Pharmacy Internship Program

The Pharmacy Internship Program goes from strength to strength

Three female pharmacy interns stood with an older gentleman in front of a pharmacy display
Director of Pharmacy, David Ford (back) with 2023 Pharmacy Interns Hannah Barakat, Stephanie Kunnel (Intern Preceptor) and Renata TorresVera

Northeast Health Wangaratta’s Pharmacy Department Internship program continues to go from strength to strength as it progresses interviews for the 2024 intake of interns.

Over six years, NHW has established and developed its intern program to build a pipeline of qualified professionals and help develop the next generation of pharmacists within the Northeast region.

In partnership with other local hospitals such as Benalla Health, Yarrawonga Health, and Beechworth Hospital, community pharmacies, and local GP clinics, the internship offers a regional program with multiple opportunities and combined education sessions.

Director of Pharmacy, David Ford said the unique and all-inclusive program offers novel training opportunities for emerging pharmacists.

“Our interns get to experience a combination of settings, including our large hospital with substantial pharmacy service, a smaller hospital department, and community pharmacy experience in pharmacies that service their local hospital,” David said.

“Since its first intake in 2017, we are very proud that the program has enjoyed a 100% pass rate and 100% retention rate.

“Our combined regional program provides a very supportive training environment for our pharmacists, with access to group tutorials and case presentations.

“The program brings together ten interns from across the region, including Echuca, Albury Wodonga, Shepparton and Benalla, with each intern allocated case studies to present to their peers. This helps build presentation, teaching and communication skills while delivering on the intern’s university requirements.”

The process for recruitment commenced in July and NHW will appoint its interns in the next month to commence in December 2023.

Intern Preceptor, Stephanie Kunnel, said the internship allowed hospitals like Northeast Health Wangaratta to showcase the career opportunities and lifestyle available at regional hospitals.

“There are opportunities that come with working in regional hospitals, like working across multiple clinical areas, early exposure to clinical opportunities such as intensive care, oncology and emergency, and the support network of a regional setting.

“I’ve bought a house in Wangaratta, established a great friendship group and enjoyed a challenging and rewarding career environment,” Stephanie said.

David Ford said the program provides a structured and organized pathway for interns and pharmacists, with a roadmap for their progression and growth, with the aim of attracting and retaining young interns, training them and then keeping them in the region as qualified pharmacists at the end of their internship.

“Pharmacists may take opportunities outside of the region, which we support because it broadens their experience and practice, and strengthens the profession as a whole.

They know they are always welcome back because we’ve trained them well, we know them and they often want to return ‘home’ again one day,” David said.