High Wycombe pharmacist Kim Watkins, whose independent pharmacy regularly takes UWA students for their clinical placements, was named the Five-star Role Model Pharmacist by the Pharmaceutical Society of Western Australia.
The prestigious award is given to a society member who is considered inspirational to others in the profession.
Ms Watkins, who has taught and mentored young pharmacists for many years, described herself as a ‘garden-variety’ pharmacist with real-life experience who had entered academia to help students understand the value of their role in a changing health system.
‘A lot of our work is about inspiring pharmacists to do better ” to be health professionals and not just fall into the rut of being retailers and shopkeepers, which is often the perception out there in the community,’ Ms Watkins said.
‘I think pharmacists are so much more than that.’
She said she aimed to teach students that being an effective pharmacist wasn’t just about applying their university training, but about building relationships with people.
Ms Watkins said that with an increased focus in the health system on self-management, pharmacists had an important role to play in helping patients take care of themselves.
‘You can have fantastic clinical knowledge, but you need to connect with people and understand what is important to them to make a difference,’ Ms Watkins said.
Ms Watkins and her husband Steve Lewis have owned and run the High Wycombe Pharmacy for 12 years.