HPS and UniSA Working Together to Develop our Future Pharmacists

HPS’s network of pharmacies has collaborated with UniSA in 2012 to deliver a renewed and highly specialised clinical placement program for fourth year pharmacy students. The program offers students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and expand their learning ability beyond the lecture theatre, as part of an eight-week clinical placement with HPS’s network of pharmacies.

Paula Kwan, Pharmacy Manager at St Andrew’s Hospital in Adelaide, facilitates the student placements and says the program has enabled HPS to establish a strong relationship with UniSA and allows the business to give-back to the pharmacy industry.

The program also assists in generating awareness of HPS’ unique career opportunities for future graduates.

“We expose students to traditional pharmacy within a hospital setting, involving them as much as possible in the day-to-day operations as well as providing exposure to the site’s quality improvement projects. Examples of these include antibiotic stewardship and patient surveys. The program also gives students an opportunity to experience compounding, aseptic dispensing, oncology, corrections, and HPS’ methadone program,” says Paula.

Between April and September this year, HPS’s network of pharmacies hosted three eight-week placements, offering UniSA students the opportunity to experience pharmacy at one of the business’ South Australian sites, in addition to a one-week stint at HPS – Alexander Avenue and HPS – Calvary North Adelaide.

Simon Bell, an Associate Professor at UniSA’s School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences says “we’re very grateful to HPS for providing such an excellent opportunity for our students to be mentored by experienced pharmacists. I have no doubt that this will provide them with a greater appreciation of the changing roles of pharmacists within the Australian healthcare system.

“By working with HPS’s network of pharmacies, we’re able to offer our fourth year students a range of professional practice experiences. This helps to ensure our graduates are well equipped to develop and deliver innovative healthcare services in the future.”

Bharathy Naidu, a fourth year pharmacy student at UniSA, has recently completed her professional placement with HPS and says she was given the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of a pharmacist’s role including the breadth of services they can provide.

“I learnt there’s a lot more to being a pharmacist than just dispensing medication and educating patients. Having the chance to see so many different and unique services that HPS provides has certainly been great for me. Being exposed to the industry during my studies has given me a better idea of what I want to do in the future.”

Bharathy’s experience with HPS’s network of pharmacies has also assisted her fellow students.

“At the completion of their placement, each student gives a short PowerPoint presentation about their experiences. This allows all fourth year students to learn more about the range of healthcare services provided by HPS,” says Simon.

“At the University of South Australia, we strive to provide our students with the skill, knowledge and attributes to deliver innovative healthcare services. For this reason we highly value our relationship with HPS. By participating in a professional placement with HPS’s network of pharmacies, our students gain experience working with a range of health professionals. This contributes to our graduate’s readiness to work collaboratively to improve health outcomes,” he says.

In addition to HPS’ strong relationship with UniSA, Paula says there are a number of additional benefits to the program for the pharmacists and staff involved, including the reward of seeing each student gaining confidence in themselves by the end of their placement.

“I would highly recommend the program to other students because it’s a great learning opportunity. I had a great time with HPS and met lots of fantastic people who were all very good teachers,” says Bharathy.