March is Pharmacy Awareness Month in Canada

It’s Pharmacy Awareness Month across Canada.

Shannan Neubauer is the Manager of Pharmacy Services with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). She says the month highlights pharmacy practice in a hospital, and covered the roles of a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician wtihin a health facility.

Neubauer explained the pharmacists job is to optimize drug therapy for a patient, tailoring the best dose and best drug option for them. They consider the main reason why a person has come into the hospital, what kind of medication’s they’re on, and how they will expect the individual’s body will metabolize and clear those medications.

“All of those things contribute to the decisions and recommendations that a hospital pharmacist makes to your physician about which drugs you should be on.” she added.

A pharmacist also educates patients and their families about the medications, as well as work to prevent or minimize any adverse effects to medications.

The job of a pharmacy technician, meanwhile, is to manage the preparation and distribution of all medications in hospitals.

“They touch every component, from ordering the medications, and when they arrive, to entering those medications in a computerized system. They package medications with machines that puts a barcode on them that’s a degree of safety.” she said.

Among other duties, a pharmacy technician also prepares intravenous (IV) doses and properly dispose expired medication.

Neubauer is using this month to highlight the SHA’s need for more pharmacy technicians.

She says they were excited when Sask. Polytech announced it was increasing the number of training seats for licenced techs.

“That’s going to begin as soon as this fall, and we can’t wait to see more technicians out of those programs. It’s a great career choice.”

She says she is fortunate to be working with teams of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, praising them for being innovative thinkers and ensuring standards are being met.

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