Kathryn tells us more about her JCU Pharmacy experience:
Best thing about studying pharmacy at JCU ….
Honestly, the people. Being in small class sizes, all the students in pharmacy know one another and encourage each other to excel. All the lecturers know you by name and want you to succeed. I don’t think I would have enjoyed my learning experience as much as I have at JCU if I didn’t have the amazing support around me.
Favourite placement experiences …
JCU Pharmacy offers 600 hours of professional placement within the degree, which is a lot in comparison to other universities in the country. I still have one more placement block to go, but my previous placements have seen me in a compounding pharmacy in Townsville, a community pharmacy in Cairns specialising in sleep apnoea and diabetes management among other conditions, down in Mackay and Airlie Beach and even at the Mater hospital in Brisbane. These placement opportunities have been integral to my learning. On campus we have also engaged in dispensing, counselling, and compounding practicals, which has also helped to shape and develop my knowledge in pharmacy practice.
I went to Airlie Beach last year for a couple of weeks. This was a great experience as the staff were so helpful and it was interesting to witness the way pharmacists are utilised as first points of health care by tourists. It can take up to three weeks to get into see a GP in this area and for tourists passing through, the wait was not practical, so there were some very interesting presentations to the community pharmacy. I was able to problem-solve and escalate concerns as appropriate.
This year I was placed at the Mackay Base Hospital, which was a great opportunity to experience hospital pharmacy practice in a regional area. I participated in the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey and worked with the antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) pharmacist and infectious diseases consultant on the prescribing practices surrounding antimicrobial use in the hospital. I was then able to present my findings to the pharmacy department and engage in optimising the appropriate use of antimicrobials within the hospital setting. On the wards, I engaged with patients to collect medication histories as well as perform chart reviews and counselling of medications upon discharge.
I also travelled to the Carlyle Community Health Centre to help in an educational talk to rehabilitation patients on how new medications might increase their risk of recurrent falls. I had the opportunity to travel to the Sarina Hospital, a rural hospital with only 10 beds. I was able to see new patients who were admitted since the last time a pharmacist travelled out there and reconcile any medication-related problems on paper Medication Action Plans.