Career Opportunities in Pharmacy
The majority of pharmacists work in community practice (commonly known as a chemist's shop or community pharmacy). The Pharmacy Act (1964) requires that all community pharmacies are owned by pharmacists, so many practitioners own and operate their own pharmacies. Many pharmacists also work full time or part time as managers or pharmacists-in-charge.
Community pharmacists supply and distribute medicinal and related products and are especially responsible for substances restricted by the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act (1966). Advice and counselling given by the pharmacist play an important role in maximising the usefulness of medications while minimising side effects.
Community pharmacy is continuously evolving, most recently through offering additional services such as:
- providing information to the public and medical practitioners
- reviewing medication
- advising medical practitioners about optimal drug therapy and disease-state management.
Community pharmacists are becoming a fully integrated part of the healthcare system.
As well, community pharmacists play a role in primary health care and health education and are often the first point of contact with the healthcare system. Pharmacists have the expertise to suggest or supply medications for minor illnesses, and to recommend that a customer consult another health professional. Pharmacists also provide a range of medical equipment and therapeutic devices (such as nebulisers and crutches) and explanations about how to use these correctly.
Hospital pharmacists work in acute care settings in either the public or private sector. Like their counterparts in community pharmacy, they distribute and review medications, as well as educate patients and allied health professionals to achieve quality use of medicines. Hospital pharmacists perform clinical and applied research, including clinical drug trials, drug utilisation studies, applied interventions and pharmaco-economic evaluations. Increasingly, hospital pharmacists provide hospital-to-community liaison services to help patients manage and monitor their medication upon discharge.
Hospital pharmacists work in multidisciplinary teams with medical staff and allied health professionals to provide optimal patient care. They monitor drug therapy to detect and/or minimise the risk of drug interactions and side effects. Many hospital pharmacists attain specialist status in selected therapeutic areas such as cardiology, immunology, manufacturing, haematology, oncology, paediatrics, aged care and anticoagulation.
Because of the broad medical knowledge and skills obtained as part of the Pharmacy degree, graduates are also well suited for employment in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacists are sought after in the manufacturing, medical, sales and marketing sectors of the industry.
Pharmacy graduates have the potential to take part in all stages of drug utilisation, from development and production to registration, clinical assessment, and sales and marketing of products to health care professionals. Employment in the pharmaceutical industry may also provide experience in business development and travel within Australia and overseas.
Postgraduate study allows interested students to gain experience and skills in research. The Faculty has a rich research track record and students have the opportunity to work with world leaders in several research fields. Pharmacy qualifications offer unique career options and flexibility, combining a professional degree with research experience. Graduates may seek employment in fulltime research work or choose to pursue a research-based higher degree.
Pharmacy graduates with research experience are sought after candidates for senior roles in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmacists are employed by various government agencies, both Commonwealth and State, generally in positions concerned with the control, manufacture, supply and distribution of medicines and medicinal preparations. Openings also occur in the defence services and universities.