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Division of General Practice Perspective

From Despair to Ecstacy- Pharmacist Reminiscences

During the past week talking to and interacting with pharmacists in the course of my Divisional work as the QUM manager I have been aware of despair to near ecstasy as I listen to concerns and tribulations from pharmacists in the field.
On the positive side one of the pharmacists who has embraced the cognitive services in his pharmacy related to me his recent experiences with the Home Medication Reviews he has conducted.

They were not outstanding or requiring great clinical prowess, just ordinary customers and ordinary patients and ordinary solutions with the collaboration of the local General Practitioners.
But the joy expressed in his obvious satisfaction should have been packaged and distributed to all the sceptics and the disillusioned (with- my -lot) pharmacists out there.
A dose of this could change lives!
What was expressed is the reward that comes from finally having an expertise recognised, the ability to work with a successful team and notch up wins and to finally be recognised in many ways including dollars for contributing unique knowledge to a better patient outcome.
In other words, being a team player that gets the goals!
This is now possible for pharmacists and not before time.
A discussion on an Internet chat involving the profession provided interesting insights into the need for dispensary assistants (techs, I believe is the current terminology).
Should the ratio be one to one (tech to pharmacist) or with the shortage of pharmacists, should it be more to cope with the pressure of work?
What should be the job description?
Are they just to replace pharmacists where a qualified cannot be found?
Many questions and conundrums to be answered.
One poignant contribution to the discussion was from a pharmacist reflecting many I am afraid, who bemoaned the shackles of the dispensary and the tedium of the work of dispensing - scarcely the professional satisfaction desired after a four or five year undergraduate stimulation and exertion demanded by a stringent high calibre course bright graduates expect.
Can we now productively ask why there is a shortage of pharmacists to do this work?
My sympathy is extended to pharmacists who find themselves in these situations.
Contrast this to the first guy and ask how the real value of a pharmacist can be extended into the community in a way that benefits the population and extends the pharmacist in a satisfying and rewarded career that utilises his/her knowledge and expertise in a creative way.
Is it now time when opportunities are opening for pharmacists to review the many barriers that still keep pharmacists in mundane and repetitious roles and is the result primarily of a slow evolution from a seemingly outdated mode of pharmaceutical supply?
The first guy is along with many others preparing to go to the FIP-PAC conference in Sydney in September.
He will have a ball and come back even more enthused with added knowledge and the stimulation of his peers.
I guess the other dismayed guy if he was to go could return to his dispensary shackle more disillusioned than before unless he was persuaded by what he heard to break out and seek other opportunities.
What are the possibilities of this when rigid barriers prevent a creative solution to the pharmacist shortage?
If he came to Melbourne I could point him in the direction of up to eight pharmacist positions offering great new challenges, utilising professional expertise out in the community as a team player and for which, so far there have been no takers.
The pharmacist shortage is making its presence felt right here in my Division and opportunities are going to be lost that will ensure a satisfying and rewarding future for young pharmacists.
This is where I despair!