My Life in Oberon

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Wellness and the Oberon Pharmacy

On a beautiful blue-sky autumn morning in the classic main street of Oberon, local pharmacist Allison O’Driscoll and her staff cheerfully see to a steady stream of customers. The pharmacy is warm and inviting and buzzes with talk and activity. Alison and her staff offer smiles, comfort, laughter and familiarity to their customers. She serves back-to-back customers, dashing from the prescription counter to the phone, then sitting down to talk gently to an elderly lady as though she were the only person in the room.

Allison and fellow pharmacist Jenny Stoneman, own the Oberon Pharmacy. After identifying a community need and business opportunity, Allison and Jenny recently opened the Oberon Wellness Centre, offering podiatry, physiotherapy, massage, naturopathy, homeopathy, counselling, yoga and beauty therapies

“Access to health services, particularly allied health, is an ongoing issue for rural communities such as Oberon,” explains Allison.  “As pharmacists, we frequently advise our customers about the importance of a good diet and regular exercise for their health. The Oberon Wellness Centre is our way of increasing awareness of these issues and helping our community to improve their health by providing services such as yoga, exercise, physiotherapy, podiatry and counselling.”

Both Allison and Jenny have young families and choose to live Oberon because of the lifestyle benefits and job satisfaction it provides.

“My husband and I wanted to raise our children in a rural setting,” explains Allison. “Jenny and I saw a number of unmet needs in the community for specialist health services. Oberon is not an isolated location but the closest alternative is Bathurst or Lithgow which is a long return drive and not convenient for many in our community.”

“The work is just as challenging and enjoyable but the lifestyle is so much more pleasant,” says Allison.

Allison was born in Pinnaroo in South Australia and graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1987 with the PDL prize for pharmaceutics. She has worked in many community pharmacies and hospitals around Australia and overseas. Jenny, on the other hand, is a local girl whose family have been in the Oberon district for generations. She graduated from Sydney University with Honours and was 2007 Pharmacy Graduate of the Year.

“I liked science and chemistry at school and was interested in working in the health area,” she Allison. “My mother suggested pharmacy as a career as she thought it would allow me flexibility, variety and job satisfaction. She was right – I have since worked in outback Australia, overseas, research, hospital and community pharmacy.”

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