28 April 2023

Family ties are the perfect prescription as pharmacist Rachael swaps coast for country kinship

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Rachael Barsoum

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital pharmacist Rachael Barsoum has returned to the Riverina to raise her daughter.

A Wagga pharmacist has returned home with her husband to raise their children in the Riverina.

Rachael Barsoum left behind the beautiful beaches of the North Coast so her daughter could grow up with her cousins, aunts and uncles.

Rachael and her husband grew up in Wagga, and while they enjoyed living and working in Port Macquarie, they felt their daughter needed the family connection.

“We felt that our daughter needed to be able to form those important bonds, to have those memories with her relatives,” Rachael said.

Rachael’s passion for pharmacy began after she gained work experience at a pharmacy in year 10.

“I went from thinking pharmacists just gave out medication, to really understanding what an integral part of the healthcare community they are,” she said.

“People look to pharmacists for all sorts of advice.

“They have so much knowledge and are passionate about helping all their customers to make sure they are healthy and above everything to make sure that their medications are doing no harm.”

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In 2014, Rachael finished her pharmacy degree and started working in both public and private hospitals as a clinical pharmacist and manager in New South Wales and Victoria.

She took a job with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and started working at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital as a pharmacist in December 2022.

She says the team at Wagga Hospital has been extremely supportive and welcoming of her.

“Although Wagga just feels like home, it is sometimes a bit nerve-wracking to start in a new role with a new organisation,” she said.

In her new role, Rachael provides medication reviews, clinical services and management plans for inpatients across the smaller towns and villages in the Murrumbidgee district.

“We make sure everything is safe and charted correctly and I assist patients with a wide variety of complex conditions,” she said.

“It can be overwhelming for people, especially for people who are taking lots of different medicines, and for our older patients.

“I love feeling like I am making a positive change in people’s lives and their health care.”

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Rachael said medications were important and her work helped keep people safe.

She said it also empowered patients to understand the medication they were taking and why.

“I try really hard to make sure my patients feel like they are in control and they know what they are doing, that they feel confident,” Rachael said.

Her role also requires her to take care of hospital patients across the Murrumbidgee district.

When Rachel isn’t working, she enjoys her other passions: books and music.

“I am an avid reader and classical pianist,” she said.

“When I am not busy running about being a mum, nothing is quite as relaxing as playing Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata.”

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