Balloons spelling out Waterloo
Friday, March 10, 2023

The future of pharmacy

Waterloo School of Pharmacy updates curriculum

With the health-care system rapidly changing across Canada, in 2020 Waterloo School of Pharmacy examined its PharmD curriculum to identify ways to offer students a more cohesive experience for a dynamic practice environment. The new changes were implemented earlier this year to prepare students for the changes in the profession with the rest rolling out in the coming years.

“The Waterloo School of Pharmacy PharmD program was implemented back in 2017. After a few years of cohorts completing the program, it was time to take a deep dive to investigate what was working and what wasn’t,” Cynthia Richard, clinical lecturer and associate director of curriculum at the School says. “We wanted a refreshed version of the program and to implement a continued robust program.”

Balloons spelling out Waterloo

The scope of practice has changed in Ontario and desired educational outcomes and accreditation standards continue to evolve. As such pharmacy programs must regularly review and update curricula.

The School implemented new courses to foster leadership skills and prepare our students for pharmacy management. Additionally, while the number of electives required remains the same, the number of hours and credit weights are reduced to create a more balanced, flexible student experience. 

A culturally safe patient care course is being created to prepare graduates to provide safe, empathetic care to all patients.  Content is being developed in partnership with the Indigenous Knowledges and Anti-Racist Pedagogies team. 

Lastly, the fourth-year structure is being revised. Alumni and Regional Coordinator feedback pointed to a need for more flexibility in our approach to the final eight months of the program. The revised curriculum will introduce “flex” weeks and distinct periods for academic learning and sharing with peers.

“Flex weeks allow periods for making up for lost days during rotations, remediation, if needed, or a short break from studies. The final months of our program can be very intense. Our hope is that student mental health will improve with the addition of flex weeks,” Elaine Lillie says, adjunct assistant professor at the School. 

These new curriculum changes will not only foster stronger pharmacists but build them as strong leaders.

Cynthia Richard, clinical lecturer and associate director of curriculum at the School 

To learn more about the PharmD program visit our website.

March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month. This month, in our #PAM2023 series, the School of Pharmacy is celebrating the achievements of pharmacists and the future to come.