Pharmacists are an important part of the healthcare system. Their skills and knowledge can be applied across a range of areas, allowing for employment opportunities in:
- Community pharmacy (community practice)
- Hospital pharmacy
- Academic or research institutions
- Pharmaceutical industries in drug production, marketing or drug development.
Community pharmacy (community practice)
Retail pharmacists are an important part of primary healthcare as they are often the first point of contact. Pharmacists supply and dispense medications and related products. They are also responsible for substances restricted by the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act (1966).
Advice given by retail pharmacists is important in maximising the usefulness of medications and minimising side effects. Pharmacists also provide a range of medical equipment and therapeutic devices (such as nebulisers and crutches) and explanations about how to use these correctly.
Community pharmacy is the most popular employment choice for pharmacy graduates. The Pharmacy Act (1964) requires pharmacies be owned by registered pharmacists, so many practitioners own and operate their own pharmacies. Registered pharmacists also work full or part time as managers or pharmacists-in-charge.
The role of retail pharmacists is evolving. They offer 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.
In hospitals, registered pharmacists distribute and review medications, and 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. Hospital pharmacists also 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 patient care. They monitor drug therapy to detect and/or minimise the risk of drug interactions and side effects. Many hospital pharmacists work in selected therapeutic areas such as cardiology, immunology, manufacturing, haematology, oncology, paediatrics, aged care and anticoagulation.
Research and academic institutions
Postgraduate study allows interested students to gain experience and skills in research. The Faculty of Pharmacy has a structured research division and students have the opportunity to work with leading experts in several research fields. Pharmacy qualifications offer unique career options, with graduates seeking employment in research or choosing to study a research-based higher degree. Pharmacy graduates with research experience are sought after candidates for senior roles in the pharmaceutical industry, and research and academic institutions.
In the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy graduates can work across 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 healthcare professionals. Employment in the pharmaceutical industry may also provide experience in business development and travel within Australia and overseas.
Registered pharmacists have employment opportunities with Commonwealth and state government agencies, in positions concerned with the control, manufacture, supply and distribution of medicines and medicinal preparations. Openings also occur in the defence services and at universities.