What do you do?
I am a hospital pharmacist, currently working on a medical ward.
Why did you choose to work in health?
There are endless job opportunities and many specialised areas in the health sector. This guarantees a dynamic career, with new challenges available at your finger tips. The ability to be part of a team that is responsible for improving the health of patients and being able to witness this happening “in front of your eyes” is very satisfying. I get up in the mornings looking forward to work and take on the challenges the day may have.
What advice would you give to a high school student interested in being a Pharmacist?
If you want a secure job at the end of your 4 years of slavery (studying), then pursue a career as a pharmacist. There are many intern spots available across the country whether it's in a hospital pharmacy or a community pharmacy. Basically you have two options to choose from within the first year of starting your career and not many jobs have this sort of flexibility. Working in the hospital setting has also provided me with access to lots of seminars and sessions to further my education, as well as giving me the opportunity to educate other health professionals. I have also been given the opportunity to start specialising in Nutrition and Pain related issues. This job provides you with endless opportunities and the world is your oyster.
What's been your most memorable experience on the job?
I was involved in a procedure (pleurodesis) that prevented a patient’s lung from “collapsing”, I had to supply the medicines required for the procedure and give some advice on the drugs' properties, which allowed me to observe the procedure. This was very satisfying and rewarding. It’s hard only mentioning ONE memorable experience, there are so many I can blabber on about.
What are some of the challenges of working as a Clinical Pharmacist?
Working in the health sector is no walk in the park! Sometimes it is very difficult working with so many health professionals, which guarantees conflicting view points, but at the end of the day everyone wants what is best for their patients. Being on-call sometimes wears you out, especially working 12 days straight, however I see all of this as a learning opportunity. There is also a lot of responsibility on your shoulders and people’s lives are on the line. Making mistakes can lead to serious problems, even death— making sure that this doesn’t happen is a definite challenge to overcome!
What subjects do you recommend taking at high school?
To make life easier at university taking the following subjects at school will be beneficial for you in the long run: chemistry, biology, physics, statistics, English. However, everyone has the same opportunity at university to make it into pharmacy school. Do not let anyone tell you anything different. Just work hard while you're at school and university because you will reap the benefits when you start working in the “real world”.
What's a typical day like for you?
08:00-10:00— I get to work and get straight into it. I start the day off in the dispensary slot, which is where we dispense medicines. I also answer any queries from other health care professionals, which can include ward doctors, nurses, GPs and midwives to name a few. We do chemotherapy checks and prepare patient information cards, which are cards with all the patient’s medical information. Other duties that we may do in the dispensary slot include: reviewing protocols, preparing in-service talks, checking items for manufacturing, checking blood/lab results and checking charts that were sent down the previous night. As you can see there is always plenty to do!
10:00— We have a morning meeting where we discuss any important issues that may have occurred since the day before and discuss what products need to be manufactured.
10:30-1:00— Ward duties: overseeing charts for doses, interactions, medicine selection/appropriateness, answering any queries ward staff may have, counselling patients on their medicines and manufacturing non-sterile and/or sterile products.
1:00-2:00— Lunch time! (I take lunch later than other staff members, since after 1pm on a medical ward it is impossible to get your hands on any charts. On Thursdays we have Journal Club at 12:30pm, so on these days I take lunch early. At Journal Club we get the opportunity to discuss any interesting articles recently published, or discuss our interventions. Sometimes we have guest speakers.
3:00-5:00— I spend the last few hours of the day answering any complicated queries, catching up with paper work, checking controlled drugs into and out of the safe and finishing off my ward duties by preparing yellow patient cards and doing any research required to compel in-service talks. I go home everyday at 5:00pm.