Pharmacist Awareness Month 2018

March is Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) -- the perfect time to celebrate pharmacists' expertise and the important role they play in delivering quality care to patients!

This year, we're encouraging everyone to Rethink Pharmacy by considering the different roles that pharmacists play in your community. While community pharmacists play an invaluable role in our communities, today’s pharmacists are expanding on their knowledge, training and expertise and contributing to a healthcare agenda.  

Meet the pharmacists across Ontario and how they are making a difference in your community:

1. Community Pharmacists

Many people know about community pharmacists, but may not be aware of what they are actually doing behind the pharmacy counter.  Services provided by community pharmacists have expanded over the past few years, and include: administering the flu shot, helping people quit smoking, and reviewing medication lists through the MedsCheck program. This is all in addition to what pharmacists have always done - like checking for drug interactions, answering questions about side effects, recommending over-the-counter products, and much more! If you haven’t been using all of these services, pay your community pharmacist a visit today and talk to the pharmacist about what they can do for you. Meet Stacey D’Angelo

2. Hospital Pharmacists

Pharmacists who work in hospitals are there to make sure your medications are right for you.  You might meet a pharmacist in cancer care, mental health, the emergency department, pediatrics, cardiology, or any other department. Hospital pharmacists provide care to patients that are admitted to hospital. These pharmacists review your medications when you first arrive at the hospital, during your hospital stay, and before you go home to ensure that you continue taking all the correct medications when you leave the hospital. They are also available to teach patients and family members about any new medications that are started in hospital, and much more. 

3.  Family Health Team Pharmacists

Some pharmacists work as part of Family Health Teams (FHTs) alongside family doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. If your family doctor is part of a FHT, you may see a pharmacist for a medication review to ensure your medication list is up-to-date. You might also see a pharmacist for management of chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or pain management. Pharmacists in FHTs are typically the go-to person if doctors or nurses have questions about medications, and they are available to answer any questions from patients as well. Pharmacists in FHTs are committed to improving medication use and are a great resource for all patients that are part of a FHT. Meet Heather Foley.

4. Long-Term Care Pharmacists

Pharmacists working in Long-Term Care (LTC) settings specialize in providing pharmaceutical care to specific patient populations. These patients are typically elderly or aging people, but may also include people with physical or developmental challenges who require the services of a LTC setting. LTC pharmacists work in a variety of practice settings, including nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, or pharmacies that dispense medications to LTC facilities. Some LTC pharmacists practice as consultants and have roles in more than one of these settings. LTC pharmacists play an important role in ensuring appropriate medication use, particularly since residents of LTC may have complex medication regimens. LTC pharmacists review and update medication lists for residents of LTC facilities, counsel residents and family members on new medications, and make recommendations to doctors and nurses on medication changes to be made. LTC pharmacists are valuable members of the healthcare team and are advocates for safe and appropriate medication use in the LTC setting. Meet Jonathan Lu and Kacie Lunn.

5. Pharmacists in Academia

Pharmacists working in Ontario’s two Schools of Pharmacy (at University of Toronto and University of Waterloo) are responsible for ensuring that faculty and staff have the resources and support they need to deliver outstanding pharmacy education for students, and conducting cutting-edge research that will ultimately improve the health of Canadians. Meet Dave Edwards.

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