Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2012 Contents 22 Australian Pharmacist January 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
'Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared
is half the victory.' These famous words
by Miguel de Cervantes speak to the
importance of being prepared. So if you're
hoping for success when doing your
intern year exams it's best to do all you
can to ensure you are prepared.
We all know that exams can be daunting,
and the worst exams are those that you
go into not knowing what to expect. This
is what happened to Natalie Tang when
she first sat her oral exams during her
Although Natalie was confident that she
was across the material, she faltered when
doing her oral exams. When asked why
this happened she says that it was partly
due to the change to the exam format
that occurred that year. Also, she didn't
get 'prepped' beforehand and didn't
have the 'structure of the exams'. This left
her with no idea about what to expect.
Nerves and stage fright did the rest.
So Natalie had completed all other
aspects of her intern year but had to wait
to re-sit her oral exam before she could
'I was hardcore,' Natalie says about her
approach to her exam preparation this
year. 'I called PSA for guidance and help.'
PSA recommended that she attend their
upcoming workshops focussing on oral
The workshops are broken into three
sections -- knowledge and counselling,
a primary care scenario and a problem
solving workshop. Natalie found the
three sections very useful and treated the
workshop 'like it was my oral exam'.
'Knowledge and counselling was a real
good one,' Natalie said. 'The examples
(PSA) uses are realistic ... It is relevant
to our practice and the kind of thing we
would see in our exams.'
She also commented that facilitators
ensure that interns give a straight answer.
'It was really helpful because that's what
you aim for in the exam. You can't be
wishy-washy, you have to have an answer.'
The other two sections aren't as
straightforward in the exam. As Natalie
puts it, the primary care scenario could be
anything in the exam and in the problem
solving section of the exam the examiners
can 'keep digging for more answers'.
Preparation is all
By Deborah Benjamin
Natalie found that these sections of the
workshop 'give you context' and are a
'good guide for someone studying'.
One strength of PSA's workshops is the
'The facilitators are well versed,' observed
Natalie. 'The way that they ask questions,
or the way that they provide you with extra
information ... it is very useful in an exam
situation.' She even confided that in the
workshops one of the facilitators was 'my
hero'. 'She was the real clinical aspect of
knowledge that I want to gain in my career.'
Natalie passed her oral exams this year.
When asked if she thought the PSA
workshops helped her do so, she said,
'Yes, absolutely! It made everything
concrete and prepared you for
what to expect.'
Although her intern journey was a little
longer than she first expected, Natalie
feels she has learned a great deal from her
'The intern year is a vital year; it allows
you to take the theory into practice. It is
hard coming out of university. You have
all this knowledge and you kind of need
to know how you can use it.'
Now that it is behind her, she is looking
forward to working in community
pharmacy as it runs in her family. Natalie
also hopes to round out her career working
in a hospital setting at some stage.
For more information on the PSA NITP or
to enrol in the 2012 intake visit www.psa.
org.au/intern or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Benjamin is Manager of the
National Intern Training Program.
the percentage of rural students that
universities can attract to study pharmacy
the greater the likelihood of a more
evenly spread workforce. The profession
should be increasing, not limiting, the
rural pharmacy scholarship scheme.
Rural CPE Allowance
Changes to the eligibility of PhARIA
1 pharmacists to access CPE travel
allowance will make regional practice
more expensive and less desirable. It will
mean that regional pharmacists are less
likely to attend conferences, and mix
with their peers and mentors. Interns will
be unable to claim support allowances
to travel to urban centres which deliver
The literature confirms that more exposure
students and interns have to rural practice
the greater the likelihood that they stay
and work in rural areas. Investing in rural
student and intern placements has been
a successful strategy in increasing the
regional rural pharmacy workforce.
At the time of writing, little information
is available around the rationale for the
announcement on changes to eligibility
for the rural workforce programs. PSA
believes that an equitable and effective
course of action would be to consult
affected stakeholders and agree an
appropriate way forward.
If you would like to further discuss the
implications of the changes to rural
pharmacy support please contact Lindy
Swain at email@example.com
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