If there was an award for cramming every possible opportunity into a single life, Chloe Bell would be a strong contender. A relatively recent graduate of Monash University’s pharmacy course, Bell is already juggling an extraordinary number of roles.
As senior pharmacist, workforce and development, at Alfred Health in Melbourne, Bell recruits and manages a regular rotation of seven intern pharmacists, who she’s helping to nurture as they take their nascent steps into the world of pharmacy.
At the same time, she leads a team of electronic medical record pharmacy trainers who’ll be working with more than 6000 hospital staff to help roll out a new electronic medical record program across the hospital network.
She also occasionally tutors in pharmacy at Monash, collaborates with the course conveners to help develop meaningful student practical placements as part of the new vertically integrated master’s degree, and is on the board of the Victorian branch of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia. And, perhaps most importantly, she’s also a clinical pharmacist at The Alfred hospital, tending to burns victims and surgical patients.
Helping others thrive
Despite this workload, Bell brims with enthusiasm for her work, particularly the intern training. “The interns are probably the light of my working week,” she says. “They’re so engaged and enthusiastic, and the way you can see them progress from the day they walk in here, to what they can do and how competent they become by the end of the year, is unbelievable.”
Not so long ago, she was one of those interns. Bell actually had her start in pharmacy during secondary school, when her mother suggested she approach the local pharmacy where she lived in rural Victoria for a job. At that stage, she wasn’t bound to pharmacy as a career option, but says the idea grew on her over the following few years, as she travelled around Australia after finishing school.
“I liked the idea of being an expert in something that’s relevant to people,” she says. “Everybody has healthcare problems, and I love that in pharmacy you can actually be an expert in that, not just when you’re at work but also in day-to-day life.”
Her degree also took her to work in a massive community pharmacy in Iowa in the US, which was so large that the three-line drive-through servers used pneumatic tubes to shoot filled prescriptions to the farthest lane. Bell then worked in the medicines information team of Australian biotech giant CSL. “Monash offered a lot of opportunities in varied pharmacy areas and gave me exposure to different experiences,” she says.
While pharmacy might be the professional platform on which she stands, people management seems to be Bell’s true calling. “So much of what we do is about managing change and communication pathways and ensuring all of our staff are engaged, and that’s the area I’d say I’m really passionate about,” she says. “I think whatever I end up doing, I just know I want to play to my strengths, as that’s ultimately what makes you happy but also high-performing.”
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