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Investing wisely

Collaborative hospital pharmacy program launches

By Heidi Wicks

In the spirit of interdisciplinary education, a new one-year hospital residency program within Eastern Health’s pharmacy department, and affiliated with the School of Pharmacy, debuted on July 16.

The program will enable residents to further develop clinical skills and research expertise with an overall aim to prepare pharmacists for challenging and innovative practice in a hospital setting.

Enhanced curriculum

Dr. Barbara Thomas, residency coordinator for the Eastern Health Authority Pharmacy Residency Program, worked with Drs. John Hawboldt and Beverly Fitzpatrick in the School of Pharmacy to build the curriculum.

She feels that the keen interest shown in the program is a result of the quality of the curriculum, which gives the resident exposure to a broader range of pharmacy practice experiences.

Left to right: Drs. Barbara Thomas, John Hawboldt and Beverly Fitzpatrick.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Residents will spend a full year in a number of core and elective rotations. Elective rotations are based on their interest areas, such as mental health and addictions, pediatrics, hemodialysis and inpatient hematology oncology.

Core rotations take place in areas such as antimicrobial stewardship (the sound use of antibiotics), critical care, general medicine and surgery. A rotation in pharmacy leadership and completion of a major research project are other curriculum components.

“We have capitalized on our strengths within the pharmacy program at Eastern Health and have further enhanced the curriculum by partnering with the School of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Thomas. “Core rotations are offered in the Pharmacy Skills Lab and the Drug Information Centre, and an elective rotation is offered in the Medication Therapy Services Clinic.

“The new multidisciplinary adult thrombosis service is an example of a successful Eastern Health/School of Pharmacy collaboration, and is another of the rotation locations.”

Improving patient care

Eastern Health now joins over 25 other healthcare organizations in Canada offering a pharmacy residency program. These programs are accredited by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board.

Norm Lace, regional pharmacy and residency director with Eastern Health, said it’s vital to maintain an interdisciplinary focus.

“In addition to strengthening our relationship with the School of Pharmacy, we see the residency program as a means to further enhance collaborative patient care,” he said.

“As the majority of rotations are in clinical practice, the resident gets the opportunity to work with many patient care teams and to interact with a wide variety of health care professionals over the course of the year.”

Dr. Kristi Parmiter (left) works with residents in the program.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Residency programs have been shown to not only elevate both the quality and cost-effectiveness of patient care, but residents provide cost savings to their organizations, he added. This translates into a decrease health care costs.

“These programs lower drug acquisition costs, reduce lengths of hospital stays, and increase efficiency of pharmacy service delivery,” said Mr. Lace.

“Several studies have shown that resident’s involvement leads to improvement in patient outcomes. Enhancing innovation in pharmacy practice through the completion of projects that are germane to the needs and strategic direction of the pharmacy program is another benefit that we anticipate attaining through this program’s delivery.

“Considerable interest in this program was shown from applicants from across Canada, and this exposure also heightens awareness of pharmacy practice at Eastern Health and in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

By investing in tomorrow’s health care leaders, the program wisely invests in a healthier future.

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