Steve is the first rural pharmacist I've met on this trip so far. Rural and remote pharmacy is something I am interested in, and after meeting Steve, I can see why people choose this lifestyle and just how rewarding it can be. Arriving in Bombala was like a step back in time. Old school buildings (some from the 1850s) and a country feel where everyone greets each other by name. It's in the country where the pharmacist is a well respected and appreciated member of the community. It is where liaison with GPs and other health professionals is welcomed and not fraught with a feeling of imposition. The staff at the pharmacy have been there for years and all work well together. Its a nice comparison to those pharmacies which experience a high staff turnover.
When I visited the Bombala pharmacy there was a 'Know your numbers' blood pressure monitoring station set up for Stroke Week. This was (I believe) the first time the pharmacy has participated in the program. There have been comments made about this encroaching on the role of the GP, and even concern about whether or not a pharmacist could accurately take a blood pressure reading. So while communication is great, its still the country and there is bound to be some old fashioned thinking. Fortunately the service has already proved valuable. Steve encouraged a customer to have a blood pressure reading. At an alarming 195/100 mmHg this customer (who otherwise would not have visited a Dr) made an appointment and will no doubt be better off for it.
My time in Bombala has reminded me of the lures to rural pharmacy. Better pay, better job satisfaction and more potential for ownership/partnership. Affordable housing and
(depending on where you are exactly) beautiful countryside to explore on your (not so many) days off. Steve even took Zane to the creek on his property where they caught a bunch of redclaw! Thanks Steve for welcoming us to Bombala. We had a great time!