Name: Laura Skidmore

Age: 24

City/town: Mount Maunganui

What’s your job? Pharmacist at Life Pharmacy, Te Puke.

How did you get into this line of work? Chemistry was always my favourite subject at school. I knew I wanted to get into healthcare but not be hands-on. I also liked figuring out how medicine affects the body and what to do through that mechanism.

What does a typical working day look like for you? We open up the shop and check everything from yesterday is completed. Then our day is full of dispensing people’s prescriptions, doing consultations for things like the emergency contraceptive pill, Viagra, vaccinations, swabs for rheumatic fever, and checking people’s warfarin levels via a finger blood test. We also do compliance packing for patients who need help with taking their medications.

What qualifications or training did you need? In Year 13 I did an interview with the University of Auckland’s School of Pharmacy. I was accepted and then I did a four-year pharmacy degree. You have a choice of working in hospital industry or community pharmacy. After the degree I chose community pharmacy, where I did a graduate internship at a pharmacy for one year and then I was qualified.

What are the best bits about your job? Working with other health professionals, and actually being an advocate for patients; talking to doctors, optometrists and being there to get the best outcomes for people, and helping them manage their healthcare.

What are the worst bits? Some people’s situations are more complex than others and require more time, which puts pressure on our time to dispense medicine, so you need to be able to time manage quite a lot.

What’s your biggest career goal?** Community pharmacy is definitely changing. My biggest goal is being a part of that evolution. I’d love to see pharmacists working even more with doctors and having more consults in the pharmacy to lessen pressure on GPs.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you most likely be doing? Business or law.

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