Pharmacy U

Birtle Pharmacy’s Alison Desjardins turns to Pharmacy U Vancouver for ideas


Alison Desjardins attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, completing a biology degree before deciding on pharmacy for her career and graduating in 1995. She owns and operates Birtle Pharmacy in Birtle, Manitoba (population 665; located 300 km west of Winnipeg) with her husband Steve, the store manager.


by Alison Desjardins BSc. Phm.

Photo by Shanna Turnbull


We became owners of Birtle Pharmacy in 2000. Over the years we took on new ventures, including providing meds to the local nursing home, and becoming the liquor and eventual beer vendor as well. In 2013, we decided to build a new store from the ground up. We planned our dream pharmacy and had it built over the coldest Manitoba winter in 50 years, opening in June 2014.

I enjoy the collaborative relationship I have with other healthcare professionals. Steve and I have a team approach both at work and at home. We work hard in order to play hard, enjoying holidays with our three sons whenever possible.

I’ve attended Pharmacy U in Vancouver for the past two years. It’s a must-do for me. Last year I attended Pharmacy U sessions about adherence. I learned that adherence initiatives can benefit patients (better health outcomes) and payers (fewer hospitalizations), pharmacies gain increased volume, plus work flow is more predictable.

I applied this knowledge by making an effort to enrol more clients in our blister packing program, which is the adherence initiative we’ve offered for years. I noticed the improvement in our work flow right away: more control over workflow by having blister packs ready for more of these clients in advance.

I like that Pharmacy U sessions focus on the business of pharmacy, and the therapeutic sessions include strategies for transferring the knowledge into real life use. And who doesn’t enjoy a quick trip to Vancouver and the great restaurants of Gastown? I know I do!