Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist September 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist September 2014 I © Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
In Victoria, young pharmacists are encouraged to explore rural pharmacy
opportunities first hand, on The Great Victorian Railway Tour.
Down by the station early on Saturday
morning, a group of early career
pharmacists boarded the V-line train from
Melbourne, embarking on what would
pan out to be a fun-filled, memorable and
for some, a career-altering journey.
The Early Career Pharmacist Working
Group (ECPWG) is comprised of
passionate young pharmacists, interns
and students who provide networking,
social, mentoring and professional
support to fellow colleagues in the
first 10 years of their pharmacy career.
The group plans events and activities that
inspire others to better themselves and
seek more challenging and rewarding
Alice Yuen, president of the Victorian
ECPWG, said that many early career
pharmacists have reservations about
working in rural areas even though
there are excellent career opportunities
available for them. So it very quickly
became the group’s mission to alleviate
these concerns and encourage young
pharmacists to make the move.
How better to do this other than to
arrange a weekend away and let them
experience it themselves.
First stop, 120 kilometres from
Melbourne, was Castlemaine. With a
population of about 8,000, this quaint
city has an alluring charm of culture,
tranquillity and familiarity. The sense
of community was most evident in
To Leo Thomas, the local pharmacist,
patients are more than a name on a
script, they are family and each has a
story. Leo pioneered forward pharmacy
and automation over the years. His high
tech robotic dispensing machine means
that his staff are positioned out the
front with their customers at all times,
enhancing the professional efficiency
and maximising time spent with patients.
Next station was the City of Greater
Bendigo. This was quite a contrast to
Castlemaine. With a significantly larger
population of 100,000, Bendigo is a
vibrant and culturally enriched place.
Local pharmacies were buzzing with
residents and visitors yet the relaxed
atmosphere meant they too had personal
relationships with their customers
and were thoroughly involved in
Early career pharmacists also went on a
tour of St John of God Private Hospital
and its comprehensive pharmacy
department hosted by Megan Barker.
Megan, a Melbournian who has been a
pharmacist for less than two years, claims
that only two months post registration
she was offered a pharmacist in charge
position in a remote country town,
‘an opportunity I would have only been
able to dream about in the city,’ and she is
now the Deputy Director of the St John of
God Pharmacy Department.
Third and final stop was the enchanting
town of Echuca. This town too had
a wonderful community spirit.
Jarrod McMaugh, a local community
pharmacist, explained that ‘rural
pharmacy is a very rewarding career
path. You can genuinely get to know your
customers, they respect your expertise
and knowledge and you can have a huge
impact on their health’.
The rewarding rural pharmacy experience
was not the only thing appreciated by
early career pharmacists on the Great
Victorian Railway Tour. They were also
given the opportunity to experience the
rural lifestyle, visit local attractions, gain
CPD credits after attending a couple of
PSA Medicines Update sessions in Echuca,
network with local pharmacists and form
friendships for life.
The rich Chinese heritage and culture
experienced on a tour of the Bendigo
Golden Dragon Museum, a barbecue
overlooking the uninhibited beauty of
Lake Weeroona and the scenic Murray
River Paddle steamer ride in Echuca were a
few of the weekend highlights.
Victorian Branch Director Bill Suen, who
accompanied the young pharmacists
on their adventure said: ‘ Thanks to the
ECPWG and our sponsors, JPH accountants
and PDL, the tour was a great success.
It was fantastic for young pharmacists to
witness the vast range of rural pharmacy
‘ This will be an annual Victorian event
to provide early career pharmacists
an enjoyable weekend to gain
an appreciation of the wonderful
opportunities, excellent lifestyle and the
easy access to rural areas.’
However, the final word should go to
Megan Barker who said: ‘Working in a
rural pharmacy is always going to have its
challenges; however nothing worth doing
is ever going to be easy. If you decide to
make the move, even for a short period of
time, you will find it will be one of the most
rewarding decisions you have ever made.’
Marina Hanna is the Professional Development and
Practice Support Pharmacist for the PSA Victorian
Branch, based in Melbourne.
BY MARINA HANNA
» EARLY CAREER PHARMACIST FOCUS
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