Women Pharmacists Representing a Gender-Equal World

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The role of every pharmacist is tough, especially during this time of the pandemic. Not only do they provide care to patients but also support their colleagues and other healthcare workers.

Following on from the recent International Women’s Day, the achievements of leading women pharmacists and how they were able to cultivate their careers will be shared in this article.

You can listen to them speak in their own words on the Your Pharmacy Career Podcast.

How a woman Pharmacist handles stress and burnout

One of the successful women pharmacists is Kay Dunkley. As the 2020 Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Symbion Pharmacist of the Year, she recognises stress and burnout as some of the factors for decreased work performance. 

During the COVID-19 surge, high workloads, over time, limited medication supply, and patient behaviour have affected the work of pharmacists.

However, Kay addresses these issues by taking some time to relax. According to Kay, “we all have stressful days in the workplace” and if pharmacists lose their energy while providing healthcare services, they might not be able to communicate well with the patients.

Furthermore, Kay makes sure that she gets the right amount of downtime by having a balanced lifestyle, enjoying regular holidays, and getting a regular lunch break during the day.

Learning to stop, and take a break, or spend some time enjoying some of her favourite hobbies has helped Kay to become a more successful pharmacist.

In 2013, Kay became an accredited pharmacist, and currently she works for the Australian Medical Association (Victoria) and is the Executive Officer of the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS). She was also a project officer at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Victorian Branch) while working in a private hospital dispensary.

According to Kay Dunkley, pharmacists are good problem solvers. They can adapt easily. With additional training some pharmacists are able to provide services in the mental health industry and this adaptability allowed Kay to get involved in GP practices.

Combining working as a Full-Time Pharmacist and Motherhood

Working full-time whilst also caring for children is a demanding job, but for Jeyda Shiaxiates, as long as you are committed and organised, handling these two can be challenging but possible.

Jeyda has been working as a community pharmacist for seven years. Although she is a mother of two, she still manages to work as a full-time pharmacist at Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) in Pharmacy Operations for Priceline Pharmacy.

Her pharmacist journey is interesting because she started from sweeping floors to serving customers to supporting pharmacist dispensary technicians and interns.

“The pharmacist became a role model for me” Jeyda said. She was listening to the pharmacist while she was still working as a cleaner, and eventually, the pharmacist inspired her to become one.

She studied for a Bachelor of Science, did a Master of Pharmacy degree, and completed her internship.

In her early career, she moved into industry. According to Jeyda, “communication skills are really important” if a pharmacist wants to work as an industry pharmacist.

“We are all exhausted and all industries are quite tired and exhausted,” she added. However, when she talks with her colleagues about how rewarding it is when patients thank them or when they celebrate small wins, this exhaustion disappears.

For Jeyda, the pharmacy profession does have a lot of opportunities – regional and even remote. As long as pharmacists “connect to people and take opportunities”, they can open many doors for their career to bloom.

Women are Independent, Brave, and Born Leaders

15 years ago, Lucinda Marks started her pharmacy career. In 2019, she received the MIMS/Guild Australian Intern Pharmacist of the Year and Team Member of the Year Finalist for Capital Chemist. In 2020, Lucinda was awarded The Sirianni Scholarship for Future Pharmacist Leaders

Even before she finished pharmacy school, she had already immersed herself in the industry.

Throughout her career, she was able to experience different pharmacy positions – assistant, dispense technician, intern pharmacist, pharmacist, pharmacist-in-charge, and today, she part-owns and manages two Capital Chemist pharmacies in Canberra.

“Being in a community pharmacy, I always knew that I wanted something more from it”. Because of this urge, after her internship, she approached her employer and shared her plans.

Today, her former employer is now her business partner and she considers her a mentor. She was the pharmacist who moulded her to become the leader she is today.

“Work hard. Work as if it is your own business” states Lucinda Marks’ as her advice for early career pharmacists and pharmacy students. “The opportunities will fall at your feet if you work hard,” she added.

Young Women Pharmacists are Thriving

Student pharmacists are capable of representing a gender-equal world, and Verity Boustead, the current National President of the National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) certainly demonstrates this.

Verity believes that pharmacy students are capable of so much. “We can play such an integral role in promoting advancing healthcare and medicine management for our patients,” she said.

When she heard that there was a vacancy on the National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) committee, she bravely took the opportunity.

“I realised how pivotal of a role NAPSA plays in shaping the future pharmacy students. I wanted to help pioneer that growth and advancement even further.” Eventually, this ambition led her to become the National President.

In 2021, Verity Boustead was able to help in the launching of the Australian Pharmacy Students’ Journal, the first and only peer-reviewed pharmacy student journal in the world.

“I’m so honoured to be involved in the launching of the Journal.” According to Verity, this journal can help pharmacy students to develop research endeavours.

Her advice to pharmacy students, interns, and early career pharmacists is to “take on opportunities and put your hands up for everything because you never know where things are going to lead to.”

Recently, NAPSA and Raven’s Recruitment established a Memorandum of Understanding. Both organisation’s goal is to support future pharmacists to achieve their potential as they start their pharmacy careers where Raven’s Recruitment will continue to support them with resources like the Pharmacy Salary & Market Report.

If you are a registered pharmacist or intern pharmacist who wants to advance their career and seek better job opportunities, consider Raven’s Recruitment.

Since 1987, Raven's Recruitment has been specialising in Pharmacist recruitment, so we have expert knowledge in the space. If you are looking for an exciting opportunity to work as a locum pharmacist or want a permanent job, then look no further - get in touch with our Recruitment Consultants today.​​​​​​​