During my studies and internships at school I was exposed to many of the aspects and applications of the profession such as compounding, hospitals, family health teams and community pharmacy.
By Julian Ellis BSc. Pharm
I really enjoyed all of them, but I had a real dilemma when it came to deciding where I wanted to go after school because I loved them all so much. But it seemed to me that compounding combined all the elements that I was looking for in my profession and career.
I was really fortunate to intern with Richard Stein at the Canadian Compounding Pharmacy (CCP), an independent community pharmacy with a speciality in compounding. I like to think of myself as an idea guy who thinks out of the box, and I think an independent like CCP allows me to do that.
In the few months I’ve been there I’ve seen a lot of rare and complex cases and have dealt with doctors, patients and a whole range of other sectors of the healthcare profession. It’s one of the things I really love about compounding and being in a community environment. Doctors call me very regularly to discuss matters, and the patients really seem to enjoy and appreciate what we can do for them. It’s very satisfying in that regard.
I’ve also been able to institute some ideas, like having regular weekly staff meetings so everyone knows what we’re doing with MedsChecks and other programs. One of my areas of interest is pain management, and I’ve been able to develop great relationships with local family physicians and other healthcare providers in the area and consult with them regularly to find solutions for our patients.
I feel that my formal schooling and the four, four-month co-op placements that were part of the curriculum really prepared me well for the clinical side of the profession. But I have to admit that the business side has been a bit of an eye opener. It’s amazing how many other things you have to worry about and do, like inventory, merchandising and scheduling to run a successful pharmacy. It’s pretty difficult to teach that in school. It’s something you really have to learn as you go. You really have to be able to multi-task to take care of all the business details while doing the clinical side as well.
Another thing I really like about working in an independent pharmacy is the traditional, family atmosphere. You can really get to know your patients – not only their medical needs but also what’s happening with them and their families on a personal level. It creates more personal relationships and a better level of communication. It’s very satisfying.
I really feel this is a great time for new pharmacists like me who are just getting into the industry. With pharmacy undergoing so many changes, it’s a time that requires innovative, outside-the-box thinking to find new ways to do things and form relationships with patients and other healthcare professionals. It’s a time when innovation can really thrive. Although there’s a lot to learn, new graduates have the knowledge and enthusiasm to take on the challenges full force and transform the profession like never before. One day I hope to be able to own a pharmacy myself because I’m really positive about the industry and where it’s headed in the future.
Julian Ellis BSc. Pharm is the full-time pharmacist at the Canadian Compounding Pharmacy in Etobicoke, ON, and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo pharmacy program.