Post: 5 minutes with: a pharmacy student

5 minutes with: a pharmacy student

A Q&A with pharmacy student, Ella Shearing 

We recently caught up with fourth year pharmacy student, Ella Shearing, to find out what life’s like, some of the challenges pharmacy students are facing now, and what’s next. 


Where are you studying pharmacy?

I go to Sydney Uni but in lockdown, I came back to my hometown of Dubbo. I came for a holiday and now I’ve been here since winter! 

I’m in my fourth year of pharmacy so I’ve just finished, and then I’m starting my internship year next year, which you need to become registered as a pharmacist. That needs to be done with a community pharmacy or hospital pharmacy, so I managed to get a job at a hospital pharmacy department in Canterbury Hospital. I’ve been applying since July and only just got that, so that whole process was quite difficult.


How did you find out about Locumate? 

I went to a PSA information night for pharmacists and pharmacy students. Kavi (Locumate’s co-founder) spoke about Locumate and it seemed really interesting. I reached out to her on LinkedIn and it’s really early days but I’ll be part of the Locumate team! 


What sparked your interest in Locumate? 

I think Kavi talked about how she’s been in the community for so long. I’ve been working in pharmacy since I was 12, so I related to her growing up in that environment for quite some time. Locumate seemed quite different and a different way to use your pharmacy degree. I’ve been branching out into hospital pharmacy and other things and just finding my place.


You’ve been in pharmacy since you were 12?!

My dad’s a pharmacist, so I grew up around the dispensary, just emptying the bins, then eventually doing much more in the business.


Did your family pharmacy use locums?

Yes, we did. A lot of the time, Dad would be the only pharmacist, so we’d often have to get locums in. We found that not many people want to live and work and move to the country. But, the few people we’ve had have stayed two to four years beyond their initial internship. We’ve had lots of experience with locums and it’s difficult trying to find the right one so that’s always been a problem for us. I’ve spoken to Dad about Locumate and really think they’d benefit from it. 


What’s the biggest challenge for pharmacy students right now?

Aside from COVID and online learning, for my year, it’s definitely finding a position and finding a job. Lots of people want to complete their internship but it’s difficult to find the right fit for you. And I know that being on the opposite side of that, finding the right intern to be a fit for a pharmacy is hard. So both sides of the party are struggling. 


Once you’ve graduated, would you do locum work?

Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot, I think it’s a good opportunity to travel and get to know different areas and get exposed to different pharmacy environments and have that experience.


If you could be a locum pharmacist anywhere, where would you go? 

I’d love to go somewhere on the coast. Somewhere near the beach!