Murray Dykeman Mentorship Award 2024: Megan St. John

Updated on May 31, 2024 (Originally posted on May 15, 2024) The Tablet

Megan St. John
Murray Dykeman Mentorship Award
Assistant Pharmacy Manager, St Anthony's Pharmacy
Victoria, B.C.

“You’d make a really great pharmacist.”

It was an off-the-cuff remark from a high school teacher who was impressed by her affinity for chemistry, but for Megan St. John, it was a recommendation that would be the first cut on the trail towards a career in pharmacy.

St. John, now assistant pharmacy manager at St. Anthony’s Clinic Pharmacy in Victoria, is the recipient of the 2024 Murray Dykeman Mentorship Award. In the four years since she graduated pharmacy school, St. John has certainly made her mark as a rising star.

For one, she’s the most junior pharmacist in the 46-year history of her banner, Heart Pharmacy Group, to become pharmacy manager so soon after graduation. In her two years so far with the Heart group, she was instrumental in providing mentorship and training to four new to practice pharmacy graduates who have joined the group since summer 2023. 

“I remembered being a new grad and the transition to pharmacy practice was overwhelming. I approached our HR manager and asked if we could put something together to help ease them into the company,” St. John said. “I made a slideshow for them. We introduced them to all our different stores, the resources we have within our group, and the subject matter experts within our group. We made sure they had all the tools they needed for their first day. Just making sure that they don’t get those feelings of anxiety, or feeling alone.”

Having someone to help the new grads transition into practice was particularly important for the Heart group, St. John said. 

Previously, the group rarely hired new graduates and preferred experienced pharmacists instead. But as the labour shortage became more prevalent, the group’s hiring practices shifted, and it took someone such as St. John to recognize that the group’s training and onboarding practices also had to adapt.

Megan St. John

Megan St. John, assistant pharmacy manager at St. Anthony’s Clinic Pharmacy, is on the fast-track to taking over the location as pharmacy manager.

St. John recalled that, when she was a fresh graduate, she also had her own mentor who helped her become comfortable in her practice. After graduating in 2020, St. John spent her first two years working at a community pharmacy in her hometown of Prince George. 

“It was my pharmacy manager at the time, and he was one of those pharmacists who just knew his clients. He was very welcoming, a great supporter during that transition for me. He also took on students and had an excited attitude towards teaching and coaching,” she said. 

“That experience drove my desire to create spaces for people where they feel safe and supported in my own pharmacy team.”

For St. John, the most important qualities of mentorship are being approachable, and being someone who others are comfortable to come to for advice.

“I think, sometimes, mentorship requires a quiet confidence. Being able to be a person for somebody who they can look up to, and feel that they can be vulnerable with,” she said.

Currently, St. John is on track to become full pharmacy manager at Heart’s St. Anthony’s Clinic Pharmacy location. It’ll be a big job. Out of the Heart group’s eight pharmacies, the St. Anthony’s Clinic location is regarded as the most complex pharmacy, both operationally and clinically due to its large staff count and diverse clinical services. 

“We’ve got another new graduate starting in June and we will have our first placement with the University of B.C. as a practicum site in August. It’ll be the first time I will be precepting for students. We are also growing our therapeutic recovery services and our daily dispense program,” she said.

“It’s really exciting.” 

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.