Benefits of Rural Practice
Rural pharmacy practice provides a number of challenges and rewards that cannot be found in city practice. When you ask pharmacists working and living in rural and remote Australia why they enjoy practicing outside of big cities and major centres recurrent themes emerge.
- Opportunity to use an expanded scope of skills and knowledge
- Strengthened continuity of care and patient relationships
- Increased independence and autonomy
- Feeling welcomed and valued by the local community
- Diversity of case-mix encountered
- Rural communities offer a safer, healthier environment (especially for children)
- Rural communities allow for a unique lifestyle not available in urban area
Rural pharmacists experience high levels of satisfaction from the diverse range of work they perform and are respected members of rural communities. Pharmacists feel professionally fulfilled and challenged by the different people they encounter and the wide variety of their health problems. They are able to apply more of their skills and often have a wider scope of practice. As an integral part of the overall healthcare team in their community they enjoy good relationships with GPs, nurses and other health professionals. Pharmacists value the opportunity to get to know their patients and customers in a way that allows them to follow their journey through illness and health. With increasing remoteness the difference a pharmacist can make to someone’s wellbeing will often become greater.
Rural practice is as varied as rural communities. You may wish to work in a large rural city, a small rural town, or a remote centre. Some pharmacists choose to live in a large regional centre and commute to their workplace in a nearby small town. Programs are in place to assist rural pharmacists to access CPE and professional development opportunities.
Rural and remote areas also offer a number of exciting business opportunities, pharmacists are more likely to own or manage the business and remuneration is usually higher than offered in cities. The purchase price of rural pharmacies is usually less than that of metropolitan pharmacies, and lower overheads result in a greater return on investment. Housing is generally less expensive in rural areas, and offers greater choice ranging from rural-residential style acreage blocks to city-style suburban street frontage.
Lifestyle and Community
The rural lifestyle offers many benefits, including being able to live only a few minutes away from work, forget about crowded public transport, expensive or non-existent parking spaces. The sense of community and being part of it keeps a lot of pharmacists longer than they ever thought they would stay. The relaxed lifestyle in a rural community provides an attractive opportunity to practice pharmacy as part of a close-knit regional health team.
"... it's the lifestyle. I can go for a walk in a World Heritage-listed rainforest before work, and a swim at the beach on the way home. Who wouldn't love it!"
“As a rural pharmacist you are an integral part of the local community- you get to experience “real life pharmacy” where your customers are your community and, as their pharmacist, you are usually the most accessible health professional to them. Life as a rural pharmacist is all about the people- you see babies grow into adults; you see prosperous harvests and terrible droughts; you share with them the good and the hard times, you are trusted as their pharmacist, their source of advice and their friend. Being a rural pharmacist is a very rewarding experience- one that is definitely worth a try!”