University of Tasmania

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Pharmacy students' career aspirations and attitudes towards their chosen profession

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 20:01 authored by Gregory PetersonGregory Peterson, Naunton, M, Rasiah, RL

Objective - To investigate the career aspirations of undergraduate students in pharmacy, and gain information about likely career preferences and work patterns, and wastage from the profession.

Method - Third- and fourth-year undergraduate students enrolled in pharmacy at the University of Tasmania and James Cook University were surveyed. The anonymous questionnaire sought students' opinions on the level of satisfaction with their choice of career and university course, factors that would influence their career and workplace selection once graduated, their likely career destination and work basis, and the major aspects of pharmacy that stimulated or deterred them.

Results - The survey was completed by 119 students, 66 from the University of Tasmania and 53 from James Cook University. In general, the pharmacy students appeared to be satisfied with their choice of university course and career, with females indicating higher levels of satisfaction. Community pharmacy predominated as a likely career choice, while only 14% of the sample selected full-time hospital pharmacy practice. Males were more likely to nominate community pharmacy ownership as their intended career option than were females. A mix of community and hospital pharmacy, and consultant pharmacy practice were both popular choices. Income was considered to be one important determinant of likely career choice, but it rated lower than helping the public, good work conditions, intellectual stimulation, and interesting and challenging work. Males and students intending to be pharmacy owners rated income as a more important determinant of career/workplace selection than did other students. The most commonly cited positive features of pharmacy were helping patients and the public, the opportunity to travel, consultant pharmacy, and work variety/ flexibility. The most commonly nominated negative features were the lack of autonomy and respect, paperwork, low pay, monotony, dealing with difficult customers, and long hours and stress.

Conclusion - Pharmacy students appear to be satisfied with their choice of university course and career. Students are eager to take on new professional opportunities in the provision of cognitive services. However, hospital pharmacy is likely to experience major difficulties in attracting new graduates. Tackling work conditions and enabling flexibility and variety in work are probably key strategies in attempting to retain young graduates within the profession. Contemporary pharmacy practice and curricula seem to be better suited to females.


Publication title

Australian Pharmacist










School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Place of publication

ACT, Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health education and promotion

Usage metrics

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