Pharmacists willing to go west: poll

rural pharmacy: pretty rural scene with gum trees and blue sky

While it isn’t everybody’s first choice, a significant number of Australian pharmacists would consider leaving the city behind in a bid to further their career, a recent poll suggests.

At the PSA16 conference, NAPSA’s Matthew Scott said that there was significant potential in looking at rural and remote areas, both in terms of finding work and finding better rates of pay.

We asked readers whether they’d consider leaving the city behind to find work – and found that while it wouldn’t be the first choice of all, a surprisingly large number of pharmacists would consider expanding their horizons.

Twenty-two per cent of readers said they were currently working in a rural setting, with another 11% saying they’d be happy to go rural to find work, and another 7% saying they were of rural or regional background already.

Fourteen per cent said they’d working in a rural pharmacy in the past, and would do so again; another 23% wouldn’t do it again, but at least had given it a go.

Only 8% said they would never go rural to find work in pharmacy.

Scott told the AJP today that these results were encouraging, and urged all pharmacists dissatisfied with their employment prospects or pay rates to consider the opportunities available outside the major cities.

“To quote [former Young Pharmacist of the Year] Taren Gill, if you go into providing health care, you need to go where Australia needs the most care – which is rural,” Scott, who is from a Riverina district town called Bunnaloo, says.

“There’s a lot more opportunities to do things you may not get a chance to do in the metro areas, such as going out and doing Aboriginal health work in the community.

“It’s encouraging that people are starting to realise that there’s opportunities out here; sometimes the only way to get people out to the country is for them to realise what they’re missing.

“Too many people look at it as leaving the city, leaving the lifestyle they think they want, when they haven’t had the chance to experience something different elsewhere.”

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  1. Dr J

    I don’t think this poll is at all suggestive of Australian pharmacists intentions when it comes to going rural. According to the poll (if you interpret the results as such) the majority have tried and wouldn’t return!
    The other day I was asked to witness a fellow rural worker’s documents. This labourer was getting paid on average $65/hr to work as a mechanic in a rural area. Yes a MECHANIC. The bloke could barely speak fluent English. His total remuneration from ONE employer came to over $145k/annum. Are rural pharmacies paying that? From the adverts I have perused, no.
    IF you are a true rural pharmacy what do you pay…care to comment? I am sure professional, experienced pharmacists would expect – and deserve – an equal or greater salary than $145k….I have pharmacists friends, you see, that earn close to that in metro areas anyway so if a mechanic can earn that rurally then surely a pharmacist can? NOTE: General practitioners certainly receive far greater than that amount for rural work ($300k/annum) as a comparison.

    • William

      Like all commodities, labour rates are a function of supply and demand and the capacity of a business to bear the rate.
      Belly aching about what others earn may be self satisfying but will not alter things, just like Arts students claiming they did not go to University to be a receptionist or checkout chick.
      Some years back there was a shortage of pharmacist and the Guild ran re-entry courses to encourage older pharmacist who had been out of the trade to come back and help out.
      Then some years ago when Labor removed restrictions on Universities student numbers they were flooded with enrolments, standards dropped and overproduction of all graduates including pharmacists resulted.
      Now we have few tradesmen and they can ask what they like; however with the slowing of mining ecomony, mechanics etc are more plentiful.
      As for medicos there is a move to restrict the number of foreign trained as our own graduates cannot find training positions.

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