight weeks resulted in some exciting findings with the majority of students planning on continuing their research, and three already looking to publish.

Medication errors

Jennifer Ly | Supervisors: Dr Carl Schneider and Dr Jonathan Penm

Medication safety was one of the reasons Jennifer chose to pursue a career in pharmacy. Undertaking a summer research project was the perfect opportunity for her to dive into the subject.

Jennifer’s project focused on identifying medication errors flagged by clinical pharmacists and then determining the proportion of errors that were amended by doctors. She was also interested in the factors that influenced whether the doctors amended these errors or not.

Jennifer will continue to work on her research project and hopes to submit it for publication in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

Yulu Wang

Transporters in the retina

Yulu Wang | Supervisor: Dr Fanfan Zhou

Human solute carrier transporters (or membranes that transport proteins essential for physiological function) play an important role in our vision. Yulu investigated the expression of these transporters in the human retina.

This area has little to no research currently available and peaked Yulu’s interest. Dr Zhou’s had previously created a research model on this area and she was more than willing to help Yulu through the whole process.

Yulu now has a deeper understanding of what undertaking a research project is like and is considering doing research in the future.

Adverse drug events

Michelle Guo | Primary supervisor: Dr Jonathan Penm | Co-supervisor: Dr Stephen Carter

2-3 per cent of hospital admissions are related to adverse drug events, the majority of these are preventable. A patients most tangible source of information on taking medication is the pharmacy label, it is therefore a crucial line of defence.

An estimated 60 per cent of Australians have a low level of health literacy, so it is surprising to learn that the majority of these materials have not been tested on patients.

Michelle was interested in finding out if pharmacy medication labels are understood by patients. Through qualitative research and interviewing, Michelle has developed her project and is hoping to publish her findings.

Marissa Sakiris and fellow researcher YvonneMoussa

Poor compliance linked to delayed patient discharge

Marissa Sakiris | Primary supervisor: Dr Jonathan Penm | Co-supervisor: Dr Carl Schneider

Marissa has a keen interest in research and aims to undertake an honours project in her fourth year. She chose to utilise this opportunity to gain insight into the research process, with great success.

Marissa conducted a retrospective audit of antibiotic vancomycin infusion patients at Westmead Hospital. Her research uncovered a clear link between delayed discharge and poor compliance with the local vancomycin guidelines.

If you are looking to work with leaders in research, broaden your knowledge and gain skills that would otherwise be unavailable to a pharmacy student – then a summer research project is definitely for you.
Marissa Sakiris

Dr Penm guided and supported Marissa through the project and gave her appropriate independence. Together, they aim to publish the findings and Marissa will head the report.

Prescriber influence

Stephanie Beshara | Supervisor: Prof Lisa Bero

The pharmaceutical industry has been studied over the years in regard to their influence over prescribers, nurses, allied health professionals, but little research has been conducted on pharmacists.

Stephanie was interested in the relationship between pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry as pharmacists have control and influence over many over-the-counter medications and prescriber decisions for patients.

The research revealed that pharmacists with clinical experience, seniority and those with 10+ years’ service were targeted heavily by the pharmaceutical industry.

The findings from this research have given Stephanie future opportunities to continue her research. With support from her supervisor, she will focus her research on the way hospitals determine their formularies.

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