In the few short years since I graduated from the University of Toronto I have seen a great shift in the profession of pharmacy.
By James Morrison B.Sc.Phm., CDE
At school I never thought I would see the practice of pharmacy come as far as it has in such a short time with the expanded scope of practice now being advanced throughout the country. I am really keen to see the profession move forward. My goal is to try and help change the culture of pharmacy into one which encourages pharmacists to embrace new opportunities and take on new roles and responsibilities. That’s my mission: to try and move the culture from a product focus to a patient focus.
During the first two years I worked at the Walmart pharmacy in Parry Sound, for example, more than 150 people were immunized, including our local MPP. We were getting more patients coming to us than to doctors in the community. In fact, doctors were referring patients to us. Our team completed more than 200 MedsChecks, and we provided I don’t know how many consultations on diet and lifestyle, blood glucose pattern management, smoking cessation and other issues. We had a huge impact on healthcare in the community.
There are so many ways pharmacists can expand the services they offer and take on a more active role in helping patients manage their conditions and take better care of themselves. Life-long learning has to be a part of that process. Ontario’s immunization competencies education program, the OPA’s minor ailments, travel medicine, nutrition certificate and new and expectant mothers programs, the CPhA’s diabetes strategy and Walmart’s diabetes smart program are excellent opportunities for pharmacists to improve their skills and patient contact and outcomes. I believe as frontline healthcare providers we need to grab each and every opportunity we’re given to fill the gaps and holes that exist in our healthcare system, because if we don’t take these opportunities, someone else will.
I see the role of pharmacists evolving into an integral component of patient care with much greater influence on each patient’s drug therapy and health outcomes. We are a valued part of the patient’s healthcare team instead of mere dispensers of medications. I enjoy how every day presents an opportunity to make a meaningful intervention that could improve the health of my patients. Pharmacists need to be adaptable to embrace the changes that will be coming to pharmacy practice in the future.
James Morrison B.Sc.Phm., CDE is Pharmacy Manager at the Walmart Burlington South store. He recently was the recipient of the CPhA New Practitioner Award.