March is Pharmacy Awareness Month and the School of Pharmacy is encouraging others to think about the many roles pharmacists play, including the role of researcher.
Ai-Leng Foong did not picture herself conducting research and writing papers for peer-reviewed journals when she started pharmacy school. But co-op work terms honed her skills and ignited a passion for research. As of fourth year, she’s won multiple research awards and published articles.
Working with pharmacy faculty, she’s analyzed aspects of pharmacy practice such as the evolving scope of services and pharmacist attitudes and fears towards these services. One project was called “Will I lose my license for that? A closer look at disciplinary hearings and what it means for pharmacists’ expanded scope.” It involved analyzing disciplinary action cases investigated by pharmacy colleges and the types of punishments these charges earned. Though the cases and punishments varied, the team found very few discipline cases involving clinical errors around expanded scope services like immunization.
“When pharmacist scope expands and pharmacists are able to offer new services to patients, it’s important that they feel comfortable doing so. Findings like these can motivate pharmacist uptake of these services,” explains Foong.
After graduation, Foong plans to practice as a pharmacist and continue her work as a researcher.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with excellent mentors who are not only willing to teach, but who are examples of what a pharmacist with a passion for research can achieve,” she says. “We have important expertise that can inform research and generate findings that benefit the health of Canadians.”
The Think Pharmacists series is issued by the School of Pharmacy for #PAM2018.