Second National Pharmacist-led Smoking Cessation Symposium delivered by Prof. Nardine Nakhla

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Smoking cessation attendees smilingLast weekend the School of Pharmacy welcomed subject matter experts and key stakeholders in smoking cessation for the 2nd National Pharmacist-led Smoking Cessation Symposium. Attendees included pharmacists with expertise in smoking cessation from each Canadian province and territory (except Québec) and representatives from industry, government, and other organizations including the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Ottawa Heart Institute, Canadian Network for Respiratory Care, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. This was the second such meeting organized by Prof. Nardine Nakhla of Waterloo Pharmacy.

The first meeting was held in Ottawa in June 2018 where Prof. Nakhla conducted an environmental scan of existing pharmacist-led smoking cessation practices across Canada. Participants arrived at an ideal model for such services and identified strategies for supporting Canadian pharmacists in providing efficient and quality care to patients interested in quitting smoking. The outcomes of this meeting were described in a white paper released by Nakhla and her team earlier this year.

Nardine Nakhla“Our goal with the white paper was to detail the scope of practice of pharmacists in each jurisdiction and propose a unified framework for pharmacist-facilitated smoking cessation in Canada,” says Nakhla (right). “Right now, pharmacist-led smoking cessation services differ in extent, patient eligibility, and the way in which they are reimbursed. Our group is working to harmonize these services to ensure that patients have access to consistent, high-quality, evidence-based care, irrespective of their province or territory of residence.”

With this goal in mind, a primary objective of the second symposium was to reach consensus on the essential components of standardized tools for use by pharmacists across Canada when providing smoking cessation services.  Participants also discussed establishing a national coalition group with representation from other health professions and sectors.

The event closed with a close look at pharmacy student education in smoking cessation.

“Participants laid the foundation for a standardized smoking cessation curriculum for entry-to-practice (PharmD) programs, providing consistency in pharmacist education.” Nakhla says. “Ultimately, we hope this initiative will provide a framework for harmonizing the pharmacist-led management of other ailments, ensuring consistent, high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centred care for all Canadians leading to improved health outcomes.”

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