“Giving them a competitive edge”


AJP chats to the brains behind the University of Sydney graduate vaccination scheme

From the first week of December this year, graduates of the university’s Master of Pharmacy degree will become provisionally registered.

As soon as that happens they will go through the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s vaccination course conducted on the university campus, making them the first interns in Australia to be able to vaccinate.

The training program will consist of an online pre-work module and a one-day workshop incorporating lectures and hands-on training from registered nurses.

“The course will be identical to the one done by registered pharmacists,” says Professor Peter Carroll from Sydney University’s Pharmacology department.

“They will be the only interns in Australia to be qualified to vaccinate. It means that within three months of graduating, they will be helping with the April batch of influenza vaccinations coming in,” says Professor Carroll.

So why did these professors feel the need to train their graduates in vaccination early?

“We saw this as a win-win type situation,” explains Professor Carroll. “We want to send out pharmacy students out as work prepared as we can. It’s just another thing we can add to the mix to make them better-trained graduates.

“And of course we believe that vaccination is a major public health initiative that our pharmacy graduates can contribute towards.”

Professor Jane Hanrahan from the university’s Faculty of Pharmacy – and one of the main drivers behind the initiative – says getting their graduates accredited in vaccination early will be a huge boost to their career prospects.

“It makes them more competitive, we’re giving them that competitive edge,” says Professor Hanrahan.

She explains that her team had to negotiate with the Dean of Pharmacy and the Guild to organise the program and their hope is to eventually integrate the vaccination training into the degree.

This way, students could complete the course in their final semester and still be accredited to practise – but that would require legal changes that they need to negotiate for in the future.

“Currently, a provisionally registered intern can vaccinate if they’ve done an accredited course while being registered and if they did it under the supervision of a pharmacist who has also done the course,” Professor Hanrahan explains.

Meanwhile the university is pleased to be working with the Guild in implementing the new course.

“I think it’s fantastic that the Guild is working with the university towards the betterment of pharmacy,” says Professor Carroll.

“And the students are really keen to do it as well.”

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