Community care key to unique pharmacy program

Pharmaceutical Sciences is prescribing advanced clinical skills, unique projects and patient involvement for graduates taking its community pharmacy residency program.

The first program of its kind in Canada, the residency was re-established this year after an eight-year suspension due to faculty and funding changes.

The one-year program is offered to two of the faculty's almost 120 graduates or any licensed pharmacist each year. It involves advanced training in clinical pharmacy skills and instruction on pharmacy management and teaching techniques.

The majority of the residency is spent in three-, four- or six-week rotations in community, hospital outpatient and long-term care pharmacies and the Drug and Poison Information Centre.

"This program makes sense because 90 per cent of pharmacists work in the community," says program director Penny Miller.

Eighteen B.C. pharmacists, recognized for their high standard of practice and often unique services, serve as coaches. They are asked to challenge the residents with innovative projects, such as researching a sleeping medication withdrawal program.

"I believe there's more independence, flexibility and patient contact than in a hospital residency," says Afshin Jaberi, a recent graduate of the program. He now works at one of his residency sites, Reach Community Health Centre on Commercial Drive.

Although hospital residencies are well established, advanced training in community pharmacy practice reflects a change in the profession.

"We're trying to emphasize our consultative role, working with both patient and doctor," says Senior Instructor Marion Pearson, one of the program's advisers.

Energy and the ability to work with people is key to getting selected for the residency.

The program returns with financial support from the faculty and the B.C. Pharmacists' Association.