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UBC Reports | Vol. 51 | No. 5 | May 5, 2005

Pharmacy a “Piping” Hot Career Choice

By Hilary Thomson

After eight years of post-secondary education, Craig Plain figures he’s finally found the prescription for success.

The 25-year-old picks up a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree this month, capping a previous four years studying kinesiology and human health at Simon Fraser University.

Pursuing pharmacy started as a light-hearted suggestion from his father, a practicing pharmacist and UBC alumnus. Once Plain researched the pharmaceutical sciences program, he realized it would be a good fit.

A veteran at hitting the books, he says his third year in Pharmacy, “where they throw everything at you” was the toughest.

To keep life balanced, he skiied and blew off steam with his music. A virtual one-man band, Plain plays classical, blues and jazz piano and has been known to do a mean Jerry Lee Lewis imitation.

In addition, he was inspired by SFU’s famous pipe band to learn how to play the bagpipes and has played professionally at a variety of high-profile events. He also plays guitar and has recently added the harmonica to his repertoire.

He admits his apartments have often resembled a music store warehouse.

He believes his previous education and understanding of body mechanics will help him because pharmacists also counsel patients on how to use medical appliances such as neck braces and crutches.

Canada’s aging population, retirement of “baby boomer” pharmacists and the introduction of a multitude of new medications have turned a pharmacy degree into a hot ticket. Plain and his classmates have been courted by major employers offering big salaries and signing bonuses. He prefers to keep his options open, however, and plans to work in a community pharmacy in Vancouver until the right opportunity comes along.

And what about some vacation time after all these years in academia?

“I’ll take a couple of weeks off, but I’m eager to use my knowledge and get started,” he says. “But I did give myself a great graduation present -- a new car to take me to work.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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