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Natalie Fleming

Natalie Fleming, Pharmacy profileWhat made you decide to do Pharmacy?

I wanted to do a professional degree in a health-related field. During First Year Health Science, I particularly enjoyed the biochemistry and pharmacology components, and was curious to learn the mechanisms behind how medicines worked. Pharmacy also appears to allow one to have a good work-life balance, and provides those who are interested a vehicle to express their entrepreneurial skills.

What did you know about Pharmacy before you started your BPharm?

Prior to pharmacy school, medicines seemed to just work ‘by magic’! While aware that pharmacists were medicines experts, I didn’t realise that they had a wealth of health knowledge, and were the ‘first port of call’ for many members of the public with health concerns.

Where do you hope a career in Pharmacy will take you?

I hope the pharmacist’s scope of practice will continue to expand, allowing one to make the very most of their pharmacy education to improve health outcomes for our population. I also hope that pharmacists will have more opportunities for one-on-one patient encounters, as well as to work more closely with other health professionals. Prior to my fourth year, I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the idea of research, but completing an honour’s project has completely changed my attitude! I hope that I will have the opportunity to do further research in the future, and to perhaps work overseas in a different pharmacy environment.

Why did you choose Otago?

One thing I love about Dunedin is that it is a University city, which creates a fantastic atmosphere. Otago has a beautiful campus, and everything you need is within walking distance. More importantly, Otago is considered one of the top Universities in the country, and the top university for research.

What is/are the best thing(s) about being a Pharmacy student at Otago?

I am grateful to have received an extensive and well-rounded education that not only covered medicines, how they are delivered, and how they interact with the body, but also the pathogenesis of the diseases such medicines are used to treat.

The Pharmacy school staff were very approachable, and always happy to help when I got stuck!

I really enjoyed being part of a class with people from a wide range of ethnicities; making friends from all over the world has been one of my favourite highlights.

Do you have any plans for your internship?

Although I will most likely feel a bit overwhelmed with new information next year, I hope to absorb as much of it as I can. If the opportunity arose, I would love to be part of a research project run by my preceptor and her team, and perhaps attend the NZHPA conference. I am also moving to the Hawke’s Bay next year, which has a higher Māori population than my home region of Canterbury. Thus I’m hoping to attend some night classes in Te Reo Māori so that I can engage more with Māori patients.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I was born in Whangarei but grew up in Christchurch. I love music from just about every type of genre, whether it’s being part of my church’s Christmas choir or going to a Coldplay concert. However, I’m much better at listening than playing it myself! In the past I have played the cello and piano, and hope to pick it up again. Being part of Red Frogs has also been a highlight for me this year. I am interested in other languages and cultures, particularly Māori and French, and was fortunate enough to spend five months in Northern France when I was 17.