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Helen works for the University Department of Rural Health (UDRH), and is based at the Tasmanian School of Pharmacy in Hobart.
Contemporary pharmacy practice and education today is informed and influenced by educational, professional, union, government and community bodies as well as members of the profession itself. None seem to be informed by well theorised evidence based on definitions of knowledge and skills found in rural, regional, urban and metropolitan pharmacy workplaces today.
The majority of pharmacists in rural Australian workplaces are owners, managers, employees or consultant practitioners in community, hospital or education practices. Often their individual practice is a combination of one or more of these roles. Although there is literature about specific innovative programs, there is a general lack of published literature about the specific nature of the knowledge and skills of rural Australian pharmacy practice or the influences on rural practice. Much is anecdotal within the profession itself.
My previous research into pharmacist participation in health promotion activities highlighted such paucity in the literature (Howarth 2005). Current literature concerning pharmacy practice is limited to a quantitative approach focused on specific activities and the more traditional functions conducted by pharmacists. There is a pressing need to develop understandings of key knowledges and skills needed for rural practice. This will help inform undergraduate and graduate preparation, career planning and postgraduate continuing professional opportunities.
Proposed PhD thesis title: What makes rural pharmacy practice different? Defining the key knowledge and skills needed for rural practice. Supervisor: Professor G Peterson, Dr S Jackson
Authorised by the Head of School, Pharmacy
15 October, 2012