Nearing graduation in the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) program from the University of Saskatchewan, Caitlin McGrath is also national president of the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI), and past-president of the Health Sciences Students’ Association of Saskatchewan (HSSA-SK).
By Caitlin McGrath
My passion for pharmacy started almost nine years ago as a 10th grade student in the small community of Bonnyville, Alberta. It was my mother who suggested I approach our neighbourhood pharmacy. Since she had been working in a primary care clinic, she saw the pharmacist as the medication expert and thought pharmacy would be a good fit for me.
Back then, if anyone would have told me where I would be today and all that I would accomplish, I never would have believed them. Now I find myself in my final year of pharmacy school and I cannot imagine pursuing any other path than the one that has led me to where I am today.
I was accepted into the BSP program in August of 2013. My Structured Practice Experiences Program (SPEP) rotations have provided me with hands-on experiences to develop confidence as a future practitioner.
In addition to my studies, extracurricular involvements have been a cornerstone of my career as a student. Throughout my four years, I have been extensively involved in the pharmacy community locally as the health sciences liaison with the Saskatchewan Pharmacy and Nutrition Students’ Society (SPNSS). However, it is my three-year term on the CAPSI National Council as the 2016-2017 president that has impacted my student experience the most. CAPSI is unique in the way it brings together motivated pharmacy students from across the country who are truly committed to enhancing pharmacy practice by participating in a national conversation focused on the vision of “creating a national community of pharmacy students and interns empowered to advocate for the advancement of the profession towards excellence in patient-centred care.”
The open dialogue and camaraderie that evolves within CAPSI’s council meetings as we discuss current issues in pharmacy, plan events across Canada and eagerly prepare for Professional Development Week has shown me how the profession extends beyond my individual future practice. By becoming involved with CAPSI National, I have seen how the profession can be shaped by the support we offer our colleagues across the country.
A main highlight of my CAPSI experience was being one of the students involved with CPhA’s first Federal Lobby day on Parliament Hill speaking with MPs and other pharmacy leaders from across Canada about the future of pharmacy practice. Professional Development Week by far is the most exciting time as a CAPSI National Council member as we meet in-person to collaborate and discuss our council’s current efforts and successes. Additionally, I appreciate the networking opportunity that Professional Development Week provides for students from across the country to converse about current hot topics within practice and CAPSI as an organization.
Being a part of the next generation of practising pharmacists, I fully intend on continuing to advocate for the profession by being involved in advocacy groups, but also by educating my future patients on all that pharmacists can provide for them and the betterment of their health.
I’m looking forward to working in community practice after graduation, with a special interest in rural and remote health. I plan on practising to my full scope in a setting that allows me to make a difference in the lives of rural community members. I believe this is the most exciting time to become a pharmacist.