Pharmacist Zoe expands her horizons with BRHS

BRHS pharmacist Zoe Chin has travelled from Malaysia and across Australia to call East Gippsland home – and she’s found a flexible and fulfilling career with Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.

Zoe began her pharmacy studies at the International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, transferring to the University of Queensland. She graduated in 2016, then headed to Darwin to complete her intern year at a community pharmacy.

She arrived at BRHS in December 2019 to live near her sister and her family, who have lived in the region since 2009.

She said joining BRHS has allowed her to learn and grow in her profession and to specialise in oncology pharmacy.

“It’s been everything I was expecting. One of the good points about working at BRHS is the team. I am learning at my own pace, and the pharmacy team is willing to help with learning all the new stuff,” she said.

“I have started a new role with our oncology unit. This opportunity is not available much in the city. You do the rotations but you don’t get to spend much time in oncology. Here, I’m able to take it on myself, and it’s been great. I’m learning quickly in this role as well.”

Zoe is studying for her Masters in Clinical Pharmacy, and said her team has given her great encouragement.

She is applying for the BRHS scholarship program to assist with the costs, and her flexible working arrangements and easy regional lifestyle has been a big help with her studies and her work-life balance.

“The work-life balance here is very good. I work four days a week, with three days off, and only need to work every fourth weekend,” she said.

“It only takes five to 10 minutes to drive to work. That’s one of the great things about living regionally. I also managed to get land and built my own house. That’s not easy in the metropolitan area.”

Zoe’s compressed week gives her the flexibility to train as a scuba diver on the Mornington Peninsula and indulge her passion for food in Melbourne.

Zoe was no stranger to East Gippsland, visiting her family regularly through the years and visiting stunning locations including Lakes Entrance, Raymond Island, the snow at Mount Hotham, Buchan, the Ninety Mile Beach and Metung over the years.

She said East Gippsland is a great place to live and work.

“I knew a lot of local places here, but I had no idea about the lifestyle. Although my family is the main reason that brought me to Bairnsdale, I’ve have been exploring everything myself, and it’s been great. I can’t complain about anything. It’s 10 out of 10.”

Chief Pharmacist Margie Griffiths said Zoe has gone from strength to strength at BRHS and has furthered her career sooner because of the experience she’s gained.

“Zoe started in hospital less than three years ago. Where she is in her career would normally take more than three years in a hospital. We offer escalation through the grades. We are prepared to do that in two years rather than three because you get broader experience here,” Margie said.

Her oncology work exemplifies the personal and career rewards available in regional health.

“Here, you get to experience everything yourself. You get hands-on experience, you do the counselling with oncology patients and you learn quickly as you talk to the oncologists and haematologists and other specialists,” Margie said.

“Because our team is small, we develop really good relationships with specialists. And in an area like oncology, you get to know the patients because it’s such a small cohort. The patients say Zoe is a ray of sunshine. They get to know her too.”

Margie said BRHS welcomes people with a background in community pharmacy, like Zoe. “Community pharmacy is quite different to working in a hospital, but we welcome people from hospital and community background. We’re happy to mentor them,” she said.

Zoe loves working with her team – and the fringe benefits that offers. “Margie bakes a lot of cakes,” she laughed.

It goes to show that at BRHS, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Come and work with BRHS as a Pharmacist.

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