College of Medicine and Dentistry Fire in the belly to be her own boss

Fire in the belly to be her own boss

Mon, 31 Aug 2020

As the managing partner of a large, thriving pharmacy on the Gold Coast, Farnaz Famouri’s career perfectly blends her clinical and small business skills and fulfills a long-held goal.

“When I went into study pharmacy I went in with the mindset that eventually I would like to own my own business.  I also really like the clinical side so it ticked both boxes.  The fire in the belly to go into business was always there,” Farnaz said.

“I always had the drive to be my own boss and to work when I want to.  I’m quite lucky that now I get to choose my hours and work my clinical hours around that.”

While having achieved her goal, Farnaz is the first to admit the journey to get there has been as varied as it has been rewarding. Right from the earliest days of discovering pharmacy as a future career.

“I started university doing science in Brisbane.  I did two years while I worked out what and where I wanted to study. Initially, it was going to be physiotherapy, but then I found out JCU was starting its pharmacy course in Townsville.”

Having come from Brisbane, Farnaz planned to transfer back there after the first year of her pharmacy degree.  But despite a rocky start to her new life in the north, she quickly fell in love with JCU and the course and decided to stay.

“Being at JCU was quite a nice bubble to be in.  It was multicultural with students from all around the world.  We were a group of about 60 students and everyone knew each other and helped each other out.  We knew the lecturers on a first name basis and could just pop in and see them.  I liked that small university feel.”

Being part of the university’s first cohort of pharmacy graduates also helped forge lifelong friendships.

“It was a real eye-opener meeting people from all over the place.  I’m still friends with most of them.  It’s lovely to have those friendships that have lasted beyond our uni years.”

After graduation, Farnaz decided to stay on in the north to complete her internship and launch her career in Townsville. With a taste for travel, she also found work opportunities in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Mackay, Mount Isa and even the UK where she completed the requirements for registration to practice as a pharmacist there.

“I managed to find pharmacy work in all those places.  It’s a great thing about pharmacy, you can move around anywhere and you can find a job. There is always a new challenge or endeavour to take on”, Farnaz said.

Travelling for work also gave Farnaz the chance to build her skills, also adding home medication reviews as another string to her professional bow.

“I did home medication reviews while I was having kids as it fitted into my life really well.

“I loved having that one-on-one interaction with patients and I also enjoyed the clinical side of writing the reports and working with the doctors and medical centres. It was actually a highlight in my career.”

Another opportunity she relished was the chance to work with the Aboriginal Medical Centre in Mackay.

“It was great to be part of the health team there, and work alongside nurses, allied healthcare workers, doctors and psychologists. The pharmacist fits really well into that holistic context of health, and I hope in the future that there will be more health services that take on this model of care.”

Now happily settled in southeast Queensland, Farnaz is revelling in the challenge of running a retail pharmacy business and combining it with her clinical skills especially with the expanding role of the community pharmacists.

“It is very exciting. I would never have thought when we were studying pharmacy that we would be immunising or doing diabetes and cholesterol checks,” she said.

Reflecting on her career and the opportunities opening up to pharmacists today, Farnaz is keen to recommend the profession to those interested in working in the health field.

“There is so much variety in it.  You can explore different areas, whether it is clinical or business.  You can go work for the government or you can go into research and education. I love the fact that there is always work.”

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