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In the blood

Daughter follows in pharmacist father’s ― and grandfather’s ― footsteps

special feature: Student success

Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring convocation 2017.

By Heidi Wicks

Megan Gulliver “never in a million years” thought she’d choose a career in the field of pharmacy―despite having both a father and a grandfather in the profession.

Eventually, she warmed up to the idea. The Mount Pearl native began to consider applying to Memorial’s School of Pharmacy during her second year.

From left, Meghan and Ray Gulliver in the Apothecary Museum in St. John's.
From left, Megan and Ray Gulliver in the Apothecary Museum in St. John’s.
Photo: Chris Hammond

“I knew from my dad that pharmacists didn’t just ‘count, lick, stick and pour,’ but I didn’t know what a pharmacist actually does in the run of a day. So I decided to start shadowing Dad.”

Paternal influence

Ray Gulliver hails from Paradise and is the pharmacist-in-charge at the Baccalieu Trail Pharmacy in South River. He was at a different stage in life when, in 1999, he decided to return to school to pursue a pharmacy degree.

“Becoming a full-time student and married with two young girls, aged five and eight, it was quite a stressful gamble, especially considering the competition into the program,” he said. “Luckily the gamble paid off and in 2002 I was offered a seat to join the Class of 2005.”

The family tradition goes back yet another generation: Ms. Gulliver’s grandfather, Randy Collins, was licensed as a pharmacist in 1967.

Pharmacist-patient relationship

Ms. Gulliver says it wasn’t until she started observing her father in the workplace and witnessing the mutual level of respect he had established with his patients that she began to understand the impact a pharmacist can have on patient care.

“He treats his patients as friends by taking the time to listen and get to know their stories.” — Megan Gulliver

Now, the father-daughter duo learns from each other. The profession is rapidly changing: in the past five years alone, pharmacists have been given the authority to administer drug therapy by inhalation or injection, prescribe for various minor ailments, extend or adapt a prescription or provide an interim supply of medication to patients.

“Megan and I have had some conversations throughout her school years where information being taught to her has changed since I was a student,” Mr. Gulliver said. “Another reason it’s so important for pharmacists to remain lifelong learners.”

Spring graduate

Although the spring graduate can hardly believe she has finished her degree―Ms. Gulliver will cross the stage at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre on June 2 to collect her B.Sc. (Pharmacy)―she exemplifies the qualities of a lifelong learner and has big plans for the future.

“I plan on getting my feet wet in a community pharmacy,” she said. “However, I do have a passion for mental health and addictions, so I’m hoping that in the future I’ll be able to pursue this area in either a community or hospital setting. I also want to gain extra certifications such as diabetes educator, anticoagulation pharmacist and others, depending on where my career lands.”

She also plans to complete a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program, which Memorial will offer for both new students and graduates beginning in 2017.

The most important lesson Ms. Gulliver has learned from her father is the importance of treating everyone, both inside and outside of the pharmacy, with respect.

“He treats his patients as friends by taking the time to listen and get to know their stories.”

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