Australian Overseas-trained Pharmacists' Journey

Ann Marjorie Coo, Rph, MPS

May 17, 2022

Australian Overseas-trained Pharmacists' Journey

Once upon a time I was just a dreamer. I started my pharmacy degree in 2004 and little did I know that I will end up in Australia.

The main reason I ended up here was I am just too ambitious with lots of things I wanted to achieve in life. I compared my remuneration back home and what kind of life I will be having after 10 to 20 years and I thought it would not be the life I wanted. Hence, I invested my time and resources into becoming an Australian pharmacist.

It wasn't easy. Lots of hurdles and negative people around me who for some reason I felt don't want me to succeed. I asked a million people how I can work overseas just as a typical citizen of a third world country and they all told me to go online. A friend in Australia even told me I am not qualified as his sister-in-law is also a pharmacist from another third world country and she retook the whole bachelor of pharmacy so I was again frustrated as I don't want to study the same thing again.

I realized later on that not a lot of pharmacists and people were successful and I kept on bumping into all the losers in life. Then, I discovered I can transition to become an Australian pharmacist by getting my degree assessed and taking exams.

I took off and again before landing in the soil of Down Under, lots of negativity again and I was upset. I almost gave up as truly, community pharmacy practice is not easy. The politics in the workplace, the time for you to adapt and you have to learn so many things and lastly you need to make sure you are much better than anybody else and that you can keep up as you are a newbie who needs to prove yourself.

End of the day, I was lucky enough to be supported by experienced people and I was able to pull through and be successful in my field. Hence, I decided to help my fellow overseas-trained pharmacist to thrive in this difficult yet very fulfilling journey.

Ann Marjorie Coo, MPS
Filipino-Australian Pharmacist


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