Becoming a community pharmacist in country Queensland was the last thing on Nadia Venzke’s mind when she began studying at Griffith University.

Now the Masters of Pharmacy graduate from the Gold Coast is passionate about rural pharmacy practice and couldn’t be happier. Not only has she got the qualifications for a career in her specialist area, but she was also named Goondiwindi Employee of the Year 2015 and met her future husband in her new hometown.

Graduating from Griffith’s Gold Coast campus in 2011, Nadia says she had never considered moving to a rural town once it was time to undertake her internship and become a registered pharmacist.

“Originally, I was unsure about Goondiwindi, thinking that it would be too small with only 5,000 people in the town, and a long four and a half hour journey from Brisbane. I thought that it may be too quiet. Plus when I arrived for my interview, I was a little taken aback at how the pharmacy seemed to be stuck in a timewarp from the 60s.

“However I had a really great meeting with the owners of the business where they flew me over the area in their light aircraft whilst interviewing me for the position! They told me all about the close-knit community in Goondiwindi and how it is an affluent social centre for remote QLD, and suddenly I was hooked on life as a rural pharmacist.”

Nurturing for the career

Nadia, who was born in Namibia, says the town has not only suited the social side of her personality, but has also been very nurturing for her career.

“Shortly after relocating the pharmacy was named Chemmart Pharmacy of the Year and then I was nominated by the Goondiwindi Rotary Club to be part of Rotary District 9640 to go on a Group Study Vocational Exchange program to the US and learn more about my industry. That was a fantastic experience which really helped me to grow professionally.

“Additionally I was nominated by my boss and subsequently named Goondiwindi Employee of the Year 2015 by the Border River Chamber of Commerce.”

Nowadays, Nadia says she doesn’t know whether she could go back to living and working in a city.

“I am learning a lot about business and am considering buying my own store; becoming involved with the Queensland branch of the Pharmacy Association has been a big help in teaching me about some of the business aspects.

“I have not become involved with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia yet but I hope to in the future. I also just got the title of Dispensary Team Leader so I am managing the dispensary team and meeting training and HR needs in the business.
“Coupled with meeting my lovely fiancé here and the great social life we have, I feel very blessed.”

Nadia says she also enjoys mentoring Griffith pharmacy students that come through the business for their internship year.

“From my experience I enjoy mentoring the Griffith students as they are more work ready, with more real-life work knowledge.”