Introducing the South Australia PATY State Winner

Emilie Dalwood from TerryWhite Chemmart Woodcroft Plaza in South Australia has been chosen as the South Australia State Winner of the 2019 Pharmacy Guild of Australia / Maxigesic Pharmacy Assistant of the Year Award (PATY).

Emilie will now represent South Australia during the National Finals, to be held at the Pharmacy Assistant National Conference (PA2019) in October later this year.

We sat down with Emilie to find out more about her PATY journey so far.

How does it feel to be the State Winner? What was your reaction?

It feels awesome to be awarded the South Australia State Winner! I’m very proud of myself. I’m so pumped and can’t wait to get to Queensland for the National Finals – hopefully I can get some sleep from now until then.

Can you give me a brief overview of your career in pharmacy?

I started in pharmacy 20 years ago after completing what was then a Certificate I in pharmacy with the Guild. I’ve since looked it up and that’s not even a course anymore so it’s been a while! I did some relief work for a chain of pharmacies and then settled into one of their pharmacies for about three years. I then moved on to where I am now.

Our owners have two pharmacies within 2km of each other and I’ve been here for 16 years now this October. I was at one store for about three years and I become second in charge. Not long after, I had my first baby and now I have three children. I went back and worked part-time after having each of my children. After my last baby who’s now 7, I changed to our other store in Woodcroft and about three years ago, I became the retail manager. I’m still working part-time doing three days a week though so it’s been a pretty good ride! It’s a great place to work and I’ve got great bosses.

Did you always know that you wanted to get into pharmacy?

I never knew that I wanted to go into pharmacy. I was quite lost when I finished school. I knew that I needed to do some sort of study to get into something and I knew that I was great with people so it needed to be something people based. I decided to do a pharmacy course. Until I did that pharmacy course, I didn’t even know that you could buy cold and flu medication…I had never treated a cold with actual medication!

Doing that course literally changed my life…. there’s a whole world out there and we don’t have to suffer! From doing the course, it’s just been no turning back. It’s definitely what I’m meant to be doing. It’s made a huge difference in every aspect of my life including being a parent. I also have a 92 year old nanna and my grandma is 91 and seeing my elderly customers puts things into perspective for my nana and my grandma. It’s great that you can take things from work and use that in life and take your life skills and use them in work as well.

What qualifications do you have and who did you complete your training with?

I have completed my Certificate I and the S2/S3 scheduling that we do for QCPP. I’ve also done a lot of training on the job along the way – I am always eager to learn new things so I will go to any training that is available. I’ve also organised training sessions in store. My learning has been done a bit of the old school way of learning on the job and learning from people around me!

What was the PATY workshop day like?

It was loads of fun and was just a really good day. It was great to meet other like-minded, enthusiastic pharmacy assistants and to pick up ideas from them. The facilitator Katy was loads of fun. It was really not a daunting day at all and she put everyone at ease so we could all just have a good time. It was great to be thinking about the future and she opened our minds to what lies ahead.  

What have you gained from PATY so far? What are you most looking forward to?

I have gained the confidence that what I’m doing is the right thing. I don’t need to be working full time to be good at what I do. It’s really given me a confidence boost. We read about PATY and I think “wow, that must be amazing and those pharmacy assistants must go above and beyond”. Then, when it happened to me, I’ve just gone “okay, I don’t consider myself to be so exceptional but perhaps I am”. It’s really nice to be recognised for the fact that I’ve put my whole heart into what I do like so many of us pharmacy assistants do.

I can’t wait to meet the other State Winners and hear about what they do in their pharmacies, and learn from everyone else. I’m incredibly excited to be going to the Pharmacy Assistant National Conference in October. It’s going to be amazing and something I never dreamed I would ever get to coming from South Australia. I know the people that I meet and the things that I learn will be so valuable to my future.

Why would you encourage someone to nominate a person for PATY?

It’s a great way to show your confidence and belief in someone. Whether they make the Top 20 State Finalists or not, it’s an awesome confidence boost for them and I think it gets everyone around them thinking about how they can improve themselves to get nominated too. It is just such a lovely way to recognise the fantastic work that so many pharmacy assistants do just by taking 5 minutes out of your day to fill out a nomination form.

Why would you encourage a pharmacy assistant to nominate themselves or participate in PATY?

You’ve got to be in it to win it. To have that belief in yourself is amazing first up and to follow it through just for the experience of being part of it and answering the initial questions when doing the nomination, it really does push your thinking that little bit so you can even learn a lot just from that. Then to get to the State Workshop day is amazing. If it’s something that you’re thinking about, then you should go for it.

Will Emilie be the 2019 PATY Winner? Find out at PA2019 and learn from all the State Winners at the conference. Register now at

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