The University of New England achieved a milestone at the weekend with its first entrant in the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year competition taking out the coveted title.
UNE’s Callan Beesley was named the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year at a reception held as part of the Clinical and Practice Expo (CPExpo) at the weekend.
Callan beat strong competition from Rachelle Cutler from the University of Technology Sydney, Andrew Allchin from the University of Sydney, Gemma Courtney from the University of Newcastle and Seray Goktekin from Charles Sturt University.
This year was the first time that UNE and UTS had participated in the PSOTY competition, with their first cohort of pharmacy students graduating this year.
Callan Beesley said it was a “massive shock” to be named as the NSW winner.
“I saw the girls [compete] and thought I was done for, dead in the water! This is a huge honour for me and I will try to do everyone proud,” he said.
Judges for this year’s competition were PSA national President Grant Kardachi, PSA NSW President John Bronger, Elizabeth Heiner, a drug counsellor at Mothersafe who has previously worked in community and hospital pharmacy and other information services such as Poisons Information Line, and Clinical Education Manager at Hydration Pharmaceuticals Trust Sarah Curulli.
Mr Kardachi said that once again judges had a hard time choosing the winner because of the very high standard of entrants.
“These young pharmacists are quite outstanding and their ability to engage with the consumer, gather appropriate information and formulate a response is remarkable at their age,” Mr Kardachi said. “Callan displayed all these attributes and characterises to take out the title.”
Mr Bronger said the standards displayed by the entrants showed that pharmacy in the future was in good hands.
“These young pharmacists are confident, articulate and very knowledgeable,” Mr Bronger said. “They really are testament to the fact that our profession is well equipped to meet the challenges of the future, and emerge stronger and better than ever.”