For a long time, I have grappled with the question, when I first started my degree of Bachelor of Pharmacy, I only thought that our main goal was handing out medicines. However, since undertaking this course I have opened my eyes to the many possibilities this career has, and how these can be undertaken by me to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The first role of a pharmacist is to be a medication expert, we are meant to know how medicines work, when and how to take them, what to expect when taking them and any adverse events that could come about whilst taking this medicine. A sad reality of the current times we are in is that many Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders suffer from more chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, another sad reality is that Indigenous people are not very health literate. Being able to effectively communicate how to take one’s medicine can have a positive impact on the outcome of many chronic conditions, also being able to talk directly to patients I could find ways to managing issues they may have such as not taking medicines due to side effects. By being a proactive provider of care and taking the time to listen to what the person has to say,k I can contribute to helping improve the Indigenous health of this country.
Following on from this, many people don’t realise that many pharmacies and pharmacists provide medical services that were once reserved for medical practitioners. Pharmacies can provide blood pressure checks, quick blood glucose monitoring and lung function tests. Unfortunately, high rates of fatty food defined sugars, alcohol and tobacco smoke has had a devastating impact on the health of Indigenous population but being able to catch chronic conditions early and being able to refer people on to doctors before worse things can happen would be rewarding task to have in the future. Following on from this, being able to intervene and provide ways to help people with their diet and talking to people about quitting smoking and lowering their alcohol content is another way that I’ll be able to contribute to improving health outcomes as a pharmacist. Finally, on this point of providing services as a pharmacist being able to provide vaccines for people who may not be able to see or afford a doctor would be a very rewarding way of contributing to bettering the health of Indigenous population.
From originally think that being a pharmacist would mean I would be a glorified shop keeper to learning many different ways that a pharmacist can contribute to the community and learning that they are some of the most important people in healthcare, I look forward to the future that lies ahead and to myself being able to better the health of Indigenous Australians.