The graduate student

James Polmear

James Polmear, MClinPharm, class of 2015

Graduate study really accelerated my career. I now feel more confident in my research and decision-making abilities. I did my master’s over two years as part of a concurrent fellowship with the Alfred Hospital, looking at creating pharmacy specialists. Not only does it look good on your CV, coming out of a master’s degree I developed more skills – you become more of an expert clinician, especially in clinical pharmacy.

Monash was quite supportive of the process, as I was part of the first-year pilot program. The fellowship looks at developing future leaders as pharmacy experts. It was a lot of work to get through, but you really reap the benefits career-wise for the sacrifice.

A master’s gave me greater knowledge and understanding of the scientific literature but also how to apply it to everyday work conditions. Given that it was a clinical-based degree, the idea was not so much to learn everything there is to know, but learn how to apply the evidence that’s out there. How to access and understand the literature helps in making decisions – it becomes part of your work. Some decisions can be daunting, but you make them regularly so it becomes the norm.

I find teaching rewarding – it makes me feel good to share my expertise and see how students are developing in other areas.

I’m responsible for the direction and maintenance of the clinical pharmacy service across Barwon Health. Clinical pharmacy services are spread across three sites and consist of approximately 40 pharmacists.

I was encouraged by my interaction with the University. I’m also a teaching associate for Master of Clinical Pharmacy, and Chair of Monash University Master of Clinical Pharmacy Advisory and Stakeholder Committee, as well as a Master of Clinical Pharmacy student mentor.

I find teaching rewarding – it makes me feel good to share my expertise and see how students are developing in other areas. You’re learning from other people too, and I’m looking forward to marking some of the research papers to see what developments are happening – it’s like a self-motivating way of ongoing learning and development, a good way of keeping updated and being involved.

I feel lucky to have fallen into what I have done, but in the work environment today a master’s has definitely become the requirement.

James Polmear is Associate Director of Clinical Pharmacy at Barwon Health. He completed a Master of Clinical Pharmacy at Monash University and a Clinical Pharmacy Fellowship specialising in general medicine at Alfred Health.