HPS – Hobart, Tasmania

The preparation of a lecture to be included in the HPS Pharmacies Lecture Series programme can be a challenging, yet rewarding, endeavour. When writing a lecture, the author must ensure: an appropriate level of content is included, the lecture is brief enough to be delivered in a timely manner, and also ensure it is engaging for the audience (and for those who present it).

The HPS Pharmacies Lecture Series is targeted primarily at a nursing audience, and may also be relevant for others in the broader healthcare team. The lectures are designed to be as concise as possible to enable efficient delivery of pharmaceutical education, perhaps formally at an allocated time during a shift, or informally during hand-over so attendees can obtain the information they require before launching back into their busy day.

At the beginning of each year, HPS Pharmacies’ pharmacists are invited to volunteer to prepare a lecture to be included in the HPS Pharmacies Lecture Series. There are 12 lectures covering a wide variety of topics to be compiled for the series each year, although pharmacists are encouraged to submit additional lectures. Topics are compiled using suggestions from clients, feedback delivered as part of HPS’ annual client surveys, or through the needs of clients as identified by our pharmacists.

Pharmacists invest long hours into the preparation of a lecture, researching the topic and collating the most up-to-date information available. A wide range of references are often referred to, such as the Australian Medicines Handbook, MIMS, Therapeutic Guidelines, and many more. Each lecture includes a list of references. This enables the presenting pharmacist to refer to the original references if they would like to modify the presentation, and also allows attendees the ability to view the original references, or to engage in further research following the lecture.

A pharmacist writing a lecture is encouraged to follow guidelines provided by HPS Pharmacies, ensuring the lecture notes follow a predetermined structure which is easy to follow, intuitive, and consistent between each lecture. A lecture is usually around 3,000 words long due to the volume of relevant information that is important to include. As a result, the pharmacist will select the most relevant information to present for their client, and most pharmacists will also distribute a handout of the lecture material for further reading.

The quantity of technical information included in the lecture depends largely on the topic and how broad it is. Based on the needs of the nursing staff, the author will focus on the most pertinent and relevant information, adding other useful or interesting information where possible. This can be challenging for the author, as pharmacists may prioritise aspects of the medicine which are not commonly observed in nursing practice. It is important to ensure the content of the lecture is relevant to the various attendees’ areas of practice, so they will get the most value from their attendance and is as beneficial as possible.

Once the lecture is written and finalised, it is then distributed to all pharmacists at HPS Pharmacies to deliver to their respective clients. Prior to delivering any lecture from HPS Pharmacies’ Lecture Series, the pharmacist familiarises themselves with the topic and content to ensure that their knowledge of the subject is up-to-date so as to confidently deliver the lecture, and also competently respond to any questions the lecture attendees may have. The author may even modify the content to suit the requirements of their individual clients, who can have vastly different learning needs.

Composing a lecture which is delivered to a wide audience, by a large number of peers, can provide immense satisfaction and pride in one’s own work. It can increase the profile of a pharmacist amongst their peers, within HPS Pharmacies, and the wider healthcare profession. It also helps the pharmacist to gain a broader and more up-to-date understanding of the topic to apply in their daily work, or to share their extensive knowledge on the subject (if it is their speciality).

In addition, just as attending a lecture can be counted towards a nurses’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD), compiling a lecture also contributes towards a pharmacists’ CPD.
Topics covered in HPS Pharmacies’ 2014 Lecture Series are listed in Table 1, and I strongly encourage you to take the time to attend one to see what all the fuss is about.


Available From Topic Title Topic Summary
1st January Medication options for analgesia Exploring options in analgesia, with a focus on pharmacologic classes such as non-opioid analgesia, adjuvant analgesics and more.
1st February SAS drugs and special requirements An explanation of the Special Access Scheme and how unregistered therapeutic goods medications can be obtained.
1st March Vitamin D and calcium supplementation and use of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis A discussion of vitamin D and calcium supplements and the rationale for use; with a specific focus on multiple sclerosis.
1st April Pain management in palliative care Exploring the options for pain and symptom management with an emphasis on medications which may be used in palliative care.
1st May Medications used in the treatment of diarrhoea Examining the several approaches to manage diarrhoea including antimotility, antispasmotic medications, and rehydration.
1st June Code Stroke – including pharmacology of alteplase, icatibant and labetalol A lecture discussing the certain medications used in the process of Code Stroke; including pharmacology of alteplase, icatibant and more.
1st July Treatment of alcohol dependence Examining the issue of alcohol use disorder in Australia, and the complications and treatment approaches for alcohol dependence.
1st August Medications used to treat hyperlipidaemia Analysing the rationale for drug use, healthy lifestyle changes, current drug choices, and the safety and efficacy of these medications.
1st September Drug treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) An outline of inflammatory bowel disease and the rationale behind current drug therapy.
1st October Antibiotic resistance and appropriate use A discussion of antimicrobial stewardship and appropriate use of antibiotics to reduce resistance by applying suitable guidelines.
1st November Medications used in renal failure An analysis of medications which are specifically used in patients with renal failure, with a view to treat problems that may arise.
1st December Medication management and hospital accreditation standards An overview of the Australian Council on HealthCare Standards and the impact on hospital accreditation, with particular reference to Standard 4 – Medication Management.

Table 1. HPS Pharmacies’ 2014 Lecture Series Timetable.