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PharmD approved

Bachelor of science (pharmacy) to become doctor of pharmacy

Teaching and Learning

By Heidi Wicks

The School of Pharmacy’s new entry-to-practice doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program was approved by Memorial University’s Senate on Feb. 16.

The PharmD will replace the current bachelor of science (pharmacy) program. First admission to the PharmD is planned for fall 2017. The degree is comprised of five years in the pharmacy program in addition to 30 credit hours of specific prerequisite courses.

Dr. Carlo Marra, dean, School of Pharmacy, says the school is excited to receive approval to offer the PharmD at Memorial.

“The move towards a Doctor of Pharmacy has been in development for a number of years and is now the educational standard for pharmacy practice,” he said. “More than half of the Pharmacy schools across Canada have already implemented a PharmD program, while the remaining schools are in various stages of the development/approval process.”

The role of the pharmacist has changed from its original focus on medication supply, towards a more inclusive focus on direct patient care.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, pharmacists are now able to administer vaccinations, hold prescriptive authority for minor ailments, provide smoking cessation, make therapeutic substitutions, change drug dosages and renew or extend prescriptions. It is anticipated that the pharmacist’s role will continue to evolve,” explained Dr. Marra.

Dr. Lisa Bishop is the director of the PharmD program. She says the program will better prepare students for their careers in pharmacy.

“The PharmD offers a new curriculum that represents best-practice design combining classroom, small-group, simulated and real pharmacy experiences,” she said. “The curriculum has been designed to expose students to increasingly complex patient situations as they progress through the program to ensure they have the knowledge, clinical skills and experience to succeed in their expanded role.”

In the field

The PharmD program includes a greater emphasis on practice experiences, offering students 44 weeks of experiential learning.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting so that they will be prepared to embrace the full and expanding scope of pharmacy practice,” said Dr. Bishop. “These practice experiences would not be possible without the dedication and support of our many preceptors. Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to offer the program. They really contribute to the future of pharmacy in so many ways.”

Dr. Marra echoed the praise for preceptors and also acknowledged the support that led the PharmD to this stage of development.

“The program planning and development would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff of the School of Pharmacy and the support received from the many internal and external stakeholders who contributed to the development of the program.”

For further information on the PharmD program, visit the School of Pharmacy’s website.

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