Staff Spotlight: Sam Turner

AJP chats with Sam about life as a pharmacist manager in the coastal city of Hervey Bay, QLD

With a lot of experience behind him as a student pharmacist and intern for Terry White Chemists, Sam moved from a pharmacist role to become Pharmacist Manager of Priceline Pharmacy Hervey Bay within just one month.

How did he do it?

We ask Sam about his experience as a student pharmacist and career progression, as well as what it’s like working and living on the coast.

1. Firstly, what’s it like working in Hervey Bay?

I love it, Hervey Bay is a great community, a great part of Queensland and only a stone’s throw to Fraser Island. The customers are very friendly and really appreciate you and the staff, kind of like any regional town I guess. We do have a large retiree population, which keeps me busy but creates huge opportunities to engage with social groups and activities. That’s really important for the business.

I do go to the beach a lot, but if I get the time I like to get away to quieter areas to go camping and a bit of fishing.

2. Do you get a lot of tourists among your customers?

Not particularly, we’re not really up that end of town. However, our busier months throughout the year apart from November/December would definitely be during whale-watching season. July/August we do get a lot of people come and stay, also grey nomads who escape the winter down south will always stay for a while in the campgrounds.

Whale Watching Hervey Bay Australia by eGuide Travel. Image: Flickr
Whale Watching Hervey Bay Australia by eGuide Travel. Image: Flickr

3. I’m sure many students/ECPs would like to know: how did you work your way up from pharmacy intern to pharmacy manager within such a short amount of time?

I had a lot of experience in pharmacy before I graduated. Working part-time throughout my degree for a really good store certainly gave me a huge leg up. This included good mentors.

Since then, after registering I simply looked for an opportunity that I knew would give me a chance to get some great leadership and management experience.

Admittedly it meant moving away from the city, but that’s the sacrifice I knew I had to take to get better experience and also remuneration.

4. Any tips for our readers who would like to progress their career in the same way?

Certainly don’t undervalue yourself, but put in the hard yards to learn from your experience. Having great role models is definitely an important factor, and turning to people for advice in situations that might seem overwhelming will definitely help you through it.

A good mentor will often be someone who is impartial to your day-to-day work, so find people you can approach external to your daily work.

And finally, be optimistic and energetic in everything you do. I’m not saying be oblivious to poor environments or situations, but find ways to challenge them so that you can benefit from the experience and be more satisfied with the outcome.

5. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Honestly, I love my customers. Creating a relationship with your customers is one of the most important aspects of your role.

Without generating trust and respect, you’ll struggle to make an impact on their health. But if you gain a trustful relationship where they know they can come to you for quality advice, that’s where you create loyalty. And in community pharmacy, that’s where you’ll see success.

Another secondary focus; always SMILE.

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