October 11, 2022
Interview with pharmacist Amanda Seeto
How pharmacists’ work has changed: Interview with pharmacist and nominated director of the Pharmacy Guild on the RUM board, Amanda Seeto
Over the course of her 20-plus career as a pharmacist, Amanda Seeto has witnessed a shift in how pharmacy has evolved.
“There’s been some really big, positive changes. I’ve seen pharmacies move from the pharmacist being primarily in the dispensary – behind the counter and processing prescriptions – to moving out beyond the counter and interacting directly with customers more,” she says.
“That’s been great, especially when it comes to discussing medicines and more recently, moving to a consultation-type set-up, in which pharmacists administer vaccinations. It’s very exciting and there’s more to come. In Queensland, pharmacists can now diagnose uncomplicated urinary tract infections and prescribe antibiotic therapy for it.”
But it has been the Covid-19 pandemic that shook not just Australia but the entire world that Seeto says has been the biggest instigator of change,” Seeto explains.
“The pandemic showed everyone that pharmacists are truly accessible, not only just through our locations – we’re in almost every regional and rural town in Australia – but our doors are always open. The pandemic highlighted that because we were one of the very few health professionals that remained open and accessible.
“These past couple of years have been more important than previous years because of the awareness of the public about what we do.”
Seeto, who works at Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse on the Gold Coast, entered the profession as she always wanted to work in the medical field but “didn’t want the blood and gore”.
“Dealing with medicine seemed to be a good compromise,” she says.
Seeto has been a long-time advocate for The RUM Project, and makes sure that both her customers and fellow pharmacists know about the program.
“We probably use RUM bins most days because we make sure that our patients are aware that they have the option to bring in their old or expired medicines for safe disposal,” she explains. “My patients are fairly well educated about RUM because my pharmacists talk to them about it all the time. Many of them think they can only return tablets, but of course many different types of medicines can be returned.”
With so much having taken place with how pharmacists work with customers, Seeto believes that the next phase of change will coincide with the current challenge that many Australians are currently facing in booking a GP appointment, especially for bulk-billing.
“In terms of what pharmacists already provide, the safe disposal of unwanted and expired medicines is really important; that’s a free service that pharmacies provide across Australia and that’s a really good service to keep homes safe but also keep medicines out of the environment,” she says.
“A lot of people know that pharmacists vaccinate now, people who are on complicated or multiple medications can get government-funded six monthly reviews of their medications. But to address the GP shortages, pharmacists being able to practice to their full scope is really what’s needed to help patients have the option to access healthcare more readily for acute or chronic conditions.”