An eagerness to learn from Indigenous health experts
Jai-ann is one of six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacy students across Australia to receive a National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) scholarship, giving her access to financial support and mentorship. She is eager to learn more about Indigenous health, particularly innovative ways to alleviate some of the additional stresses experienced by Indigenous patients.
“I think we as pharmacists have to keep in mind that the Indigenous population have certain cultural activities and protocols they would like to follow,” she says.
“Taking multiple medications can get confusing and having to be in hospitals receiving treatment away from their family, away from their culture, away from their land and community can be really hard.
“It is something that must be considered. We need to work with the individual patient, their families and their community to help make that process easier, and even work out ways that we can keep them in community while receiving treatment instead of having to travel hundreds of kilometres.
“I saw a lot of that in Mount Isa, unfortunately, because it services Doomadgee, Mornington and communities where people tend to travel great distances. People were missing their families. They wanted to go home, they didn't want to be in hospital, and we had to try and accommodate that.”
Sights set on a career in hospital pharmacy
Once her honours project is complete and she graduates later this year, Jai-ann says she hopes her career will play out in hospital pharmacy.
“When I went into the hospital setting during placement, something clicked for me and I was like, ‘this is what I want to do’.
“My final placement is at Townsville University Hospital, and I can't wait to see what it’s like and how it compares to Mount Isa. I'm really keen to see the differences between rural health and that in a larger city.
“I'm just a student but I can already see the benefits of being a pharmacist and having a health career.”
Pharmacists make a difference to people's health every day, working in community, hospital and many other settings. Find out why a JCU Pharmacy degree will provide more career opportunities than you might expect.