Jessica Heald

Four women embracing, turned away from the camera, overlaid with text 'International Women's Day. Women of Pharmacy in Focus'.

International Women’s Day 2023: Women of Pharmacy in Focus Series

This year for International Women’s Day, we are highlighting women across the Australian pharmacy industry who are at different stages of their careers. Our interview subject today is Jessica Heald, fourth year pharmacy student and President of the Queensland Pharmacy Students’ Association!

March 4th: Interview with Jessica Heald

What is your name and role?
My name is Jessica Heald, I am a 4th year pharmacy student at the University of Queensland, and the current President of the Queensland Pharmacy Students’ Association.

What challenges do you experience in your studies and work?

I am sure my peers can agree that pharmacy students wear many different hats – we are students in a classroom, trainee pharmacists at placement, leaders to our peers, technicians and assistants at work, and no matter where we are, we are always learning.

Considering all of this in an industry that is constantly transforming, it is safe to say that pharmacy students certainly face unique challenges. Personally, I have struggled to achieve balance between all these aspects of my life, and can attest to the stress this imbalance causes. Those assessment-heavy weeks filled with shifts, classes, and QPSA events are especially overwhelming. Not to mention, the usual stressors anyone working in pharmacy is familiar with; from medication shortages to short staffing and everything in between. 

Photo of Jessica Heald, pharmacy student and current president of QSPA
Jessica Heald

How do you look after yourself and maintain your wellbeing?
While some days can be challenging, they also showcase the importance of a strong support system and the consistent practice of self care. I strive to ensure I take time out of each day to connect with my loved ones, and take a break for myself. Sometimes this can be sitting down with a good book and a cuppa, or simply taking 5 minutes out of my day to phone a friend. I can admit that while this is a goal, I certainly do not achieve it every day, but I will continue to make my wellbeing a priority because it allows me to be my best. 

What do you value about the Pharmacists’ Support Service?
The Pharmacists’ Support Service has a clear dedication to the wellbeing of everyone in our profession, and is the reason I have always been a supporter of their work. I truly value their outreach work with pharmacy students across the country. In particular, I remember meeting Kay Dunkley [Executive Officer of PSS] back at NAPSA Congress 2020 and feeling so welcomed into the profession. Ever since that day, I have had the iconic blue magnet on my work and home fridge. Thank you to PSS for all that you do for students!

Thank you for reading today’s profile! Tune in tomorrow for the next in our series of interviews in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th!

Find out more about the Queensland Pharmacy Students’ Association here:
Read more about International Women’s Day here: