In June, the first 27 graduates of the Waterloo Bridging Program received their PharmD degrees at convocation.
This was not their first Waterloo graduation – each student in the Bridging Program already has a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPhm) from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Born out of changes in the pharmacy profession at both the provincial and national level, the Waterloo PharmD Bridging Program is a unique educational opportunity available only to graduates of Waterloo’s BScPhm program.
When the School of Pharmacy first opened its doors in 2008, students were admitted to the BScPhm program. All Waterloo Pharmacy students who completed their education in 2011-2014 graduated with this degree. However, in Ontario, as in several other provinces, expanding scopes of practice and requirements for pharmacists to have more extensive clinical education have resulted in the change to the entry-to-practice degree to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). By 2020, all pharmacy schools in Canada will be offering a PharmD program.
The School of Pharmacy revised and added to the curriculum to offer a PharmD degree, which was approved for undergraduates in January of 2013. The class of 2015 was the first to graduate from this new program. The School wanted all our graduates to have the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, and so the PharmD Bridging Program was designed to meet the needs of our BScPhm alumni.
The Bridging Program focuses on the development of advanced clinical expertise and is comprised of 5 courses, available to Waterloo BScPhm grads anywhere in North America, regardless of their geographic location or place of employment. Its flexible and innovative design combines distance education, video-conferencing, and in-person workshops to educate and assess participants.
Because some of the students enrolled have been practising pharmacists for up to five years, the program also includes a recognition of prior learning process where students can demonstrate their existing knowledge and skills and earn credit towards some of their clinical rotation requirements. The Bridging Program launched in January 2015 with 64 alumni enrolled. By September 2016, a total of 193 alumni will have been admitted.
June 16 marked the first convocation from the Bridging Program - an impressive accomplishment given that these 27 graduates hail from all over the country and are working professionals.
Congratulations graduates on your second convocation from Waterloo Pharmacy!