Life on the road

Locum Pharmacist of the Year Sean Richardson MPS

An injury saw former construction worker Sean Richardson MPS swap life on the tools for one behind the dispensary. He hit the road with his degree and hasn’t looked back.

In the past 12 months, 2022 PSA Locumate Locum of the Year Sean Richardson MPS has worked everywhere from the heat of Mt Isa in outback Queensland, to tropical Cairns and Millicent on South Australia’s Limestone Coast. While each pharmacy comes with its own set of challenges, Mr Richardson says this is what keeps him going.

‘The challenges are always going to be there, like with any career in any location. But the adventure aspect and exposure to what else is out there is amazing,’ he says.

‘Exposure is key to understanding what you do and don’t like, and as a locum you get exposure to multiple environments, patient groups, demographics, staff culture and dispensary management.’

Into the deep

After graduating from the University of South Australia as a mature-aged student, Mr Richardson was eager to find his place in the profession. He quickly realised locum work would help him gain valuable experience in a short amount of time.

‘If I was a student coming out, I would do exactly what I did again, which was find as many opportunities as I could that I hadn’t had yet,’ he says. ‘[Then] you can look at the next job advertisement and go, “Oh yes, I know how to do all those things because I’ve already been in an environment that expected it of me”.’

Mr Richardson says he would encourage all pharmacists to try at locumming, even if just for a day through an emergency locum service.

‘I think it’s something that every pharmacist should get on board with at least once or twice,’ he says.

‘Sometimes, you’re put in the deep end of a pharmacy you know only the basics about and you have to learn on your feet. It’s like swimming; first you nearly drown, next you’re floating and, by the time you’re wrapping up your stay, it’s all freestyle. It just takes time.’

Hear more about Mr Richardson’s life as a locum pharmacist here.


1. What is your top tip for other locums?

Ask. Locum roles can be difficult and solitary. There are many other locums either in your position or have been – all able to help.

2. Where will you be in 5 years?

I’m drawn to the ideas of tutoring or lecturing, maybe a workshop for pharmacists interested in locum roles. But 5 years is a long time and the next 6 months comes first!

3. What is your main goal at this stage for the future?

I want to look back and know that I maintained a good standard of service considering the challenges in pharmacy. Being able to know that when the industry pinched or another curve ball was thrown, we stayed and got the job done. I want to stay consistent, stay persistent and be resourceful. Pharmacists contribute value every day.