July 8, 2019

Pharmacist Min Chu: Treating patients like family

Pharmacist Min Chu, recently received the award for ‘Excellence in Safety’ at our Quarterly Staff Recognition Awards, for her commitment to patient experience and safe, trusted care.

Min began her Northern Health journey back in 2007 as a clinical pharmacist. She then moved into the emergency department as the Hospital Admission Risk Program (HARP) pharmacist in 2011, where she concentrated on identifying patients with complex needs at risk of medication mismanagement at the point of admission.

From there, Min returned to the general medical wards, one of which was the first medical ward to start admitting oncology and haematology patients from our Day Oncology Unit. Currently, Min works on Ward 3 where she treats these patients.

The year Min began, Day Oncology also officially commenced outpatient chemotherapy provision. Min said, “I have been lucky enough to have watched the cancer services division grow and develop over the past 12 or so years.”

Min was nominated by both Ihab Barsoum and Joe Conway who said, “Many of the patients on Ward 3 are gravely ill and Min Chu always takes that extra step to ensure these patients receive the best possible treatment based on their disease and medication history. Many of these patients are overwhelmed by new cancer diagnosis and being started on a range of new medications.”

“Min serves as an educator to the many junior (and senior) doctors who look after patients on Ward 3 and they know their patients are safe with Min. She also acts as a mentor and role model for many junior pharmacists and other pharmacy staff.”

Min explains, “The cancer journey can be very scary for some – it isn’t just the confusing amount of information patients are given, it is also learning how to navigate our complex healthcare system. There are medical appointments to remember, appointments for scans, blood tests, and chemotherapy treatment, and on top of that, you have to remember what your medications are for, how to take them, how long to take them and which pharmacy to get them from!”

“Many of our patients are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and have low health literacy, so it can be challenging to educate these patients on new and complex medications. Pharmacists help to provide patients and carers with information on how to best manage their medications using various means. Hopefully this helps ease our patients through what is a very trying time, and reduces some of the stress associated with managing an acute or chronic illness,” she continues.

“In terms of safety, I always think of how I would like my family to be treated if they were in hospital – I think that is the greatest motivator for safety. I know I would appreciate a clinician taking the time to be thorough, both in their assessment as well as in the provision of information, so that is what I try to give my patients and colleagues.”

When asked what winning this award meant to her, Min said, “The nomination came as a complete surprise – I have the Pharmacy leadership team to thank for conspiring behind my back to bring it about! To be nominated by people I admire and respect is both humbling and inspiring.”

“I’d like to think this award isn’t just for myself – it is representative of the pharmacy department as a whole. Many of my colleagues go above and beyond, and they deserve just as much recognition, if not more!” she adds.

She also tells us her favourite part about working here is the people – “Northern Health’s greatest asset is its staff. Everyone takes the time to help each other out, to celebrate the little victories everyday, and stand with each other to learn from and commiserate the failures. I hope that as we grow, we don’t lose this ‘small town’ feel.”

And where does Min see herself in the future?

“I actually love what I do at the moment, so I am staying put!”

Min receiving the award