Interview with Sarah Sinclair

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1. Where/when did you graduate?

University of Sydney, 2011


2. What has been your career journey so far?

In June 2011 I relocated from Sydney to Dubbo in country NSW after accepting an intern position in a busy community. I went to Dubbo with the intention of staying for one year, but ended up staying for five, working my way from intern pharmacist to pharmacist to pharmacist in charge. In May 2016 I relocated to Canberra after accepting a Pharmaceutical Advisor role at the Department of Human Services. This role involved the listings of new medicines and reviewing PBAC submissions for service delivery impacts. In June 2017 I changed roles again, and I am currently working as an Executive Officer to a General Manager in the Department, which is a super busy role supporting a super busy executive whose mandate is welfare transformation! Following my move to Canberra, I have continued to work in community pharmacy when I can fit it in!


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

I am very keen to move into a health policy role at some stage, as I’m a bit removed from the health side of things in my current role. That being said, I in no way regret taking my current role as an Executive Officer. Sometimes you need to take a bit of a leap into the unfamiliar to broaden horizons, but also to gain new skills, and in this role I have a completely different understanding of how Government works and Parliamentary processes which will benefit me as I continue my career in the Public Service. I am about to undertake a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management which will support me if I move into leadership roles in the future. Who knows what’s next, all I know is that there are many options if I want them!


4. What advice would you give to students?

Get involved, get new experiences, try the unfamiliar, put your hand up, volunteer and step out of your comfort zone.


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

My favourite thing about pharmacy is the networks that I have built over the years. Both personal and professional.


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

Yes, with the Sydney University Pharmacy Association (SUPA)

a. What benefit did this have?

Some of the most amazing people I have in my life I met through NAPSA. I built great networks during my time with NAPSA, and I felt like I really contributed to helping other students.


7. Would you ever consider leaving the profession?

Well, even though I’ve taken a different step now, I don’t consider that I have left the profession. It is all about the lens you use. Pharmacy is about improving health outcomes for people, so in my mind, I am contributing toward making welfare easier for people to access. When you improve access to these vital services, you automatically improve their health outcomes. There are so many opportunities for Pharmacists that I don’t believe I will ever leave the profession. Our skills are highly regarded, we’re excellent communicators and we’re great with people, so we’re an employable group, regardless of the setting.


8. What challenges have you faced?

Many – too many to name. It’s hard relocating twice to towns where you know no one to take that new position. It’s hard when you take a new job and you need to build all of your relationships again.

a. How have you overcome them?

Resilience is a skill, it doesn’t come easily, but I think with experience you can manage these challenges differently. You learn from your mistakes, and I think I’m a better pharmacist because I have made them.


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

Pharmacy is not just the pharmacist in the hospital or the pharmacist in the local community pharmacy. It does include those two vital elements, but it is so much broader than that and it is critical that we start to advocate for alternate career pathways to foster innovation and excitement in the profession. I think to students, opportunities for career pathways may sometimes be misrepresented. There are so many pathways out there, and just because you pick one in your first year as a registered pharmacist, it doesn’t mean it is your only choice for the rest of your career.