Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist January 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
‘When you are innovating and you are
inventing there is no precedent, that’s the
reason an invention is what it is, because
there is nothing like it. When you are
innovating and inventing it is pretty thin
ice you’re on sometimes and you need a
lot of support.
At this point Mr Stevens highlighted the
dedication and support he gets from the
staff at Webstercare and how it is to the
He went on to say: ‘I’ve been very
fortunate throughout my entire career
that my wife, Ethe, is one of those
incredibly supportive people. You know
when you have good days and you have
bad days – in her mind there are no bad
days. She says: “A bad day is just a hiccup.”
‘I am deeply motivated by my family
and it gives me a great sense of pride to
have my three sons Matt, Peter and Ian
actively involved in the advancement
of the business. How fortunate I am to
‘ The thing that I do think about is, how
many people have had the opportunity
to innovate and see their innovation
in use. I’m one of those very fortunate
people that can look around and see that.
‘I’ve never lost the excitement [that
comes] from what a pharmacist with all
the right information can do and [how
they can] can impact on people’s health.
It’s just a fundamental wave that I think
I’m still floating along on and I see a lot
of my colleagues floating along on the
No cure for
Gerard Stevens has a high regard for curiosity and being open to
new ideas or information.
Speaking to pharmacy graduates at Sydney University he said a
pharmacist’s scientific grounding served well in nurturing curiosity and
the best clinical pharmacists he knew all shared that trait.
‘When someone is standing in front of you with health problems, and
relying on you for help, it is the moment that we’ve all been trained for.
‘If you’re run off your feet, as most pharmacists are, for some there’s a
temptation to treat it as another transaction. But for those with innate
curiosity, a light switches on, the problem-solving gears start turning,
and a moment of magic arrives.
‘For the patient the magic is a problem turning into a solution and the
relief of hope. For the pharmacist that magic is profound professional
satisfaction for helping someone in their moment of need. It is indeed
a privilege to be in a position of such trust and it helps to build and feed
your professional passion,’ he told the students.
Mr Stevens said that it was curiosity and a passion for solving problems
that drove him to invent and innovate.
‘From inventing the Webster-pak more than 30 years ago – the first time
a medication management solution went far beyond being simply a
pill organiser – to now, that curiosity and passion has fed my ravenous
appetite and resulted in more than 600 other innovations. And they’re
all dedicated to solving particular problems.’
He said in Australia, many in the profession are seeking to reinvent
what they do as pharmacists, which is not surprising considering the
significant commercial pressures pharmacists face as a profession,
particularly in community pharmacy. However, those who are most
comfortable in the status quo are finding it difficult. But those who
are open to new ideas and information, and have the energy and
optimism to implement them, are usually the ones who thrive in such
‘ There are few more powerful drivers of loyalty and appreciation than
helping someone achieve their heath goals, whether overcoming illness
to regain good health, or maintaining good health. It’s really personal.
Effective medication management and quality use of medicines is at
the core of how we do this best.
‘All of these are personal motivations. When it comes down to it,
our success is linked to understanding that what we do best is truly
personal. Link that with a positive attitude and a commitment to effective
communication – whether with the patient or work colleagues – and you
have the right platform for success,’ Mr Stevens said.
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