Wendy Ewing is the Assistant Deputy Director of Pharmacy at Monash Health and is responsible for medication safety.
I’ve always been fascinated by the human body. I thought I’d end up studying nutrition, but a holiday job in a family member’s community pharmacy put me on a different path.
I went to the local public school that was within walking distance and it wasn’t particularly academically focused, but I didn’t necessarily see this as a disadvantage.
My year 12 maths teacher used to say that “maths makes sense”. This resonates with me – there’s always an answer when maths is involved.
Pharmacists are medicines experts and maths is involved in all aspects of medication use: how we determine the appropriate dose to give to a patient, how to determine how well a patient’s liver and kidneys are functioning, and how
long a medication will be in a patient’s body.
I’m responsible for medication safety across Monash Health. Medicines are the most common treatment that patients receive in hospital. They can be very effective, but an error can have major consequences. My role involves governance and responsibility of medication safety initiatives to improve the way medicines are prescribed, dispensed, stored and administered to patients, with an overall aim of improving patient safety. The work that I oversee aims to reduce medication errors that harm patients.
When I undertook a university placement at a hospital pharmacy, I knew it was the path for me. I was in awe of the astonishing knowledge hospital pharmacists had about medicines, and how they worked with doctors, nurses and allied health staff to make a real difference to patients’ lives.
At school it can be tough to see how your subjects will translate into real life or to a future career path or job. Let’s be honest, not everything will. But it’s part of a journey to find out what you like and what you’re good at.