Tasmanian pharmacist awarded Early Career Pharmacist of Year

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates Maria Berbecaru on being awarded the PSA Symbion Early Career Pharmacist (ECP) of the Year.

Tonight, during the 2021 PSA Viatris Awards Ceremony hosted by livestream, the Hobart-based pharmacist claimed the esteemed award for her exemplary practice in the ECP category – comprised of Australian pharmacists with less than ten years’ experience.

Maria is an accredited pharmacist and a young pioneer of clinical pharmacy practice in aged care. Notably, she implemented an embedded clinical pharmacist service an Australian aged care facility.

Maria has taken responsibility for medicines safety and quality use of medicines at the aged care facility. She is responsible for coordinating quarterly psychotropic medicines reviews, swallowing assessments for medication administration, and has developed gold-standard collaborative arrangements with general practitioners, including participation on rounds.

“Our vulnerable, older population in residential aged care facilities are at significantly higher risk of medication-related harm compared to other members of our society. So with the right support, the right guidance and a sustainable funding model in place, embedded residential clinical pharmacists will become the norm.

“We will be pivotal members of the healthcare team, to promote safe prescribing, safe administration and usage of medicines – minimising the risk of any medication-related harm and improving the quality of care for the residents,” Ms Berbecaru said.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, commended Maria on her achievement and acknowledge the importance of pharmacists in aged care.

“On the back of the Royal Commission into Aged Care, it is clear that pharmacists have a critical role in improving the safe and effective medication use. Maria is clearly committed to leading this area of practice and it is great to see a model connected in with community pharmacy and General Practitioners.

“Maria has established a model and measurement tools to clearly show the benefits to aged care staff, to residents, to medical practitioners and to the community pharmacy in having an on-site resident clinical pharmacist.

“Her efforts continue to evolve pharmacists’ role in aged care, expanding the profession’s scope of practice and improving the lives of aged care residents, their loved ones, and their carers,” A/Prof Freeman said.

Chief Executive of Symbion, Brett Barons, said: “One part of Symbion’s vision is to ‘lead the way by developing innovative solutions’ and this very much aligns with Maria’s implementation of her integrated community pharmacy-delivered medication supply and clinical service model. It is innovation and engagement such as this which will continue to provide optimum care for our aged care community.”

Congratulations to Maria, the 2021 ECP Pharmacist of the Year!

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