March 20, 2017
March is Pharmacy Awareness Month — the perfect time to celebrate the pharmacy team at Women’s College Hospital (WCH).
Most people encounter pharmacists and pharmacy technicians at their local community pharmacy when filling prescriptions or asking for advice about their medications, but they may not realize the many contributions made by the pharmacy team here at WCH.
Meet the pharmacy team
Pharmacists are medication experts who work in a variety of settings. In a community pharmacy, pharmacists review prescriptions for medications to ensure their effectiveness, safety and accuracy before dispensing a medication. In hospitals, pharmacists work in teams with other healthcare professionals to help select the best medication options for people. They also help people understand and manage their medications and provide education so they can make informed decisions about available treatment options.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for drug distribution. They check medications for safety and accuracy prior to dispensing and help to prevent medication errors.
The pharmacy team at WCH has many important and innovative roles, some of which are outlined below:
Pharmacists at WCH work as part of teams to help provide optimal patient-centred care. They meet with patients to develop best possible medication histories, assess the effectiveness and safety of their medication therapy, provide recommendations to optimize therapy and develop care plans in collaboration with patients and the healthcare team. WCH pharmacists also play active role in chronic disease management, including providing patient education and answering questions about medication therapy.
At WCH, pharmacists can be found in the following areas:
The pharmacy department at WCH developed one of Canada’s first accredited ambulatory care pharmacy residency programs. All pharmacists at WCH are affiliated with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, and take active roles in teaching and mentoring pharmacy students. Our pharmacists provide experiential education to many students each year. Additionally, some pharmacists co-ordinate or lecture in classes at the faculty in subject areas such as women’s health, ambulatory care practice and cardiology. Pharmacists are also involved in the teaching and training of medical clerks and residents at the hospital.
Pharmacy technicians focus on ensuring safe medication practices. At WCH, this includes using aseptic techniques to prepare sterile injectable medications, ensuring operating rooms are supplied with necessary medications and safely preparing and checking medications prior to dispensing. They are also taking on expanded roles at WCH by completing best possible medication history training as part of a demonstration project in surgical services.
Pharmacists strive to improve the care they deliver by applying principles of continuous quality improvement and program evaluation in their clinical programs. The pharmacy team also supports clinical research by managing medications for clinical trials conducted through WCH. Pharmacy is also the home for one of the Women’s College Research Institute’s scientists’ research program - Lisa McCarthy, PharmD. Her research focuses on optimizing medication therapy for older adults receiving ambulatory care services and evaluating new care models that include pharmacists.
For more information about pharmacy at WCH, please contact Neil Jobanputra, manager, Pharmacy Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.