UNE welcomes new pharmacy students


UNE's new pharmacy students show off their white shirts

The newest cohort of University of New England pharmacy students have been welcomed to the profession in a ceremony held this week.

The ceremony was held as part of the pharmacy discipline’s first intensive residential program for first-year students.

The PSA partners with UNE to deliver the Welcome to the Profession ceremony and supplies all first-year students with their white practice shirts.

The practice shirts were presented by the PSA’s NSW Branch Director Steven Drew and are a nod to white jackets which are historically associated with the profession of pharmacy. About 60 students are in the 2015 first-year intake.

The Welcome to Profession event also featured a presentation by UNE Pharmacy alumni and NSW Intern Pharmacist of the Year Laura Norman. Norman will be competing for the title of Australian Intern Pharmacist of the Year award at the upcoming PSA national conference, PSA15, being held in Sydney from 30 July – 1 August 2015.

In his address to students, Drew affirmed PSA’s commitment to the pharmacists of the future, demonstrated by its constant development of new pathways for their careers.

“At the ceremony we were able to discuss with students their hopes and aspirations and also point out that there are many different career pathways for them when they graduate,” Drew said.

“It is a competitive environment for young pharmacists and at PSA we take very seriously our role of helping to guide these young people as they pursue their careers.”

Drew also noted the enviable record the UNE Pharmacy program was establishing despite being in only its sixth year of operation. Already UNE has produced two NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year award winners (including 2015 winner Brighid Carey) and NSW Intern of the Year Laura Norman.

Drew said the ceremony was an important step in the students’ journey to becoming pharmacists.

“It is a special occasion in that it brings them into the pharmacy family and also introduces them to some of the support and mentoring services available to them through PSA as they progress,” he said.

“This ceremony highlights that the students are not alone in this journey and have the support of the PSA and their peers.

“The white coat ceremony is an affirmation of that commitment and an opportunity for the students to engage with the Society and with pharmacists who can help guide and mentor them as they move forward.

“I welcome these students to our great profession and look forward to continuing to work with them.”

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2 Comments

  1. Dr Catherine Pratt
    14/07/2015

    Wow what an amazing introduction for all the students at UNE one of the most professional academic departments I have had the privilege to be involved.I read a story last week in AJP talking about the over abundance of graduating pharmacists..Most of these students at UNE are from rural areas of Australia, the very reason if I remember for the explosion of pharmacy schools starting with JCU? Correct me if I am wrong. Also I was a research fellow scientist before taking on pharmacy and have either worked or studied at most of the universities up and down the east coast of Australia, I can tell you that the professional, enthusiasm is of the highest standard. Most of the students at UNE external students have prior degrees, a lot being mums that cannot go back to their previous careers. UNE has allowed them to still be a mum and go back to work with a new and exciting profession.

    A lot was also said that the 99th percentile students of the past have disappeared and how it has had an effect on the pharmacy profession. In 1997 I was a 99th percentile that started pharmacy at UQ, however, I just was not ready for it mainly because I did not have the maturity and empathy that I believe is so badly required. I was honest enough to not just finish pharmacy because it was one of the big three (medicine, dentistry or pharmacy). Just because you are smart does not mean that you are going to possess the qualities that are so badly needed in pharmacy, like at least some life experience.

    So impressed by UNE’s already outstanding achievements, Steven Drew CEO of PSA came to not only present our white shirts, but talk to each and every one about any questions regarding the future of pharmacy. Dr Anna Barwick, the co-ordinator and lecturer of this class was fantastic, one of the best lecturers I have seen in a long time and so very genuine, a rare find!
    All in all UNE Pharmacy is a first class degree, they have opened up a whole new aspect to learning to allow students of highest calibre the chance to bring a whole new set of skills to the pharmacy family. UNE is here to stay! Well done Anna and Stephen!

    • United we stand
      15/08/2015

      “UNE has allowed them to still be a mum and go back to work with a new and exciting profession”….wow just wow!
      Please elaborate on how community Pharmacy is an exciting profession. Pay wise you are getting less than a nurse! $28/hr will quickly diminish any excitement you had and replace it with resentment. New graduates are expected to work late night shifts and weekends at least for the first 5 years at the start of their career, making it very difficult for mums and older adults to find the kind of work they can arrange around their family commitments.

      The Guild is working fastidiously to remove all Penalty rates, so expect to get $28/hr even on a Sunday in the coming years.

      I don’t know about you Dr Pratt, but I know at least a dozen Pharmacists who became mums and now are finding it extremely difficult to find a job.

      Here’s the bottom line if your a Pharmacy student right now studying Pharmacy:

      1) Your wage will vary between $28-$32/hr no matter where you are employed!

      2) You will most likely never receive a raise from your employers. If you mention a pay rise they will be quick to remind you that they are paying you far above the award rate which is $24/hr btw (I know right!) and you should be grateful to have a job!

      3) Expect to work Weekends, Late night shifts and sometimes shifts longer than 12 hours!

      4) Expect not to have lunch breaks or any breaks actually, if you end up working in a pharmacy with a single pharmacist.

      5) If you end up working for CWH, which many of you will, you will have KPIs to meet and forced to do unprofessional things to keep your job.

      The list can go on and on but I just gave you guys a glimpse of it. These are dire times indeed for the Pharmacy profession and never let any one tell you otherwise especially an academic. Their paychecks depend on you attending their classes!

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