The future of pharmacy

Fourth year pharmacy student, Matthew Scott, on country life, rural health and great mentors.

I grew up in Bunnaloo, a small town forty minutes north of Echuca. I lived through the Millennium Drought, which decimated the Murray-Darling Basin and bankrupted farmers across Australia. During that time I saw firsthand the effects of the drought on the mental health of farmers in my community.

The older I got, the more I noticed the gaps in rural healthcare. I have a passion for helping others, and by the end of Year 12, I had decided on a career in pharmacy. Pharmacies are such an important and effective resource for rural communities—they are the most accessible form of healthcare.

I began my Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2012. I never felt drawn to university life in the hustle and bustle of a big city. It took some time to adjust to living in Bendigo, but I felt more comfortable there because of its rich history and country feel.

On my first day, I was hopelessly lost (La Trobe’s Bendigo campus is bigger than Bunnaloo) and late for my first ever lecture. Dr Mike Angove, Head of Pharmacy and Applied Science, saw me and took the time to stop and ask if I needed help. I doubt there are many students who can say that their Head of School has known them from day one of their degree, but that’s the type of education that’s offered in Bendigo.

Over the years I’ve spent countless hours in Mike’s office, as have many of my peers. No issue is ever too big or too small, and you leave knowing you’ve been listened to.

Getting involved in student societies eased my transition from country town to university life and allowed me to engage with the profession I am about to enter.

I was president of the Bendigo Association of Pharmacy students in 2015, and am now Vice-President of the National Australian Pharmacy Student Association. Recently, I was invited to sit on a panel at the annual conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

I believe that students are a major stakeholder in the future of the pharmacy profession, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest pharmacy students that Australia has to offer.

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