I was the first person in my family to go to university, so it was a big step. I applied for a Bachelor of Pharmacy thinking I would not even be accepted. I started the first six months thinking I would not cope with university and then I did really well. I completed the whole course and I loved it.
Mount Isa is home for me. I grew up there. My current role is at James Cook University at the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health. I am a remote pharmacy academic and a lot of my time is focused on supporting students on placement, as well as promoting rural pharmacy.
We run an intern training program to help intern pharmacists who are completing their intern year to prepare for exams and expose them to different aspects of rural pharmacy. We also do research and teach in a few different disciplines. When I’m supporting students I feel like I can relate well. I’ve been in their shoes and I’ve sat in those same seats in the lecture theatres.
Being a pharmacist is a diverse role because you’re at the forefront of health care in rural and remote areas. Because it can be a bit of a wait to see a doctor, people are generally more unwell when presenting at rural pharmacies and the health issues can be much more complex. People are generally more appreciative of your time and more prepared to listen to your advice.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a very successful pharmacy career in rural areas. I went into my intern year, I managed a community pharmacy and then I went on to do home medication review consultations. I love the fact that I can go to someone’s house and spend an hour to two hours sitting with them, talking about their medications and their health in general and report all of the information back to the doctor with recommendations for change and see that change. There is nowhere else in the world that I could do that sort of work. I go to work because I love what I do and I feel like I can make a difference.
I’ve started my Master of Pharmaceutical Public Health at JCU and the eventual plan is to continue on to do a PhD. I really do love studying. I’ve studied since I graduated. I did my Bachelor degree and then I did my Home Medication Review accreditation and then my Graduate Certificate of Diabetes Education and now I’ve started my Master’s degree. Time is my biggest battle. I have two young children and work, but life is short and you’ve got to live it. Everything will work out, you’ve just got to keep going.