By Alana Rigby
At the Waterloo Pharmacy alumni reception, held during the Ontario Pharmacists Association conference, the School’s experiential team presented two awards to pharmacists who are outstanding in their support of pharmacy student education. The first was the 2016 Outstanding Co-op Supervisor Award which celebrates an exceptional mentor to students completing work terms. The second was the 2016 Outstanding Preceptor Award which acknowledges a preceptor who provides excellent guidance for students in their final clinical rotations.
The co-op supervisor award winner this year is Jeff Rodrigues, a pharmacist at a Costco Pharmacy in Etobicoke. Rodrigues’ students describe him as an exemplary pharmacist who excels in providing patient-centered and therapeutically accurate care in a fast-paced work environment. His professionalism and enthusiasm for pharmacy practice is an inspiration to his colleagues and his positive attitude and kind demeanour ensure that he forms effective bonds with coworkers, trainees, and patients. As a co-op supervisor, Rodrigues was quick to share clinical tips and vital therapeutic knowledge with his students. Co-op terms provide opportunities for Waterloo Pharmacy students to translate classroom learning into practice, and Jeff always ensured that his students had many opportunities to do exactly that.
The preceptor award was received by Joanna Ditouras, a pharmacist at the Windsor Regional Hospital with expertise in pediatrics. Ditouras is the first ever recipient of this award as it is new this year. As a preceptor, she guided Waterloo Pharmacy students in working with patients and identifying and solving drug therapy issues. Most importantly, Ditouras cultivated independent learning in her students, ensuring that they understood how to find the best possible answers through analyzing primary evidence. She involved her students in integral clinical decisions and gave them opportunities for collaboration in multidisciplinary teams. Ditouras balances her wide clinical knowledge with effective interpersonal skills, and her students expressed how much they valued learning to empathetically interview and counsel patients.
Both Rodrigues and Ditouras are strong advocates for the pharmacy profession which was an inspiration to their students. Experiential learning in diverse settings like fast-paced retail pharmacies or pediatric hospital units are invaluable learning opportunities for students. To deliver these opportunities, the Waterloo Pharmacy program relies on the support and leadership of co-op supervisors and preceptors like Rodrigues and Ditouras. Congratulations to both award winners!