Pharmacy hosts inaugural New Grad Panel for Pharmacist Awareness Month

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Mar 22, the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy welcomed back recent alumni for the first ever New Grad Panel, a Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) event. The Panel, organized by PAM Chair Heidi Fernandes and Jr CAPSI Rep Monique Eisa, featured recent graduates representing a diverse cross-section of pharmacy practice. It took a question and answer approach where the new grads talked  pharmacy life with current students.

Dave Edwards introducing the New Grad Panel

The Q&A was led by Rx2013 Nick Malian who’s a community pharmacist at Hausers Pharmacy in Dunnville, Ontario. The panelists were graduates of the 2014 class:

From community practice:                  

  • Allison Tario, pharmacist at Roulston’s Pharmacy in Simcoe

From long term care:

  • Kacie Lunn, pharmacist at Roulston’s Pharmacy in Simcoe

From a family health team (FHT):

  • Jillian Bauer, pharmacist at the Center for Family Medicine in Kitchener

From industry:

  • Danielle Paes, Manager Pharmacy Operations Retail Banner Services at McKesson Canada in Markham

From hospital:

  • Jas Otal, clinical pharmacist at SickKids Hospital in Toronto

Thoughts on practice settings:

Jas on hospital: You’re relied on for an entire speciality – I like the challenge of that. Other healthcare providers will turn to you recognizing that the clinical or drug therapy problem is not clear cut in an acutely ill patient who may be previously healthy or have a complex medical history, and that's really mentally stimulating.

Allison on community: I love that aspect of building relationships with patients and their families. Every day is completely different and every day is a challenge. You meet with a new diagnosed diabetic and then a woman who says she got bit by ten scorpions - and you always have to be ready to deal with that!

Jillian on FHT: A family health team gives you the opportunity to directly work with other professionals and learn from them. It encourages me to see things from different perspectives and that is so valuable.

View photos from the New Grad Panel here.

Six panelists smiling

Left to right: Nick Malian, Jas Otal, Danielle Paes, Kacie Lunn, Allison Tario, Jillian Bauer

Tips for current students:

Kacie’s day-to-day role involves working in long term care and nursing and retirement homes, and she advised students to try out a similar placement if they had a chance.

It's so rewarding to directly see how my recommendations are making a difference in their quality of life.”

Danielle also shared suggestions about co-op. Her own co-op terms were diverse in practice setting and location, taking her from up the street at Grand River Hospital all the way to British Columbia.

Explore co-op terms in different settings at it will help you discover where your passion lies. And be open minded about opportunities – I’m in a role I never imagined myself to be in, and I’m loving it.”

When he wasn’t busy making the audience laugh, M.C. Nick emphasized how important it is to build connections and attend events like conferences and interprofessional workshops.

The most important thing this program provides for you is networking. This is your career. This is the rest of your life, so take advantage of those opportunities”.

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