School of Pharmacy rolls out new Doctor of Pharmacy degree

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Incoming PharmD students at the White Coat CeremonyAs the newest school of pharmacy in Canada, the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy’s curriculum continues to be one of the most innovative in North America.

As of January 2014, the “entry-to-practice” degree changed to a four year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree.

The program will provide students with more advanced clinical training in order to prepare them for their expanded role in direct patient care. The program will also emphasize interprofessional education and collaboration with physicians, nurses and other health professionals.

The School of Pharmacy welcomed its first class of PharmD students at the White Coat ceremony on Thursday, January 9th.

“We believe that the PharmD program at University of Waterloo will be second to none and will provide students with the foundation that they need to become medication therapy experts,” said Prof. David Edwards, Hallman Director, School of Pharmacy and Associate Dean, Faculty of Science.

One innovative feature of the program is the Community of Practice clinical rotations, where students spend 24 weeks training in one community. Rotations take place in hospitals, long term care facilities, community pharmacies, and other health care settings. Professional pharmacists, physicians and nurses provide supervision, mentorship and feedback.

By remaining in one community throughout the clinical rotation, PharmD students will become familiar with the region’s healthcare system, connect with other professionals and refine their clinical skills.

The 24 weeks of clinical rotations are in addition to the 48 weeks of diverse co-op experience students acquire during their first three years of the program. Waterloo Pharmacy is the only co-op pharmacy program in Canada and one of two in North America.

Students will graduate with more than 70 weeks of hands-on training in the pharmacy environment.

 “Unlike other graduates, Waterloo Pharmacy students enter their clinical rotations with three years of co-op experience working in the pharmaceutical environment. This gives them the confidence and real-world problem solving skills to be an active member of the healthcare team from day one”, said Prof. Nancy Waite, Associate Director of Practice-Based Education and Professional Outreach and the Ontario College of Pharmacists Professor in Pharmacy Innovation.

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