UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May
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 areas 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
Im 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. Im forever grateful to my prof for giving me
some extra time to get us all home and settled before I wrote
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.
Im happy to be going back to the Island. Its
a great place to work and raise kids. And weve got family
in both Parksville and Sooke, so well never be short