JB: You are currently working in a prison pharmacy. What does work in such a facility look like?
KG: The Western Australian prison pharmacy is located in the administrative part of the main prison building. We are a state institution serving patients from 16 state prisons located across the state. The pharmacy employs 15 full-time pharmacists, 2 part-time pharmacists, 7 pharmacy technicians and around 10-12 blistering assistants (some of them are students of pharmacy). The pharmacy is open from Monday to Friday during office hours (8 am – 4 pm). Staff do not have direct contact with prisoners.
JB: So, there are over 30 people working in such a pharmacy! What are their tasks besides blistering?
KG: Each pharmacist oversees 1 to 3 prisons, depending on the number of patients. Each prison has a medical center where doctors and nurses work directly with pharmacists. Pharmacists control and advise doctors on choosing medications, write prescriptions, check packaged weekly blisters, and dispense methadone. Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to make changes to already packed blisters. Assistants do the packing according to printouts prepared by technicians. Medicines are usually sent to the medical center once a week (for a whole week of treatment for each patient). Larger prisons have drug deliveries several times a week. All tablets and capsules for chronic treatments are packed in weekly blisters divided into “morning”, “noon”, “evening” and “before bedtime” doses. Such arrangements facilitate dosage. We also occasionally prepare prescription drugs (simple ointments and creams).
JB: How is life in Australia? What are the pros and cons of living in this distant country?
KG: Living in Australia is generally enjoyable. The benefits include: climate (lots of the sun), beautiful beaches, landscapes, relatively relaxed lifestyle, friendly and helpful people, cultural and religious diversity, unlimited acceptance. Disadvantages include being far from the family, and long travel distances wherever you go ☺ The inefficient public transport system obliges you to travel by car everywhere outside the city center.
JB: And what are the Australians like?
KG: Australians are relaxed and happy, they like to work without getting tired. They are reluctant to learn foreign languages and have no patience with those who do not speak English fluently.
JB: Thank you, for sharing with us your professional and life experiences in Australia. We wish you job satisfaction and constant joy of living in that exotic country!