NSW Premier Bob Carr’s announcement that Charles Sturt University (CSU) would be awarded the first Professor of Rural Pharmacy in Australia is recognition of its success in meeting the acute shortage of pharmacists in regional and rural areas, according to the Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of NSW.
Registrar Ian Dean said the establishment of the first non-metropolitan pharmacy degree at CSU in 1997 was a watershed for pharmacy education in Australia and this appointment was official recognition by the State Government of the University’s success in streaming pharmacists to meet regional and rural needs.
“This is more good news for pharmacy education, but particularly good news for rural communities,” Mr Dean said.
The Premier announced the new position of Professorial Chair of Rural Pharmacy at last weekend’s Country Labor Conference. The initiative is part of the State Government’s action plan for rural health services.
In welcoming the initiative, the Dean of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice Professor Peter Carroll said CSU is a leader in the development of rural pharmacy and it was most appropriate the initial Professorial appointment was at this University.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (NSW Branch) Warwick Plunkett added the announcement was a significant step in the right direction and the profession would benefit greatly: “It’s a great initiative and all those involved should be congratulated.”
Dean of CSU’s Faculty of Health Studies Professor Mark Burton said the University’s pharmacy course has a 100 per cent employment rate after graduation, with many offered jobs before completion of their degree. Up to 70 per cent of graduates choose to stay in regional areas.
“Our graduates have the potential to work in any metropolitan area in Australia, but they have acquired the extra skills to enable them to work in regional and rural environments. The new Professor of Rural Pharmacy will work even closer with the profession to enhance this outcome,” Professor Burton said.
“The innovative pharmacy program at CSU has been so successful in meeting the needs of rural pharmacy, that it’s now being emulated by other universities – even to the extent where some metropolitan universities are seeking to enter the market for rural students,” he said.
He added that CSU was a leading provider of allied health education to rural communities in NSW, highlighted not only by the pharmacy program, but in other areas of study such as physiotherapy and nursing.
Illustrating the success of CSU in training and retaining pharmacists in regional areas, NSW Pharmacy Board Registrar Ian Dean said only up to three pharmacy graduates a year were choosing rural practice in the years before the first cohort of CSU graduates.
“In 2001, the first year of CSU graduates, 31 of the 36 chose a country location - and most have remained in rural practice.”
Impact of Charles Sturt University
pharmacy graduates in regional NSW
Source: Pharmacy Board of NSW