Pharmacy Course on the Rise

Wed, 14 Jun 2017
Pharmacy Course on the Rise

Pharmacy's popularity skyrockets at James Cook University. JCU’s Pharmacy enrolments have more than doubled this year amid the soaring popularity of the course.

The good news doesn’t end there, with graduates having no problem finding jobs, expressing extremely high levels of satisfaction with their course, and the vast majority are choosing to remain in North Queensland to work.

JCU Head of Pharmacy Associate Professor Michelle Bellingan said there was a 60 per cent increase in first year Pharmacy students in 2017. There are 50 new Bachelor of Pharmacy first year students and a total of 165 students.

The growing enrolments will help address pharmacy workforce shortages when the students graduate in four years’ time.

“We are delighted with this news, which will help to meet workforce needs in the North and elsewhere,” Dr Bellingan said.

“We are even starting to see students from South East Queensland choosing to study here in Townsville, when they would have usually studied closer to home.

“We are also starting to attract more students from places like Mackay and Queensland’s central coast, where students have traditionally gone south to study pharmacy.”

The increase in numbers in northern Queensland has been highlighted this year with two students from the tiny Far North Queensland community of Dimbulah (population roughly 1400) starting their course.

“There is a shortage of pharmacists in North Queensland, especially in rural areas. It has traditionally been difficult to attract people to those areas,” Dr Bellingan said.

Students undertake 603 hours of placement over the course of their degree, and a certain number of those hours must be undertaken in regional, rural and remote areas. As a result, JCU graduates are confident to work in those areas after graduating.

“Our students can work anywhere in the country, but many are keen to work in regional Queensland.

“Our excellent placement program contributes to the work-readiness of our graduates. This reputation ensures that our graduates enjoy very good employment prospects.

“Our students have no difficulty in finding employment. The current shortage of pharmacists has seen employers in regional areas of Queensland having to employ recruitment consultants to find staff.”

In a recent Quality Indicators for Teaching and Learning (QILT) Course Experience Questionnaire 2015-2016, JCU graduates reported 100% satisfaction with their course.

The Pharmacy students started classes in the week beginning 20 February 2017, and first year students will be studying chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and anatomy, as well as pharmacy-specific subjects.