This course provides advanced study in the areas of pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacy, pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, pharmacotherapy and health systems, and includes practical training.
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This program provides a direct pathway to a professional postgraduate qualification in Pharmacy for registration as a pharmacist in this country. The Australian government predicts strong employment growth for pharmacists over the coming years, partly due to the expanding role of pharmacists in healthcare delivery.
What career paths are there for pharmacists?
The most visible face of pharmacy is the community pharmacy. Community pharmacists are often the first point of contact for members of the community who need health advice or someone to talk to about their health concerns. This role as a primary health care provider carries a lot of responsibility as decisions need to be made about the best plan of action for your patient and whether referral to another health care professional is warranted. This responsibility requires not only sound professional judgement but also excellent communication skills. A pharmacist needs to be a good, empathetic listener and be able to communicate complex scenarios in a way that helps members of the general public understand their health issues and the various treatment options that may be available to them. This puts pharmacists in a position of trust and allows them to develop strong and often very long lasting professional relationships with their patients. For many pharmacists, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of their profession. There are also new roles evolving all the time for the community pharmacist, including immunisation, pain management, wound care and diabetes care.
A small army of pharmacists are an integral part of the health care team in hospitals, working together with doctors, nurses, and specialists to ensure optimum care for every patient. Often pharmacists become involved in clinical trials conducted in the hospital to evaluate the worth of a new therapeutic agent, or in hospital based research to look for new and better ways to manage patients and their medications. Hospital pharmacists may also specialise in a particular area of health care (for example oncology or infectious diseases) and become expert in the pharmaceutical management of what are often very difficult and complex health conditions. They also need to be excellent communicators, not only in their interactions with the patients on the wards, but also in their role as a member of an inter-professional health care team.
These pharmacists work in general practice alongside general practitioners to review a patient's medications to optimise their therapy - this may occur in the home or at aged care and special needs facilities. All too often a patient becomes ill because their medications are not being taken correctly and this leads to a significant number of hospital admissions. Pharmacists have a role in preventing these unnecessary and unfortunate occurrences and in improving health outcomes.
Other careers for pharmacists
Many other career paths are also open to pharmacy graduates; some graduates work for pharmaceutical companies in the areas of marketing, regulatory control, clinical trial co-ordination, manufacturing, quality assurance or research in drug design and development; others become involved with government organisations or opt for a career in academia and research. With a sound scientific and clinical education, there are a wide range of options to suit individual interests and career aspirations.