By Alana Rigby
Co-op is what makes Waterloo Pharmacy unique: we’re the only co-operative education pharmacy school in Canada. Offering a co-op program is challenging and requires the support of the pharmacist community all across the country. Without employers to consistently hire students and offer invaluable learning opportunities, our program would not be possible.
This June, the School said thank you to one of these employers. Costco has hired Waterloo Pharmacy co-op students since the School first opened in 2008. They also support students on fourth-year patient care rotations, providing sites where students gain direct experience working with patients.
Costco offers approximately 40 co-op work terms each semester. They hire students from Halifax to Vancouver and everywhere in between and provide students with insightful experiences in fast-paced work environments. Today, many Waterloo Pharmacy alumni work in Costco locations and now are able to provide mentorship to current students as preceptors and co-op employers.
Costco has provided support in challenging times for our program. In fall of 2010, the political climate was tense and pharmacies in Ontario experienced many cut-backs. Most Waterloo Pharmacy co-op employers were unable to hire as many students as planned. During this challenging period, Costco stepped in and hired a significant amount, allowing us to ensure all students had instructive co-op experiences.
A group from the School of Pharmacy which included Hallman Director David Edwards and Director of Experiential Education Nancy Waite visited Costco at their head office in Ottawa this June. They sat down with senior leadership at the company to discuss past successes and future plans for deepened collaboration.