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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May 8, 2003

Pharmacy Grad is Multi-Talented

He is also a paramedic and an auto mechanic.

By Hilary Thomson

At a time when most UBC grads are looking forward to their first professional job, Paul Gibbons will be embarking on his third career.

The 33-year-old, who will receive his Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences degree this month, is also a qualified auto mechanic and a licensed paramedic.

After graduating from high school in 1988 in Sooke, B.C., Gibbons worked as a heavy-duty mechanic in logging camps on Vancouver Island and later as an auto mechanic. In addition, he worked part time with the Otter Point Fire Dept., leaving in 1992 to serve as a paramedic with the B.C. Ambulance Service.

While working at a Victoria auto dealership that serviced the area’s ambulances, he found himself repairing ambulances by day and attending calls in the same vehicles at night.

His work as a paramedic inspired his seven-year journey to become a pharmacist. After years of attending calls where patients had multiple complaints and numerous medications, he developed a curiosity about how medications were prescribed and how they worked in the body.

Still working at two jobs, he enrolled in Camosun College to upgrade his maths and sciences and graduated with a diploma in applied chemistry and biochemistry. He entered UBC in 1999.

“Pharmacy really fits for me,” he says. “It has satisfied my curiosity about the science of drugs and I’m able to work with people, which I enjoy doing.”

He had considered a degree in medicine but was intent on finding a career that he could start while still in his 30s and where he could put family first. That family now includes four-month old Graeme, born at exam-time last year.

“He was only three days old when I was due to write an exam. I’m forever grateful to my prof for giving me some extra time to get us all home and settled before I wrote the test.”

After he crosses the Chan Centre stage to pick up his degree, Gibbons and his family are moving to Parksville on Vancouver Island where he has a job as a community pharmacist.

“I’m happy to be going back to the Island. It’s a great place to work and raise kids. And we’ve got family in both Parksville and Sooke, so we’ll never be short of baby-sitters.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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