PharmDs forging a new path

Updated on July 16, 2021 (Originally posted on May 28, 2019) The Tablet

CEO Message: Geraldine Vance

This spring marks the graduation of the first Entry-to-Practice PharmD students from the University of British Columbia (UBC). It really is the first step in charting a new frontier for the profession of community pharmacists. And like all explorers charting new frontiers, it is not possible to clearly know what lies ahead or where the destination will end. And that’s okay. Because any good journey involves some surprises along the way.

There is no shortage of challenges facing community pharmacy these days. Economic pressures have never been greater and the drive to contain drug expenditures by payers means that pressure isn’t going away anytime soon. But as is always the case, the way out of a problem rarely involves doing things the way they have always been done before. It is about creating new opportunities and raising the bar.

Certainly, the leadership of UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences is to be commended for its commitment to innovation and leadership in all the work it did to create the new program. It took passion and lots of hard work to develop a program that met the needs of the profession today and equips pharmacists to take on the opportunities of the future. The way health care is changing means all health professionals will need to be ready and willing to do things differently. Patients and government no longer want siloed health care and turf protection. They want health-care teams that genuinely collaborate and work in the best interest of patients.

Collaborative, patient-centred care seems so obvious. But it represents a fundamental shift in the way our health-care system operates. One need only look at how health-care budgets are struck: there is one budget for physician services, one for PharmaCare, one for health regions and hospitals, etc. It’s not easy to cross budget lines to deliver comprehensive, team-based care.

But changing the mindset and culture is the first step to revamping our fragmented health-care delivery system. Pharmacists from UBC’s new program enter the profession with experience in interprofessional collaboration and with expertise that is crucial to this perspective shift. These first graduates are really the first explorers set to find a new path where pharmacists have opportunities to use the full range of their expertise and build strong partnerships with prescribers and their patients (read more in our cover story, Shaping the future of pharmacy).  

Congratulations to all the new graduates. The BCPhA looks forward to supporting you as you find your way to new destinations.

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.