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Path to pharmacy, a busy one

Wednesday 27 July 2022 4:09pm

Karina- Image

Knowing the importance of vaccines has helped a pharmacy student overcome her fear of needles to become a vaccinator on campus.

Bachelor of Pharmacy student Karina Croitoru says her studies have increased her love for pharmacy and health care with each year passing, and she is putting that love into practise administering vaccines at the Dunedin Dental School for staff and students.

“At the start of fourth year we learn how to vaccinate and make up vaccines. The vaccination assessment is optional but I chose to do it.”

After completing training and taking up placement at a pharmacy, Karina then took on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at the University.

“I kind of have a fear of needles myself so I can understand when people feel anxious about having a vaccine. I know how to keep people distracted and can relate. I’ve grown up knowing the importance of vaccines so that aspect of it doesn’t really worry me.”

The path to becoming a certified pharmacist is a busy one, Karina says.

She started with Health Sciences First Year before moving onto her three years of study for a Bachelor of Pharmacy. After this she will take on a year-long internship. She also says she’s keen to do her Master of Clinical Pharmacy.

“I went into Health Sciences knowing I wanted to do something that would help people. I ended up loving the chemistry papers and was a big fan of math too, so it made sense to follow a career path involving those.

“If you are wanting to do health care but not necessarily be a doctor – there is a very valuable profession in pharmacy. We do more than just the stereotype of filling prescriptions. There’s a lot more checking that medications given are safe for a patient to use with other medications, or that the dosage is suitable for them.”

“I kind of have a fear of needles myself so I can understand when people feel anxious about having a vaccine. I know how to keep people distracted and can relate. I’ve grown up knowing the importance of vaccines so that aspect of it doesn’t really worry me.”

Medical practitioners are in high demand in New Zealand, Karina says. Pharmacists often receive visits from the public who need medical assistance.

“It would surprise you how many people go into the pharmacy for health advice if they can’t see their doctor. Since the start of the pandemic people have been relying on pharmacists more and more to seek help.”

Karina recently completed her first of two placements. When she isn’t studying, she spends her holiday time working for a couple of Unichem pharmacies in Christchurch where her family live.

“It’s definitely good experience, I did not anticipate learning that much in such a short space of time. It was really good for my confidence talking to patients. When all you’ve done is on paper it can be daunting talking to doctors and patients, so I appreciate the practise.”

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser Chelsea McRae