Student pharmacists poised for huge opportunity

Rhonda White AO

There has never been a greater time for student pharmacists to contribute towards Australia’s future healthcare.

This will be the message this week from Rhonda White, co-founder of the Terry White Chemists Group, at the 2015 Gold Coast National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association Congress.

Organised by the Griffith University Association of Pharmacy Students (GUAPS), in conjunction with its School of Pharmacy, the congress — which runs 24-30 January at the University’s Gold Coast campus – is the premier event of the student calendar and is well regarded by industry professionals and educators.

“There has never been a time in pharmacy in the whole of our nation’s history that change has become so important,” Ms White AO says. “As we see the massive cost explosion of running a national healthcare service, new approaches are being explored, especially within allied health services such as community pharmacy and especially with the wider scope of practice that has been put in place in this profession.

“Last April we saw Queensland leading the way with its community pharmacists offering vaccination services for cold and flu. This is now set to be expanded to whooping cough and measles vaccinations.

“This type of service, along with others that are being looked at, is just one example of how community pharmacists are helping to contribute to improvements in our healthcare system and its future delivery.

“Student pharmacists should understand that there are currently many changes afoot to healthcare delivery and the patient is really at the centre of this, in dictating what they would like to see. Healthcare demands are growing exponentially and this is forcing a greater demand on allied health care. Pharmacists will need to be prepared to pick up the baton in helping to rethink the health of the nation.”

An array of speakers

This year’s Congress, has the theme “Step Into The Future… A Future Beyond the Counter,” and will see an array of speakers from various fields of the pharmaceutical industry and an innovative focus on education sessions.

The sessions are aimed to show students that the pharmaceutical industry is more than just “licking and sticking”, where in fact it is branching out into many areas, such as immunisation and diabetes check-ups.

“The pharmaceutical industry is ever-changing, and this Congress will teach students how it is revolutionising and how they will need to adapt to the changing landscape,” says John Quinn, second year Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences student and publications chair for the congress.

“The event will bring together 18 pharmacy schools from across Australia for a week of education, networking and social events and will be the largest Congress to date, with 360 students to be in attendance.

“We are extremely happy to have such a strong business woman from the profession as Rhonda White at this year’s event.”