Yvette Anderson’s journey to becoming an award-winning Pharmacist specialising in neurodiversity started when her boys were diagnosed autistic.
“It turns your world upside down and it’s a lifelong condition,” Yvette said. “Learning that, combined with my background of working in paediatrics and mental health, and then being locked down during the pandemic, it only fuelled my desire to learn more to improve awareness and inclusion for people with neurodevelopmental conditions.”
Yvette joined Bendigo Health in 2019 and is a ward pharmacist four days a week, combined with her consultancy work and studying for a Masters in Autism at Griffith University.
Her goal is to become a Developmental Educator so she can create care plans and collaborate with allied health professionals to ensure patients receive holistic, well-rounded treatment and ultimately better health outcomes. She is also currently working on the opioid stewardship program, a new initiative for Bendigo Health.
Yvette says there is only one ADHD specialist pharmacist in Australia, but with her own lived experience and passion to help people with neurodevelopmental diagnoses, Yvette is championing for better patient outcomes.
Why is this important? The hospital environment can provide overwhelming sensory sensations for people on the spectrum. Bright light, loud and unfamiliar noises, strange and unpleasant smells, and new tactile sensations can lead to intense anxiety and distress that overwhelms the person’s ability to regulate their responses. Care takers that are unable to recognise and respond appropriately to the person’s distress cause reluctance to seek and respond to treatment. Yvette sees an opportunity to help change that at Bendigo Health.
“In the pharmacy department, the more my accolades get published, the more people who come to me and the more questions get asked; raising understanding in hospital staff about neurodiversity in patients is important because its significance on health outcomes is monumental,” she said.
Advances in telehealth have been a great facilitator in improving outcomes for patients by receiving treatment in their own home. Yvette said 90 per cent of her work and services are provided online, which shows how important digital health is for people to access support and help without the physical and mental sensory overload.
Yvette was awarded Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacist of the Year 2022 for her “Spectrum Pharmacist Service”, an online consultation and telehealth clinic to support carers and patients with neurodevelopmental conditions. Yvette also won the Pharmacy Shark Tank and People’s Choice award for the Spectrum Pharmacy Service. Victoria’s top pharmacists honoured - Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (psa.org.au)
Yvette has been successful in gaining entry into Bendigo Health’s Innovation Acceleration Program (IAP) Home | Innovation Acceleration Program, run in conjunction with the University of Melbourne. Yvette will benefit from financial, business and technical support to develop her idea of a digital communications tool for all carers and paediatricians to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and support on a patient’s health journey.
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