Hospital and community pharmacy part time work - Monash Student Experiences Pt 2
Continuing on from last week, this time we will covering part time work experiences from students working in hospital and community pharmacies.
Community- Chemist Warehouse - 2nd year pharmacy student
Chemist Warehouse is a very large community pharmacy chain in Australia. So, in a company so large, I thought that the service provided might be more impersonal than a private pharmacy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I can’t speak for every store, but at my pharmacy it’s commonplace to know all of the regular customers by name. Our priority is putting the health and wellbeing of the customer first, and this is prioritised over selling them products that they might not need. All of the staff, including the pharmacy assistants, are trained in co-therapy. This means that the pharmacist can direct patients to the pharmacy assistants, where any additional products needed to combat side effects (or to supplement their therapy) can be recommended.
Working as a student has helped me in so many ways. Working also allows me to see real life cases and scenarios, and to be involved in problem-solving when our pharmacy receives an atypical script or patient. Working has also helped me to develop my counselling skills, as well as my dispensing and drug knowledge. I mentioned earlier that our staff is all trained in co-therapy and S2 products; at university, I can apply my knowledge of these products in the non-pharmacological section of my counselling. So, my university studies help me at work, and my knowledge from work helps me at university.
For any student looking to advance their knowledge and practical skills, I would recommend starting a job at a community pharmacy. The training and effort that they put into their pharmacy students has really benefited me and I've found it really valuable.
I hope this helps shed a little light onto what working in a community pharmacy is like.
Malaysia Exchange and Part time work (compounding) - MONASH Student Experiences Part 1
In this 2 part blog post, we have compiled student experiences from students who went on exchange to Malaysia and also from 3 pharmacy students each representing the 3 main types of pharmacies in Australia: compounding, community and hospital pharmacies.
This week, we will focus on the exchange experiences and compounding pharmacy part time work.
Have a read below and find out more about what it's like to work in the various types of pharmacies we have in Australia and their similarities/ differences!
Visit the blog again next week to read about part time work experiences in community and hospital pharmacies!
Two PY2 students, Sue Liu and Clara Kim, had immersion experiences in Annie Penn Hospital.
Annie Penn hospital is a rural hospital under Cone Health system in Reidsville, North Carolina. It is a single inpatient hospital with services in pulmonology, cardiology, acute management and chronic disease control, with smaller outpatient fills.
The immersion itself lasts 2 months. According to Sue, her first month consisted of medication history review in the ER, while the second month was spent shadowing various health care professionals in different departments (e.g. cancer center, respiratory, surgery, and endoscopy), working in the IV room preparing IVs for patients, then later on working up patients, assessing them, and going on rounds with other pharmacists, nurses, case workers, and physicians in the mornings. “All these were valuable experiences for me because they allowed me to see the merit of interdisciplinary work that does on in hospital everyday,” Sue said about her experience. “I was able to see care delivery from one medical professional to another, which was one of the highlights of my rotation.”
However, working in the hospital as a PY1 student was not without its challenges. To Clara, who grew up in a city setting, transitioning to a small rural hospital was a surprising change. “I had to drive by cows and horses in the mornings, and once I even had to drive around a tractor that was going 5mph in a two-lane highway. I first felt like an oddball, also being one of the few minorities in the hospital,” she said. However, she soon fell in love with her working environment. “My favorite part of the rotation was how warm the people were,” Clara commented, “Being in a small hospital you may be disappointed at not being able to see more ‘exciting’ medical situations, but the staff are very kind and they have a sense of community.”
Sue felt it was a little bit challenging to deal with many drugs and disease states which she had limited exposure to during her first-year training. For instance, community acquired pneumonia and other infectious diseases were a common indication for hospital admissions, but unfortunately were only superficially covered during the first year. It was a challenge that pushed Sue to learn more and faster. She became a self-directed learner, looking up new drugs that she had never encountered before on reputable drug information websites (such as Uptodate.com) and memorizing the brand name, generic name, and adverse effects. “I also asked many questions to people around me, as they had much more experience in working at a hospital,” Sue said. “My preceptor also gave me plenty of feedback to help me improve.”
If you have any question about Clara and Sue’s experiences, feel free to email them or comment below!
Clara’s email: email@example.com
Sue’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some photos taken by Clara during her immersion:
At Monash, we experience 4 kinds of pharmacy placements. A little about each type of placement has been written by some Monash students including Pharmalliance committee members Alisha and Emma. Read ahead to find out their experiences from their January/ February placements!
Students spend 3 weeks gaining practical experience in a local pharmacy where they learn to dispense and counsel on medications and provide health education to the general public. Students can choose to do 1 or 2 community placements.
Students get 2 opportunities throughout the year to work in major hospitals in Melbourne. In here, we get a chance to work in a multidisciplinary team and contribute in treating patients with complex health conditions as well as dispensing prescriptions and observe sterile manufacturing.These placements last for 3 weeks as well. This is how my friend, Krista, found it.
I remember being very nervous and apprehensive about going to my very first hospital placement. I believe everything ran smoothly due to the great organisation skills of the PEP (Professional Experience Placement) staff. It was a relief that the PEP staff took into account our residential addresses when allocating us to our hospital locations. I was allocated to complete my placement at Sunshine Hospital which was less than an hour’s worth of commuting, of which I was very grateful.
The pharmacy department staff were very accommodating and welcoming. They certainly went above and beyond to ensure that we felt comfortable. Our preceptor Dorothy, was so helpful and genuinely cared for our well-being and education. She was very organised and allocated us timetables to various wards to make sure we were exposed to as much of the hospital as possible. She would even take the time out of her day to meet us for daily education sessions. We found these sessions so helpful and handy and we will never forget how awesome she made our first hospital placement to be.
Students have a choice to go to a rural town to participate in activities in a community pharmacy of that area and in some cases, work in a rural hospital. This placement not only trains us to be pharmacists but also demonstrates the rural lifestyle and its challenges.
4. Remote Rural:
I was lucky enough have the opportunity to visit a remote area of Australia for 6 weeks. It did take up part of my summer holidays but coming to Broken Hill, a mining town in the Outback, gave me a chance to learn of the positive and negative aspects of healthcare in remote areas of Australia. Visiting Broken Hill provided me experience in a community pharmacy and in a remote hospital where healthcare workers must overcome challenges due to their location to provide their patients the best treatment possible. I’ve learned how mining affects the health of the locals and of the programs in place to enhance Aboriginal health (such as Close the Gap).
The locals in Broken Hill are friendly but a stoic bunch as they have endured droughts and floods of the desert. Some patients live or work in isolated areas such as the sheep station we visited. This is why healthcare in a remote area requires specialised services such as the Royal Flying Doctors Service to fly some patients to the Broken Hill hospital or to more specialised centres in cities. In some cases, an offroads ambulance is required to drive to areas where the airplanes can’t land. I guess you can say that there’s never a dull day with healthcare in Broken Hill!