Interview with Sam Turner

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1. Where/when did you graduate?

QUT 2015


2. What has been your career journey so far?

Community pharmacist, intern at Terry White Chemists Brookside & now Pharmacist Manager at Priceline Pharmacy Hervey Bay


3. What more do you want to achieve in the future?

Hard to say so early in my career. I would like to be successful in community pharmacy, potentially in ownership but also in shaping practice and developing our profession. As long as I enjoy what I’m doing and provide opportunities for others to do the same I’ll be happy.


4. What advice would you give to students?

Whatever area of practice you choose to work in, your satisfaction comes from the effort you put in. If you continue to challenge yourself, you’ll likely stay ahead of the game. Anyone who says otherwise is an easy target for you to supersede. Find mentors who share your passion, take negativity as a challenge and use enthusiasm and creativity as your weapon.


5. What is your favourite thing about pharmacy/your job?

My favourite part about working in community pharmacy is building trustful relationships with my patients. Aside from key clinical decisions, to be able to give knowledge, advice and empathy to empower patients to better their own health outcomes is the key role for any health professional. Nothing is more satisfying in my job than having someone return to you on a regular basis (often passing many other pharmacies) because they trust and respect your advice.


6. Were you involved with the National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) and/or your local branch?

a. What benefit did this have?

I got involved with the QUT Student Pharmacy Association in my first year of university and used this as a platform to expand my professional networks amongst other students and industry professionals throughout my degree. I went to many NAPSA congresses and sat on the National Council for two and a half years which included my time as National President in 2014/15. Leadership roles aside, NAPSA really opened my eyes to the many opportunities our profession has for emerging pharmacists and the role we can play in the healthcare system. I made many friends through NAPSA and I can guarantee these are connections I will keep for the rest of my career. Students may focus on networking with industry and existing pharmacy professionals, but never underestimate the ability to network amongst your peers. Odds are you’ll work very closely in a number of circumstances throughout your career. I have no doubt that going to events such as NAPSA congress will put you way ahead of the pack but with knowledge and opportunity.


7. Would you ever consider leaving the profession?

No. I’m currently very happy working as a community pharmacist in a role where I am valued for the effort I put in. I may consider upskilling in the future. Possibly in areas of business or public health but I can’t see myself ever working in a role where I wouldn’t utilise my skills as a pharmacist.


8. What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I can’t say I’ve had to overcome many significant challenges throughout my time. I am extremely fortunate to have a strong support network and loving family and friends which I certainly do not take for granted. Given this I was able to challenge myself in other ways especially as a student and I’m grateful to have achieved many goals I set out to during this time.


9. How has your perception of pharmacy changed since you were a student?

I was always really excited and optimistic about pharmacy during my time as a student. I was never discouraged but it always frustrated me to see some of the negative comments people would make from within the profession. This would often rub off on the most vulnerable [students] and as a profession, these are the individuals we need to generate and thrive with enthusiasm. However now that I am a pharmacist my views on these types of comments are more of pity for those who create them. Students are exposed to the many options and opportunities that are available within the profession and those who focus on the negatives are often unwilling to change or challenge themselves to break away from these silos. My perception of pharmacy and its future are very positive. I do believe our role in healthcare may change dramatically over the next 30 years, whilst the unique skills we have to benefit the healthcare system are widely under-utilised and will only create more opportunities.