Developing a care plan to a tight deadline alongside three teammates with English as their second language was one of the challenges a young Tauranga pharmacist overcame to triumph at an international event.

Elliot Harris put his clinical skills to the test, along with student pharmacists from Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal, to win the team title at the International Pharmacy Students Federation (IPSF) 2018 World Congress in Mendoza, Argentina.

Harris started working at Tauranga Hospital this year after a successful year's internship with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Tauranga Pharmacy team.

This year's conference was the fourth for Harris, but the first time he's been part of a competing team.


"Teams were either put forward by countries that had won competitions previously or a mixture of nationalities who wanted to give it a go."

Harris was approached by the Dutch delegate and asked to join the team.

He said the team was given a briefing, covering the clinical case (patient with acute lithium poisoning), history and relevant blood work. They had 10 minutes to do a mock interview with an actor filling the role of both clinician and patient.

From there, the team had to develop a care plan.

"It was tricky as I only speak English. We had to make a list of medicinal recommendations and further investigations based on our findings," he said.

With one computer, the nominated team member then formatted the plan and it was handed in the following morning.

The entire exercise completed in 24 hours.

Tauranga Pharmacy team Manager Cindy Mortimer said they were all thrilled and proud of Harris' achievement.

"We have seen Elliot grow from completing his internship under the guidance of the clinical pharmacy team to now practicing as a qualified pharmacist."

IPSF is the leading international advocacy organisation for pharmacy and pharmaceutical science students. It promotes improved public health through the provision of information, education, and networking opportunities as well as a range of publications and professional activities.