UMORE - Pharmacy
Early in 2008, I was offered the opportunity to relocate to Hobart and enrol in a PhD program through UMORE. It was a terribly difficult decision to leave behind my home, my family and friends, and the careers that I had worked so hard to establish in Western Australia. However, the lures of working with, and learning from, such experienced and well-respected researchers and managing a large, government-funded project in my area of interest, proved too strong, and the generous scholarship offered by UTAS and the School allowed me to continue to pay my mortgage each month!
The past two years have been a steep learning curve, complete with all the hard work, long hours, obstacles, frustrations and heartache that one associates with a large-scale research project. UMORE has proven to be a supportive, collegial research environment, while allowing me a sense of autonomy in my day-to-day activities, publications and conference attendances. I've taken advantage of opportunities to become involved in undergraduate teaching, and been encouraged to maintain my links with professional practice and established collaborative relationships with colleagues from other institutions that may prove invaluable in the future. Working with my supervisors and observing how they relate theory to practice and formulate new research avenues has been truly inspirational … and at times, just great fun!
I'm not sure what the future holds for me, but for now there's nowhere else that I'd rather be …
Ella van Tienen
I commenced my PhD in 2008 after spending a few years working in community pharmacy in rural Tasmania. The opportunity came up to return to UTAS and working on a large research project at UMORE. Having a previous interest in research which led me to undertake Honours, it didn't take much to convince me to use my research project to work towards a PhD.
UMORE had always been a research unit which had a high profile in the pharmacy media as a group who do research in areas which interested me as a practicing pharmacist. Knowing that I was going to be working on applied research projects with direct impact on the way pharmacy is practiced in Australia really attracted me to working with the UMORE group.
I love the flexibility of working at UMORE and the opportunities that have arisen to diversify my skills through teaching activities and consultant pharmacy work. When I complete my PhD I think I will continue doing research or teaching at UTAS part-time and return to practicing pharmacy to help implement some of the fantastic research UMORE is undertaking.
I moved from one of the most beautiful areas in Australia with some of the best saltwater fishing in the country to do my PhD here! I'd maintained contact with one of my lecturers after my undergraduate degree, and he always spoke very positively about UMORE. When I decided to commence postgraduate study, I contacted him regarding research opportunities at UMORE and my research interests aligned very closely with the UMORE research team. I'd also seen so much with UMORE's name on it in the Australian Pharmacist so I was familiar with the unit's name, and figured anyone with that much exposure in AP would have some substance behind it! One of the things I most enjoy about my PhD are the people I'm sharing the experience with.
I am still focused on establishing a medication review consultancy. I believe that perhaps with the title of Dr Andrew Stafford, I might have the edge over other pharmacists when tendering for contracts at Residential Aged Care Facilities, particularly when I have spent the past three years up-skilling for exactly that role.