Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist July 2012 Contents 536 Australian Pharmacist July 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
EARLY CAREER PHARMACIST FOCUS
The challenges of nding that
By Alexander Lui
Pharmacy in Canberra is changing. In the
four years since I began my studies, one
of the biggest changes has been the ratio
of students graduating to the number of
pharmacies with internships available.
While students continue to graduate,
there are not enough pharmacies to
accommodate internships -- a critical
component of the transition from student
To ensure a place to do your internship
when you graduate, you have to start
talking to, and applying to, pharmacies
early. This crucial fact is often not
mentioned during your studies.
While completing my masters at the
University of Canberra (U/C) I was
always under the impression that I could
organise an internship the end of the
course. After all there are a large number
of pharmacies in Canberra and the
How wrong I was!
I didn't realise that while there are
a lot of pharmacies, there are even
more students. I always thought my
competition for an internship would be
within my cohort at U/C. What I didn't
realise was that I was also competing
with students from Sydney, Melbourne
and all around Australia. I realised that
I should have started searching earlier;
I should have started getting my name
out there and working towards that
Six months ago I was still searching
for that internship, so that I could
continue my pharmacy training. I had
talked to many pharmacies; I was
trying to get my name out there, but
still nothing. Some pharmacies had
decided not to take an intern. This made
life harder. I was starting to realise that
while I have a Masters in Pharmacy,
without an internship, this would be
all I could achieve in this profession.
But I persevered.
I decided to give it one last roll of the dice.
I contacted everyone I knew in pharmacy
and nally, I received a reply. On the same
day I was interviewed I was o ered an
internship at Manuka Pharmacy in the
ACT. It came later than I expected, but
I secured an internship.
To this day I am extremely grateful to my
preceptor for giving me the opportunity
to undertake my internship with him.
Words cannot describe how appreciative
I am of the knowledge he and his team
have imparted to me.
I realise now that I am one of the lucky
ones. I almost gave up my dream of
pharmacy but this door opened for me
just in time. For that, I thank my preceptor,
Many pharmacists I spoke to during
my search for an internship showed
hesitation and blunt rejection when
approached to take on an intern.
Some pharmacists didn't want an intern
because there was no money to do so.
Some believed they could not o er an
adequate experience at their pharmacy.
As an early career pharmacist completing
my internship at a community pharmacy,
I understand the challenges of taking
on an intern. But to the pharmacies and
pharmacists who worry that an intern
won't gain enough experience, I say --
that's for the intern to decide!
The internship forms a crucial part
of training to become a pharmacist;
without it, where would students gain
enough practical experience to become
a pharmacist? I believe that if pharmacies
are able to provide the opportunity of an
internship, they should.
As a preceptor, you are giving an intern an
opportunity to gain practical experience,
and the bene t of your own knowledge
and experience. For that, they will be
eternally grateful, because getting that
internship will become harder and harder
in today's world of pharmacy.
The ratio of pharmacy students to the
number of internships available may
be uneven. But as a pharmacist, if you
are able to train at least one intern and
give them the chance to complete an
internship, just as you were given a
chance when you rst started, then you
are doing your bit to continue educating
the next generation of pharmacists.
Alexander Lui is the ACT Representative
on the Early Career Pharmacist Working
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