3 Tips for How You Can Best Equip Yourself For The Flu Season This Winter

Winter is coming, and so is the flu season. As pharmacists, we know the importance of being prepared for the upcoming flu season. This year, the flu season coincides with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it more critical than ever to take proactive measures to protect your patients and yourself. So, let’s dive into some helpful tips on how to best equip yourself for the cold and flu season this winter!

Stay Up-to-Date on Flu Season Information

Staying informed is the first step in preparing for the flu season. As a pharmacist, it is essential to keep an eye on the flu season start date, which typically runs from May to September. Monitor the severity of the flu by keeping up-to-date with news articles and listening to patients’ experiences. The Australian Government Department of Health provides regular updates on flu activity across the country, including vaccine effectiveness rates. So, make sure to check their website regularly.

As pharmacists, it is also essential to familiarize yourselves with the latest flu vaccine recommendations, including dosage and administration guidelines. Keep track of any changes in vaccine formulations or recommendations and inform your patients accordingly. You can find this information on the ATAGI website.

3 Tips for How You Pretty mature pharmacist giving you best medication Can Best Equip Yourself For The Flu Season This Winter

Encourage Vaccination

Vaccination is the best defence against the flu, and pharmacists play a vital role in increasing vaccination rates. In Australia, pharmacists can administer flu vaccines, making it easier for patients to get vaccinated. Pharmacists can also educate patients on the importance of getting vaccinated and answer any questions they may have.

In addition to flu vaccines, pharmacists can also encourage patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As COVID-19 is still prevalent, getting vaccinated is crucial to protect against the virus and its variants. Inform your patients about the availability and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to get vaccinated or up-to-date with vaccinations as soon as possible. In fact, if a patient comes in for a covid booster, check if they would like to get their annual flu vaccine at the same time!

Get Qualified to Administer Vaccines

To administer vaccines, pharmacists must have the proper qualifications. In Australia, pharmacists can obtain certification to administer vaccines through various programs, including the Immunisation Training Program for Pharmacists offered by the Australian Pharmacy Council. This program provides pharmacists with the training and knowledge necessary to safely and effectively administer vaccines and the appropriate accreditation.

By obtaining certification to administer vaccines, pharmacists can expand their role in patient care and improve patient outcomes. Pharmacists who can administer vaccines can provide a valuable service to their patients and the community by increasing vaccination rates and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. As a locum working within the community, having certification to administer vaccines is a valuable skill that many pharmacies will appreciate. Be sure to update your Locumate profile to include this skill, so prospective owners are aware.

Preparing for the flu season is critical for healthcare professionals, especially pharmacists in Australia. Staying informed, encouraging vaccination, and getting qualified to administer vaccines can help pharmacists better equip themselves for the upcoming flu season. By taking these steps, pharmacists can help protect their patients and communities from the flu and other infectious diseases while expanding their role in patient care. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get ready to fight the flu and COVID-19 this winter!

The importance of planning ahead 

Flexibility and Planning in Locum Pharmacy

One of the biggest drawcards of being a locum pharmacist is the flexibility of planning your work life it offers. Being able to work around your schedule and find and accept shifts that work for you – rather than the other way around – is crucial. Last minute shifts can help pharmacies who might suddenly be stuck without staff, and can be great for locums whose schedules might have changed and are happy to take quick shifts at short notice. 

The Role of Long-Term Planning in Locum Work

But, whether you’re a pharmacy or a locum, it’s important to remember that locum work doesn’t always have to be last-minute. Something we’ve noticed on Locumate is that shifts in three, four, and even five months’ time are already starting to book out. 

Advantages of Long-Term Planning for Locums

What this means is that locums have the choice to plan their schedule months in advance, being able to arrange work shifts around long-term plans such as travel, family celebrations or other commitments. It also means that in times of high demand, such as holiday seasons and public holidays, locums can accept shifts months ahead of time for peace of mind and planning purposes. If you’re working at multiple locations, getting ahead of your schedule can be a great organisational tool. 

Planning Ahead: Benefits for Pharmacies

For pharmacies, the high demand for shifts in advance means it’s possible to plan schedules for the next quarter and beyond, also bringing peace of mind and organisation. Christmas might be six months away, but the further ahead you can plan for it, the more on top of it you’ll be when the time does come whizzing by and you’re suddenly in need of extra staff.

Locumate: A Tool for Effective Planning

Posting jobs in Locumate in advance can help you prepare for what you can. Of course, it’s impossible to plan everything, and last-minute shifts will always be an option for both pharmacies and locums. But next time you’re thinking beyond tomorrow, consider posting or accepting shifts in advance. Future (organised) you will thank you for it.

Refresh your dispensing skills with Z Software

Team Z believe that software development should be an evolution, a perpetual cycle of adapting and developing to new technologies. A constant strive towards empowering pharmacies with the capabilities to achieve what is not achievable today; a Zero boundary attitude towards pharmacy software development.

The team started out by developing the highly feature rich, versatile dispensing system formerly known as DispenseIT. DispenseIT was originally marketed and sold as a package in combination with an externally built POS system. Despite reasonable success, it was soon evident that DispenseIT required a partnering POS system which would truly maximise its features and forward thinking foundations. The team went back to work.

After extensive research and development (and espressos) the Z team produced an equally impressive POS and back office. A fully integrated ‘Next Gen’ system. Z was born.

The icons below provide quick guides to familiarise yourself with Z Software. 

Got a question about  Z Software?

Visit: www.zsoftware.com.au/contact

Low pharmacy wages: how we’re working towards improvement

Pharmacy Wages: A Contentious Topic in the Industry

It’s easy to see why pharmacy wages continue to be a contentious topic, particularly among pharmacy students. 2021 data revealed that pharmacy graduates are among the lowest paid in Australia, with a starting median salary of just $48,000. According to the Professional Pharmacists Australia report, “Community and Hospital Pharmacists Employment and Remuneration Report 2019-20”, pharmacy graduates continue to be some of the poorest paid graduates in Australia. For multiple years in a row the commencing rates of pay for pharmacists have been the lowest of any study area.

Challenges in the Pharmacy Sector: Low Pay and Stress

And as if that wasn’t enough, the report states that “poor pay, stress and a lack of support, particularly amongst the discount chains, continues to ferment a crisis in the sector that will see talented individuals abandon pharmacy for greener pastures.”

Our Approach to Improving Pharmacy Wages

As an organisation passionate about fostering the next generation of pharmacists and providing support to locums and pharmacies, this is a worrying trend. But it’s one we’re actively working to combat.

Empowering Locums: Taking Control of Pharmacy Wages

With a generally low Pharmacy Industry award, we believe in giving locums the ability to set their own rates, taking into account their scope, experience, market rate, and preference. We believe that empowering locums – no matter how much experience they have – means that they’ll be more satisfied, while pharmacies will have better transparency and oversight of how much a locum charges.

Towards a Tiered Approach to Setting Pharmacy Wages

But that’s just the start. We’re working on the functionality to deliver a tiered approach to setting rates. That is, a locum will be able to select a rate attached to clear outcomes and expectations. So an administrative based pharmacy shift might be lower than a customer-facing shift. This benefits the pharmacy, too. A pharmacy will be able to budget according to the work and the type of locum they require, while having a clear understanding of expectations.

Future of Pharmacy Wages: Our Commitment

We’ve only just started exploring and working towards this feature, but it’s on the horizon and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way. We’re eager to be part of the conversation – and hopefully the solution – to improving wages in our sector.

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! 

Refresh your dispensing skills with Fred

Fred IT Group is Australia’s largest dedicated IT solution provider to the pharmacy industry with over 3,000 pharmacies using our dispensing solutions Fred Dispense Plus, Fred Dispense and Fred NXT Dispense. Fred offer a complete suite of solutions and services tailored for community pharmacy and enterprise pharmacy groups including POS and office management, hardware, server and network monitoring and maintenance, backup and recovery, and cyber protection.


Fred’s online help centres provide short tutorials and resources, shortcuts and tips, accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device. If you are looking to extend your product knowledge of the Fred dispensing solutions or perhaps want to make your day to day duties more efficient – this is just for you!

Learn how to

  • Dispense paper and electronic prescriptions
  • Dispense a new script and defer a script
  • Update external Safety Net totals and link family members
  • Complete the End of Year process


Got a question about a Fred application? Find answers quickly and easily, online


Our Fred’s online help centres can provide answers to your questions about Fred solutions 24/7.

Visit fred.com.au/support