There’s life beyond pharmacy’s walls

healthcare professional reading patient chart isolated outside hospital, green trees

Despite the gloom settling over the pharmacy sector, there’s actually more opportunities out there than ever, writes Karalyn Huxhagen

Opportunities for those of us pharmacists of a more mature age appear to be burgeoning.

Gone are the doom and gloom days of asking yourself, “is there work out there?” My inbox, Facebook page, Twitter feed and LinkedIn feed are full of interesting opportunities to use  my abilities.

I have always been pleased that I made the change from nursing to pharmacy, though I would have loved to have been a helicopter retrieval paramedic if my body could have held that level of fitness.

During my early days at Longreach Hospital I did perform retrieval work, even though I was the pharmacist. Some days it was all hands on deck when there were multiple incidents happening in the hospital district.

Currently I could apply for a clinical position in the local hospital; a six-month stint at the Pharmacy Guild writing pharmacy assistant modules (which I have a long history of doing); work as a locum at Blackall, Alpha or the Gemfields; or a pharmacy lecturer position at several regional universities.

The world is my oyster and it feels damn good that I am finally being recognised for my worth.

As HMR referrals have all but ceased in my area with absolutely no support from the PHN for my business, it is time to take stock of what do I want to do next.

Do I want to solidify my role in one of the GP practices that I perform HMRs for and become their GP practice support pharmacist? Do I want to buy a Winnebago and perform locums in rural Australia? Should I apply for some of the amazing SHPA and APC roles that are being advertised to pharmacists?

Is your pharmacy world shrinking? Do you need some go-go juice in your veins? Have you thought about how your skills could be used as a return-to-work consultant on a mine site?

Pharmacists for far too long have restricted their vision within the four walls of a pharmacy or hospital. As many of us have shown in recent years there are so many other roles and opportunities.

Do not be afraid to take the leap of faith. Believe in your ability, sell your skills to the advertiser and expand your horizons.

The short-sightedness of those that think they hold our livelihood in their control can be repelled against. This is the best time to push the boundaries for expanding the places where a health professional with a pharmacy degree may earn a living.


Karalyn Huxhagen is a community pharmacist and was 2010 Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacist of the Year. She has been named winner of the 2015 PSA Award for Quality Use of Medicines in Pain Management and is group facilitator of the Mackay Pain Support Group.

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