Category Archives: Blog

AHPRA registration: How to speed up your approval

Gaining medical registration to work in Australia isn’t easy.

If you’re a Radiographer, Sonographer, Radiologist, General Practitioner or international medical graduate (IMG), you must register with AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) before you can work in Australia.

Although necessary, the regulatory hurdles are complex and registration often takes a lot longer than the standard waiting times listed on the AHPRA website. It’s a well-known issue in the Australian media that has also attracted much comment from the Australian Medical Association.

As medical recruiters, every day we meet frustrated healthcare practitioners from overseas who are encountering delays in the registration process. With the right visa and plenty of medical jobs available, the process should be straightforward – but unfortunately, we see waiting times of many weeks and even months.

Tips for AHPRA registration

• Apply early. Start your application as soon as possible, before you leave your home country. The sooner your application is lodged, the sooner it will be processed.

• Provide complete documentation. The most common cause of delays is incorrect paperwork. Double-check your application to ensure you’ve applied for the right category, and provide correctly certified copies of original documents (such as passports or degrees/diplomas).

• Get expert advice. The application forms can be confusing. All too often, we see candidates who have applied in the wrong category, and have to start the entire process again. Before you submit your paperwork, check with a professional to ensure everything is in order.

For personal advice on AHPRA registration, call our team on +61 (02) 9506 7000.

Further resources:

AHPRA registration process for overseas healthcare practitioners
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
AMA website

Myer’s recruitment mistake – is a timely reminder to utilise specialist recruitment agencies

The last 48 hours I have read with disbelief the saga unfolding over at retailer Myer; sacking their (I use that term loosely) “star recruit” Andrew Flanagan on his first day, as a result for claims that he worked at Zara, when he never did.

I am even more shocked by the terms used in numerous articles I’ve read “Exhaustive and thorough background checks were completed” Hmm I mean really come on! Zara have come out saying he has never worked for them, and according to 3 other news articles the reporters have spoken to a number of other retailers on his CV who could not confirm employment details.

I’m even appalled at one reporter’s use of the phrase “reputable executive hire firm”, when a simple search on google & linkedin; brings up 2 current staff and a number of jobs including but not limited to a nanny, café supervisor and a kitchen hand! I don’t see any roles above $80k salary. Nothing about this firm screams to me reputable executive hire firm! In fact a report today on SMH has the MD of this recruitment company suggesting the business operates from a Geelong office and from her home… Hmmm sounds like a Tin Shed operation to me.

Don’t get me wrong, this firm has been established for a number of years (it seems), they must be doing something right in the field they work with; but I don’t see anything that confirms to me they are a specialist in Executive Management roles in Fashion or Retail. Unless you consider; your local fish and chip store on the same level as one of our publically listed national retailers.

I am baffled at why this firm would have been appointed to the recruitment of such a role. Someone at Myer obviously didn’t to their due diligence! Or the other possibility is this firm tried punching above their weight and put on the table the cheapest option in-regards to recruitment fees! If I was Myer I would look at the agencies they use, how this firm got appointed, and really be looking into the references conducted by this recruitment firm, in my opinion creative writing could be what they are good at!

While this plays out in the public domain, it’s a timely reminder to clients to do their research on the recruitment firms they work with! Especially in Life Science and Medical arena, where so many people think it’s an area they can make a quick buck in! But they don’t have the knowledge or the database to make it!

There are countless firms trying to break into Life Science and Medical recruitment and there are a number of one man bands operating in this space. If you look for Healthcare jobs on Seek, Indeed, Mycareer or even linkedin you will be guaranteed to find a number of generalist recruiters or one man bands trying to break into recruiting, medical management, medical imaging, pharmaceutical or medical device roles.

As a HR or Hiring Manager wouldn’t you, want to make sure the firm representing your business is equipped and capable to fulfil your recruitment needs? Companies need to do due diligence on who they partner with for recruitment! You want the best candidates, so partnering exclusively with reputable suppliers who have a track record in your sector is the best way to attract talent and ensure your candidates are properly screened, interviewed and reference checked.

If you are recruiting a medical imaging job, you want to know that the agency knows your business, knows the difference between; a General Radiographer, a CT Radiographer, a MRI Radiographer a Mammographer and a Sonographer. But most importantly you have the knowledge that the recruiter and the agency has the industry network to do exhaustive and thorough background checks.

Yes, I also appreciate that in today’s world we want value for money, and sometimes the cheapest option wins out. But if you want quality you have to pay a premium for it. The ramifications of fixing a mistake will cost you more than if you opted to do it right the first time.

The emergence of Patient Care Services in the Pharmaceutical market.

7 years ago an Australian Business Unit Director at a top 10 Global pharma company had a unique plan to defend the market share of his speciality product. He fought hard for his idea, which resulted in the creation of a Patient Care Services Manager role; the first of its kind, within the organisation globally.

7 years ago a close friend embarked on a new professional challenge and accepted that very same role. Over the years I have heard that friend say, “The Sales and Marketing team just don’t know what I do” or “They don’t see the value in what I offer”. Over the last 36 months that initial concept had grown tenfold. That friend has been credited internally, for single handed defending their market share against a generic. Has launched a new speciality product’s Patient Support Program (PSP); has now rolled out that program globally. Is mentoring regional offices wanting to launch a PSP, and has set the internal best practice standard, for PSPs globally. Has had his PSPs credited for ensuring patient adherence and retention. More importantly colleagues are seeing the value in PSP programs and he is working with a number of Business and Marketing managers locally and globally to create Patient Support Programs for their products to help patients but also to retain them.

A pharma rep has done their job, they have detailed to the GP / Specialist, they have a great product, the GP / Specialist writes a script for the product. WIN! Patient goes to chemist, fills script. WIN! But how do you keep that patient on your product? We are constantly bombarded with options or new information; we are always asking “What is best for me?” Or “Is this the best option for me?”. In a lot of cases a patient just has to walk into the chemist with a brand prescription and if there is a generic option they are offered it. So how do you keep your patient on your product? At the end of the day it is much harder to find new consumers than it is to retain a consumer. Pharma companies are starting to understand the reality of this and realise to handle this, Patient Care Services may be exactly what is required.

In today’s society we have more options to choose from as the competition is greater; and as consumers / patients we have more available information and control when it comes to our health decisions. Patient Care Services in the Pharma arena is just like a Frequent Flyer program for travel industry. Patients want benefits for using a product; they want access to information to help them manage their health.

In today’s digital age there is a thirst for knowledge; majority of us will research information online before we buy a product. When we buy that product we want to know what guarantee we have or after care service or support is offered. Pharmaceutical industry shouldn’t be any different, but there has been a gap in what we as consumers are getting and what some pharmaceutical companies have been providing.

There are a number of pharmaceutical companies who are upping the ante to help adherence to their drug and as a result ensuring patient retention to their Brand. Life Science companies are turning to Smart phones to develop Apps for their patients. One Pharma company has developed an App to help their MS patients understand where to inject their drug, help them remember to rotate injection sites, and tips to help reduce swelling if it occurs. One Pharma company provides their referring specialist with patient health education documents that helps the patient with managing their illness. This can be as simple as Recipes and dietary tips for sufferers of Macular Degeneration, where studies have shown diet can help with eye health. Other companies are tailoring their product, to help patients overcome obesity, smoking cessation or deal with COPD.

Patient care services’ primary objective is to assist in drug adherence, and giving the patient access to relevant and important information. The ability to provide this and ensure adherence can and will improve health outcomes for patients. Being able to achieve patient adherence and satisfying our consumer thirst for information secures Brand and Product loyalty, which helps with sales thanks to the retention of the patient.

Patient Support Programs and Patient Care Services are a challenge there will be a lot of questions raised. Can the PSP drive a tangible return on Investment? Will the community (patient & healthcare professional) trust the information provided? Then there are a lot of data privacy, and compliance challenges that are raised when developing patient support programs / Patient care services, and will be one of the largest obstacles companies face as they work through the minefield to find the best responsible solution to provide their patients with the information they want and need.

From what we are seeing in the market whether it’s called a Patient Support Program or Patient Care Service, this is the a new frontier the Pharma industry is embarking on and it’s becoming a relevant part of their marketing and brand presence.

Why is Pfizer after a mega-pharma merger with AstraZeneca?

As a Life Science Recruiter I see the push from Pfizer to acquire AstraZeneca as a stance of weakness, coming from various factors including; a number of block buster drugs coming of patent the last few years, i.e. Lipitor & Viagra. A string of drugs with patents due to expire, some disappointing drug launches and a shortage in its product research pipeline of impressive drugs.

Pfizer has faced a decade without any attractive new drugs, over the last couple years it has been pinning its hope to its treatments for Kidney Cancer (Inlyta) and Lung Cancer (Xalkori), however both drugs have has weak sales. Predicted blockbusters treatments for rheumatoid Arthritis (Xeljanz) and Eliquis to prevent blood clots, have failed to bring in the billion dollar sales predicted. While their experimental drug and most exciting in development, Palbociclib from Breast Cancer; will face hard competition from other pharmaceutical companies who have more effective and safer drugs being developed.

This AU$100 billion+ proposal helps detract shareholder concerns from the low returns in research and development, and refocussed them on the future potential cost savings, some analysts are saying somewhere in the region of $4 billion annually; and if Pfizer rebases itself in Britain it will knock down its tax rate, which will also include the tax advantages from the “patent box” which was recently put into place, which offers companies who hold IP in UK, breaks on the profits from the IP.

Most importantly it will add AstraZeneca’s lucrative early stage cancer drugs that work by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer. AstraZeneca has several of its own immune based drugs to treat multiple cancers, in January it announced an agreement with Immunocore to develop new treatments that use immune cells. An acquisition would also see an expansion of its established therapeutic areas such as Cardiovascular drugs and significantly increase Pfizer’s presence in Diabetes and Vaccines, both areas Pfizer is relative weak in.

As they say past behaviours predict future behaviours; and with the many mergers Pfizer has undertaken over the past decade we have seen them implement “Their strong record on Synergies” and reduced thousands of jobs and billions in costs were saved. In 2009 with the acquisition of Wyeth which had revenues of US $22.4 billion in 2008, Pfizer said it would slash 20,0000 people from the workforce and $4 billion in costs. It achieved over $4 billion in cost cutting and by the end of 2009 the work force wall already culled from 129,226 to 116,500.

Over the years we have heard that mergers hinder Innovation in Life Science. Mergers see Research and Development shift from a science focus to integration focus; resulting in not only departments being merged and budgets cut but innovation is stalled. I wonder what effects a merger this size will have on not only have on innovation but also the workforce within R&D?

More so my thoughts turn to the local Australian work force and what the impact will hold for the total of over 2500 employed at Pfizer and AstraZeneca and the manufacturing facilities that are responsible for over $300 million in exports a year.

Alexander Associates – Celebrates 10 years.

This week Alexander Associates celebrated 10 years of providing recruitment services to the Australian and New Zealand Healthcare / Medical markets. There were no huge celebration, no birthday cake, we were just busy doing the thing we love recruiting.

So now as the week draws to a close it’s time to blow our own trumpet and celebrate.

The Alexander Associate’s team strives to help our clients achieve their most ambitious goals and strategic objectives. With the highest levels of ethics, professionalism and experience, we can provide strategic counsel, creative solutions and a timely responsive services, in a highly adaptive market. We understand “not one size fits all”, each recruitment campaign will be uniquely designed to suit your needs, it will be meticulously planned and executed by a specialist recruitment team that is focused on recruiting within a single business function, thereby bringing deep networks and insights on the particular functional talent pool.

It’s this approach that has seen us not only build a strong reputation in the market for recruitment excellence in the provision of Medical Imaging staff across Australasia; but also having expanded our recruitment services into Dental, Allied Health, Medical Operations & Management, General Practice and Medical Specialists; as a result of client demand.

Our strong brand and reputation is also present in the candidate market; we offer a specialist consultative service to candidates, we understand that quality and specialist industry knowledge matters. We believe in focusing on people, our team of specialist recruiters invest time to understand the culture of our clients and the personality of our candidates, thus allowing us to base our selection on much more than just job specifications and CVs.

As an Alexander Associates candidate, you can expect the very best service from our team, who are experienced recruiters in specialist vertical markets. We will never send your CV out to our clients without getting to know you first and fully discussing the role with you. We are committed to finding you the best job and invest the time in getting to know you and your career aspirations and requirements. As specialist recruiters you will find we are about presenting opportunities to you that take you where you want to go, challenge you and take you further to see what you really can become.

With 10 strong years behind us providing recruitment services across the Dental, General Practice, Medical Imaging, Medical Management & Operations, Medical Specialists, Life Science and Allied Health professions; we are looking forward to the next 10 years and what they hold.

Poor communication and processes, results in loss of talent.

Healthcare companies are losing talent due to slow decisions, slow internal processes and poor communication.

Healthcare clients are in a candidate-driven, critical-skills-driven market place. THIS IS REALITY! You snooze you miss out! The recruitment process doesn’t end when the hiring manager says we would like to offer; that’s great but it is most probable that there is multiple other competitors out there doing the same thing, and it’s first in best dressed. You need to move quickly in extending an offer, obtaining the references, and most importantly getting a Contract of Employment out to candidates and getting them signed up to start!

Yes it’s the hiring manager’s responsibility to “sell” the opportunities of your organisation to candidates, but most importantly it’s their responsibility to ensure the candidates you have selected joins your organisation and in a timely manner.

In the last fortnight we have seen many clients dragging their feet in confirming interest in candidate for Radiographer, GP, Medical Device Sales, Practice Management and Sonographer roles (just to name a few). Whether this is because they are busy doing other things, or not prepared to think outside the box to find a solution to their (In their words) ”needed someone 12 weeks ago” job opening. However more diabolical is clients informing candidates they would like to offer them a role in their Practice or Hospital and it taking up to 5 days + to get a formal verbal offer or even a letter of offer and contract of employment to them. How do you expect a candidate to react? How would you react? Getting this document to a candidate is important, doing it quickly is not only professional but shows the candidate; you want them in your team!

Hiring managers with slow response times are causing their organisation to lose out on their most valuable resource —- Human capital! Loosing top candidates with critical skills in healthcare to your competitor, will at the end of the day cost you money, leave you short staffed and increase the time your hiring manager is off recruiting rather than doing the role they are predominately been recruited for.

Healthcare companies need to realise that to get ahead of their competitors, they need to move quickly and hire quickly so their competitors cannot steal that elusive healthcare professional with critical skills; whether that is a Radiologist, Sonographer, General practitioner or a Dental Hygienist. They need to ensure that the time lag to get a formal offer and written documentation to a candidate is communicated. Saying “We will get the contracts out to you.” Is not acceptable, especially when it’s 8 days later and the candidate still hasn’t received the contract!

ADOPT A SENSE OF URGENCY! Once you make the decision to fill a vacancy in your team, be committed to that decision and make your hiring decisions quickly. View the hiring process like a project; meet your goal of hiring the “best candidate” in the shortest amount of time. Indecisiveness, time delays, budget reviews, etc., can all occur; but it is important that you keep your recruiter and your shortlisted candidate informed and advised of potential delays. Streamline the hiring process. The time involved in interviewing, evaluating, and hiring can be greatly reduced when participants in the hiring process are present for each step, ready to participate, and ready to make decisions.

Once you have made a decision to hire a healthcare professional, get your formal verbal offer to them immediately, and get the letter of offer and employment contract to your candidate within 24 to 48 hours of that verbal offer! If your PA or HR team write up contracts of employment, tell them you want them by a specific time. What is important for you isn’t important to someone else. Your organisation whatever process they follow has to ensure they work as a team effectively and efficiently to secure talent! Getting a formal written offer to a candidate quickly is professional, and leaves the candidate feeling good about the offer! If there is a delay because you need someone to sign the contract; then communicate this to the recruiter of the candidate! Keep them informed!

Remember, the greater the talent of the candidate and the critical skills they bring to the market, the shorter the time he/she will be available and the better “recruiting” you will have to do in order to gain his/her acceptance.



Allied Health Professionals in high demand by Life Insurance companies.

CTP and Workers Compensation Insurance teams have always had a steady demand to recruit Allied Health professionals into their underwriting and claims teams. With the mounting costs of claims expenditure rising, we are now seeing a number of Life Insurance companies tapping into the Allied Health professional market to recruit new talent and bring in new skills to their teams.
Traditionally there has been limited demand for and interest from medical and allied health experienced candidates in Life insurance. However this new trend seems to indicate a new strategy by insurance companies to help reduce the amount of money being paid out for insurance claims. When you look at the statistics and information coming out of Life Insurance companies, it becomes apparent the reasons for this new trend. While the highest total claims payments were made for Death claims, it was closely followed by Income Protection, Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) and Trauma insurance. Musculoskeletal and Mental Health Conditions are the main causes of TPD and Income protection claims. Cancer has also featured prominently in all claims areas.

Allied Health Professionals play a vital role in tailoring rehabilitation programs for patients whether that is mental health programs, return to work programs or health rehabilitation programs after illness, injury or surgery. It’s this experience that Life Insurance companies want to bring into their underwriting and claims assessments teams. Increasing the number of health professionals in their team, gives insurers a pool of talent who can utilise their clinical experience to manage the assessment and administration of a portfolio of risk product claims to achieve specified targets to achieve claims profitability targets.
This new recruitment strategy by Life Insurance companies gives them a team that not only understands emerging trends, but encourages innovation and problem solving, through the trial of alternative claims management strategies.

Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Chiropractors, Exercise Physiologists and Occupational Therapists are just some of the Allied Health professionals that are being recruited. It some cases Doctors with an interest in Occupational Medicines and rehabilitation are also being sought after.
This is great career opportunity for Medical and Allied Health staff, that need a change from the clinical environment, but still want to utilise their knowledge and experience in a new field of work. Many life insurance companies are paying salaries that are in line with what Allied Health Professionals are earning in the clinical environment, and in some cases slightly more.

Managing your reputation as a candidate

You have made the decision to leave your current employer; and the job search looks daunting trying to work out the right role for you and which company has the right environment and culture for you. Do you apply direct, or through an agency? Then which agency do you choose to work with? There are so many choices, and with a quick google search for Healthcare jobs in Australia, you have a plethora of options of recruiters and companies advertising directly. But what is best for you?
As a candidate you need to protect your personal brand. You have worked hard to build your career and reputation as an industry specialist and it is important that you ensure that your candidacy is represented to market in the best possible way.
Professional sports people or actors or singers have agents, who look after them to ensure they have the best possible deal, so why shouldn’t you? A specialist recruiter who takes the time to know you can give you the best opportunities in the market and open doors that sometime seem closed. Here are some key points that all candidates must consider when thinking about when coming to market for a new role.
1. Use a Specialist Agency – Using a boutique specialist agency / recruiter who has a proven history in recruitment in your field, will ensure they have the right connections to help you secure a new role. This will also ensure they have an in-depth knowledge of the companies, the work environments and the management team so they can give you a good overview; warts and all on each job and company. A specialist recruiter will have direct access to the hiring manager and have built a relationship, where they can call them and discuss your skills and why you would be great for the role or the company.

Do your research on the agency and the recruiter. Word of mouth referral or even LinkedIn is a great way to check on the agency / person representing you.

2. Control who has your resume – Sending your resume to every man and his dog creates confusion and you run the risk that unethical recruiters will send your resume out without your permission. Only YOU can control who has your resume and who has the authority to send it to a hiring manager.

An Agency who complies with Privacy Regulations should always seek your permission before they send your resume. Recruitment firms and companies run on a basis of first referral, if a company submits your resume for a role they have ownership over your candidacy for 12 months. There are many unethical recruiters who will spam your resume everywhere just to try and get a fee. Having your resume spammed to the market, only damages your reputation. Nor does it help you cause, the recruiter is not speaking to the client directly and selling your experience to them. A client who receives your resume from multiple sources can only question your organisational skills and ability to set directions and delegating tasks.

If you have given permission to an Agency to send your resume, then don’t give permission to someone else to send it, at the end of the day it only hinders you and reflects badly on you.

3. Be Honest and Open – Specialist Recruiters are there to help you find that right role. It is wasting your time, their time and the hiring manager’s time if you are not having open and honest conversations. If an agency has represented you or you are in conversations directly with an organisation, be upfront and open about it, and tell the agency you have already been represented.

When someone speaks to you about a role cross check your notes and make sure your resume has not been sent, and if it has in the past and you have interviewed previously with the hiring company, let the recruiter know so they can address it with the hiring manager if required.

4. Guidance on your resume and interview process – An experienced recruitment consultant can always provide you with the right structure and guidance on what information to include on your resume. They should guide you in insuring that your skills are highlight. Your resume is your marketing brochure of your career and why the hiring manager should employ you.

A specialist recruiter should know the hiring manager and hiring company interview process and will be able to guide you and prepare you for interviews, so you can put your best foot forward.
Using a specialist recruitment firm and recruiter who has a proven track record in the market can only help you secure that right next role. Only you can control your job search and where your personal / career information is being sent.
I always suggest partnering with 1 or 2 specialist firms is in your best interest. Not every agency or recruiter works for everyone, you should be able to have an open conversation with your recruiter and work out who they work for and who they can speak to for you on your behalf. You will find that partnering exclusively with a recruiter will give you a better result and it will also save you time.
Remember the most important thing is control who has your details and where they are sending it, it’s your right and only you can do it. Sending your resume to a company through multiple means looks bad on you.

Locums – a much needed part of our Healthcare Community.

It’s a busy day, the permanent team of healthcare professionals are stressed out, there is a massive patient load, and there are colleagues away on annual or sick leave, it’s going to be a manic day, do the administration team start cancelling appointments or procedures? And then the Locum strides through the door, everyone breathes a sigh of relief, and the day isn’t looking too bad after all.


Every healthcare profession whether you are a Radiologist, Radiographer, Physician, General Practitioner or Ophthalmologist (just to name a few), have all experienced this.


As demand for Healthcare professionals continues to outstrip supply, locums are the perfect solution to rectify issues with shortage in staffing numbers. There are many employers utilising locums as a way to handle urgent staffing needs; due to increase patient loads, annual, sick, or long service leave or to fill a vacant permanent position while they spend time recruiting suitable candidates. Then there are many organisations that permanently rely on a regular pool of temporary physicians and other medical and allied health professionals because they struggle to find healthcare professionals to commit to a permanent position.


It’s interesting hearing some of the grumblings that always occur within the permanent work force, “Why are they making more money than we do?” “Why do they get to leave early, and not attend committee or staffing meetings?” “Are they eating into our budget for research or new equipment?” These concerns also go beyond the cost factor and can include quality, with many claiming locums are less likely to pay attention, patient satisfaction, communication and quality measures, than that a permanent member of staff, who has built a long term career in the facility and in the community.


Just as there are many types of employers utilising locums there are many types of locums. There are healthcare professionals who enjoy the flexibility and variety that working as a locum offers them. There are specialists who locum, based on the lure of easy money. While there are then the permanent employed healthcare professionals who spend their off-hours working as a locum for other facilities to earn extra money or develop their skills further. Not to forget the new generation a group of recently qualified healthcare professionals, fresh out of training who like the idea of trying out different facilities, practices or different parts of the country without committing to any one organisation or community.


Viewing locums in a negative way is an unhealthy view point; locums are a necessary and even beneficial part of any healthcare profession. Having a pool of temporary healthcare professionals whether they are a Sonographer, Nurse, GP, or an Emergency Doctor, who are willing to spend weeks or months in hard-to-staff facilities and remote areas, has helped provide services and medicines to the community. Without this pool, it would be much tougher to staff start-up facilities, rural and remote facilities, or to quickly add new service lines to existing facilities.


At the end of the day it really boils down to a personal choice. Some professionals enjoy the certainty that permanent employment brings; regular holidays, steady pay cheque, paid sick leave, regular contributions to a retirement fund. While others enjoy being a locum earning “a significant income” with a maximum amount of independence and flexibility, but then they also miss out on a lot of the benefits a permanent employee would enjoy.

Pharmacists – Health VS Profit Margins

I start this article acknowledging that this does not cover all pharmacists only a very select few. There are many pharmacists who are ethical and upstanding professionals. But as consumers we need transparency and discussion to ensure we are informed about decisions made in regards to our health.


Pharmacists who work in retail pharmacies have a serious conflict of interest. On the one hand, they are professionals, expected to be knowledgeable about drugs and to dispense them in a responsible and ethical manner. On the other hand, their income depends on the sale of products. We are all human; would you sell one product over the other if you had a better profit margin on it? Of course you would.


I have lost count the times I have gone into a pharmacy to fill a prescription and the pharmacist, I feel has deceitfully tried to push me to a generic product! Why? It’s more money for the pharmacy! Of course a pharmacy is a business and they have to make money, I don’t begrudge anyone trying to make money. But is pushing a generic cause they have a better revenue margin on it, the right thing to do? Where do we stand on this from an ethical and unethical practice? Is giving a patient a generic, which only has to contain a small portion of the active ingredient than what the brand product does, really the best thing for the patient?


I am all up for options and commend any pharmacist, like any profession who gives me an option to save money, but only if it is the right thing for me as a consumer. But when you have a pharmacist’s just hand over a generic without discussion or seeking approval to substitute the prescription or they say things like. “You should buy the generic its Australian made.” “We don’t have any stock left of that, but here is a substitute.” (Surprisingly it’s the generic). “That product is on back order globally.” Or my favourite “It’s a cheaper option for you.” I love this one the most, cause majority of the time the product is covered by the PBS system and costs you minimal or doesn’t impact on you in any way. How about some honesty from the pharmacist give the patient the facts including what your profit margin is for both the brand and the generic product?


I think it’s time that there is more transparency for the consumer when it comes to our health and our prescriptions. The PBS (Prescription benefit Scheme), is a body that acts on behalf of the government to buy prescription drugs, which then are dispensed to patients at a subsidised price. The co-payment is the amount you pay towards the cost of your PBS medicine. Many PBS medicines cost a lot more than you actually pay as a co-payment. From 1 January 2013, we can pay up to $36.10 for most PBS medicines, and the Australian Government pays the remaining cost.


Pharmacists are required to ask the patient if they would like the prescription substituted for a generic. How many times has a pharmacist not asked you? There are pharmacy chains out there; that is their policy just to give you the generic option without asking. It should be a decision made by the patient not the pharmacist, and if the patient is uncertain they should ask for advice from the pharmacist or their prescribing doctor.


This doesn’t stop just at Brand prescriptions VS Generics; if you look in a pharmacy you will see a lot of products from irrationally formulated dietary supplements, and dubious natural, herbal and homeopathic products. Where is all the scientific evidence backing up these products? Is it more about society market trends and demands and having products in stock that bring consumers in, rather than losing a sale to the competitor down the road?


Have pharmacists really given up their roles as health professionals, and become focussed solely on profit? Maybe they’re no longer in control of the pharmacy? Maybe they’re just behind the counter, and anything in front of that counter is to be sold. But it’s time for this profession to take responsibility for what it’s selling and giving patients the right information so they can make an informed decision.


It is unfair that there are a few unethical pharmacists, and revenue focus organisations who own pharmacy chains; that have put profit margins in first position over patient health. But when it comes down to our Health it shouldn’t be about profit margins.


Dispensing a pharmacy preferred brand of generic drug without consultation with the patient contravenes the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Guidelines on Brand Substitution, guidelines which all pharmacists are expected to follow. It’s time for this to be regulated and enforced!

Skilled staff shortages in Healthcare… Is it time to think outside the box about the way you recruit?

There has always been a shortage of skilled professionals in Healthcare, everyone complains about it, but not many managers or organisations think outside the box to attract the right talent to their organisation.

The days of waiting for the perfect candidate are long gone; you are just going to get yourself into a bidding war with 20 other organisations who desperately want the same candidate with those specific skills sets.

The most effective way and only way to avoid shortages of skills is for organisations to focus on building a culture that is focussed on developing staff skills and growing their own. Having managers who are capable of identifying, hiring and developing talented people is the crucial pin in this! While your competitors are dying waiting for candidates with the perfect skills to come along, your managers will hire talented workers and quickly bring them up to speed.

This does requires managers, who can actually do the work themselves, and who can find and teach other talented people to do the same. Finding someone who fits your culture is the first important step; behavioural competencies you cannot train. But you can find the right person and develop their clinical / technical skills. There are enough young and old experienced people out there that are just looking for the opportunity to help cross train to develop new skills!

A prime example of this issue is that around 12% of demand for ultrasound services by Australian patients will be not be able to be met by the profession by 2015. What is the market doing to help meet this demand? Are we training more students? Are we importing talent from overseas? We speak to countless numbers of Radiographers who are looking to cross train as sonographers, but struggle to secure a trainee sonographer role with current employer. Many employers limit this training to only a few minimal positions a year or aren’t prepared to invest in cross training their current staff.

This isn’t a novel idea, but if you invest in cross training existing staff members who are interested, doesn’t that give you a multi skilled staff member who can do a number of roles? Wouldn’t this help handle shortages?

There are a few companies out there that say to their Radiographers “Give us a 4 year commitment, you will continue working as a radiographer over this time, and we will assist with your education and training costs to cross train you as a sonographer”. Obviously to safe guard the employer there can be claw backs in costs put into contracts if a person leaves within the time period. But investing in staff and developing their skills can only help you deal with skills shortages.

Sure you are going to lose that staff member at some point in the future, but isn’t it better to have them for 4 years; than to only have them for 2 years, cause there is another employer who is prepared to cross train them?

Geez it sounds like I’m advocating apprenticeship style employment and mentoring as a solution to the talent shortage? Of course I am.

An employer that has a group of masterful managers who can mentor staff and develop their skills, need not high narrowly from the same small pool of talent every other competitor is fishing from. The right manager can open up this pool of talent and fish from a larger pool. Sure there are costs financial and time wise, involved in this method but the future ROI should ultimately outweigh this.

The key is to train those existing employees properly, so you don’t lose them to a competitor or rather than promote them too quickly into management jobs where, through their naïveté, they will trigger talent shortages, through recruiting methods that limit the talent pool.

When you find your company posting overly narrow job requisitions, you need to ask; Are we hiring talent for the long term, or buying specific skills for today’s crisis?

The most important talent to hire is your line managers who can grow more workers like themselves. Without that management depth, you’re likely find yourself complaining that there’s a shortage of good people “out there” because you have too many poor managers “in here” who cannot train and develop their teams to handle this skill crisis.

Your Healthcare Profession Resume

As a professional your resume is predominately a recruiter’s, or prospective employer’s first impression of you as a potential candidate. Your resume is your marketing brochure and it is crucial that your CV stands out from the rest.

You need to utilise your resume, in the same way as Sales Professionals utilise advertising and brochures to entice prospective buyers. You are selling yourself, your skills, your qualifications and your experience.

Keep your resume Simple – You are a healthcare professional your resume does not need to have a lot of graphics, fancy fonts, colours or fancy boarders. Keep your CV simple, it needs to be easily scanned by the hiring manager, in an outline form, using bullet points to organize the information in a concise way. Use the same font type and size throughout the document.

They have no time or interest in reading a long list of adjectives that you put together to describe yourself. Your CV should simply state the facts: who you are, what your education is, what you do and have done. It should give the reader the important facts that they need to know, and that is… “This is the reason you want me for this position!”

Photo – This is a professional document, this is selling your experience and why a future employer wants you. The reader doesn’t want to see your glamor shot photos, or a cropped photo of you partying with friends in Bali or you in your swimsuit at the beach or even you in your lyrca standing next to your bike! You are laughing right now, but people do use these photos! Photos are not necessary on a resume. However if you really feel compelled to put a photo on your resume, make sure it’s a professional looking photo where you are in corporate attire or in a work uniform like scrubs.

Personal Information – Start with your personal information, your name, suburb, country, contact numbers and email address. This isn’t eHarmony so the reader doesn’t need to know you are in good health, a non-smoker, divorced with 3 kids name Milo, Milko and Oatis. Make sure your email is a professional email address – “Lollypopnurse” or “mongoosedirtbikesalesgu” don’t really say “I’m a professional”.

Summary– Give the reader a short snap shot of who you are and what you want to do. “I am a radiographer with 3 years’ experience in General & CT within private practice, I am now looking to gain experience in a private practice”.

This is a great section to give the reader some further critical information. Are you relocating? What are your time frames? Are you on a Visa? If so what type of Visa? All this gives the reader an informed understanding of who you are, and doesn’t give the reader a reason to say no.

Education and qualifications – This is critical information the reader needs to know especially within the healthcare arena, your qualifications are relevant to your work. Are you a member of a professional Body like RANZCAR or RACGP or NSW Nurses Association or APHRA? Include any relevant current memberships you hold and ID numbers. Include all your tertiary and vocational qualifications, including the year you completed the course and the institution you studied at. Compile this information in reverse chronological order. ABC Hospital’s internal course in Hand Washing is not a qualification. So do not include internal employer courses, or non-relevant courses you have completed, or even list the subjects you studied during your degree.

This section should look like this…

Current Studying Masters in Marketing ABC University Completion in 2017

2010 NSW Radiation License No. 123456789. Exp 1/1/2015

2010 AHPRA registration ID No 123456789

2009 Bachelor of Medical imaging ABC University GPA 5/6

2008 Fellow of RANZCO Subspecialty in Retina

Employment history – Compile this information in reverse chronological order, stipulate the dates of employment (Month/Year), Employer, Location and Job Title.

Have a sub heading Role Specifications – We all know what a Nurse, Radiographer, Doctor, or a Medical Device Representative does, so in this section give the reader key specific information they would not know that is relevant to this specific role. Keep this information in bullet point form. For example:

  • I specialise in the following modalities Obstetrics, Gynae, vascular and MSK.

  • I am 1 of 10 nurses on shift in a 15 bed Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

  • I cover a territory of Ophthalmology practices from south of Parramatta road down to the NSW boarder.

  • As a GP I see on average 25 patients a day.

  • As the Practice Manager I managed a team of 20 auxiliary support staff who supported 20 GP doctors, 13 Allied Health professionals and 15 Specialist Surgeons.

Have another sub heading Achievements – In this section you want to give the reader quantifiable achievements, list as many as you can. Did you increase revenue by billing more patient encounters? Did you improve quality by changing protocols or reducing errors? You need to spell out how your actions provided results or impacted your employer’s bottom line. For example:

  • In 2002 I was awarded the Nurse of the year. This was out of 230 nurses and I achieved this because of work I did to educate new staff in regards to new Infection Control Measures.

  • In 2012 I was sales representative of the year out of 35 representatives. I achieved this by increasing territory sales to 125%.

  • In 2008 I was promoted to the position of Senior Radiographer, due to the work I was doing in educating junior radiographers.

There are no maximum or minimum requirements of how many points you should have. Generally 5 to 7 points is a good average. Remember your primary objective is to give the reader critical information that they wouldn’t know about this role.

2012 – Current ABC Medical Imaging, Sydney Australia

Senior Sonographer

Role Specifications




Personal Achievements – The reader doesn’t need to know you like reading, travelling, playing the piano, or drinking wine in your spare time. What you are better off doing is writing about personal achievements you have achieved that show who you are as a person. Have you competed at a high level in sport or in regular competitions? Have you run the City to Surf in Sydney every year for the last 10 years and continually improved your time?

Additional Information –If you are going to add other information make sure it’s relevant to your role. Do you speak a number of languages? Do you have a clean driver’s licence? If not how many points have you lost? If you have written a number of clinical papers, add a section titled Publications, and add your publications. Give the reader as much information that is relevant to your suitability for the position.

MOST IMPORTANTLY Before you send your resume proof read it, check spelling and grammar.