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Tutor Vitaliy Churkin highlights the benefits of being an NZSE healthcare student

Vitaliy Churkin’s 17 years of community pharmacy experience, coupled with seven years (and counting!) in tertiary teaching, makes him a perfect fit as a tutor in NZSE’s Pharmacy Technician Programme. We talk to Vitaliy about the student experience at NZSE, the social impact of pharmacists in their community, and NZSE’s impressive track record of student employment.

What value do you gain from NZSE’s Pharmacy Technician programme?

A key feature of the NZ Certificate in Pharmacy – Pharmacy Technician (Core) (Level 4) programme is that students are required to complete a certain amount of hours in a real pharmacy setting, whether that be a community or a hospital. This gives students the experience working with qualified pharmacists, engaging with patients and providing patient-centred care.

“Many people would imagine that the job of a pharmacist involves a lot of counting and pouring different types of medications, labelling and serving customers, but actually it goes far beyond that.”

The true value of this placement is that you get those hands-on skills and apply everything that you’ve learned in class to the real-thing. Students learn that, at the end of the day, this job does involve working with vulnerable people. These are people who might not only have a physical health issue, but perhaps also psychological health issues. Students learn how to have that sense of humanity – how to deliver compassionate care.

What comes after graduation?

“There are two career pathways for a qualified Pharmacy Technician: working in a community pharmacy setting or working in a hospital pharmacy setting. Our key outcome is not just getting a certificate or qualification at the end of the programme, but ultimately getting a lifelong career.

“I see students grow from day one. When they first enrol, I can see they feel a bit anxious and uncertain of where this course will take them. But towards the end of the course, their eyes are full of colours and they already know what they’re going to do next. They’ve got a clear career pathway.”

Why should a student choose NZSE?

NZSE is really one big whānau, with students at the centre of everything we do. Our blended model of learning, online and in-person, ensures a fun and engaging student environment. We also have strong industry connections, in both hospital and community settings. This helps us with our great track record of our graduates gaining employment. I’ve had students who still had four weeks to go in their course, but were already offered a full-time job!

“Students spend the majority of their time in an actual classroom, or at our on-site pharmacy dispensary lab learning soft skills, engaging with tutors and interacting with their friends.”

“I’m really able to see my students grow during their time at NZSE, both professionally and personally. It’s not just about the academic part, we really focus on students’ social wellbeing here at NZSE.”

What do you find most rewarding in your role?

“Sometimes I visit a pharmacy and bump into a student behind the desk – someone I may have taught four or five years ago. This gives me a great sense of pride. It’s fascinating to see students working in the industry and making a significant impact on the community that they serve. We really need pharmacy technicians, and it is incredibly rewarding to see NZSE graduates support Aotearoa’s health industry.”

Do you want to explore your options in pharmacy healthcare? Read the programme overview here, or connect with us by scheduling a phone call, meeting, or online chat here.

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