As the Registrar of the Ontario College of Pharmacists for the past four years, Marshall Moleschi helps ensure pharmacists and pharmacy technicians at all levels of the profession meet minimum regulatory standards and, thereby, enhance health outcomes for patients across the province. Promoting patient-centred, collaborative healthcare that relies on the skills and knowledge of all healthcare professionals – including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians – is a key part of the job. “We work in partnership within our profession and with other healthcare professionals,” says Marshall. “That is essential in providing the best possible care.”
Education: University of British Columbia (Pharmacy)
Current role: Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Ontario College of Pharmacists, Toronto
What is it that makes you want to get up each morning and head to work?
Regulation has evolved. It has taken on a greater role as the profession has diversified, and there are increased expectations that we will meet – if not exceed – these standards. I am excited about creating an environment in which pharmacy professionals and others can make a real difference in the lives of patients. After all, that’s why we became healthcare professionals.
If you could enhance one area within the profession, what would it be?
I would like to see pharmacists and pharmacy technicians become more confident in their own knowledge, skills and abilities. We should look at what a patient needs and make effective decisions. This has proven to be a barrier for the profession. We haven’t exercised our decision-making as much as we should, but making decisions enhances confidence, and our expanded scope of practice today demands this. Equally important is learning to work hand in hand with other healthcare professionals. This will help us better serve patients and reaffirm the value of pharmacy professionals in our healthcare system.
Why are partnerships so important in the current climate?
There has never been a time in our history when a coordinated, efficient healthcare system is so necessary. Partnerships are critical to that. It is about coordinating care. Strong relationships, the cornerstone of partnerships, must include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. There was a time pharmacists did not really talk with patients. Instead, the focus was on accuracy of prescriptions. Now we work directly with patients to ensure optimal outcomes. You can’t do that in isolation. We need to join forces.
What can pharmacists do to forge stronger partnerships in this changing environment?
The biggest step we can take – and the greatest opportunity we have – is getting to know other healthcare professionals. Eighty per cent of prescriptions come from fewer than a dozen physicians, but how many pharmacists have actually gone out and introduced themselves to those doctors? It makes a huge difference. When I was 22 and a new pharmacist, I moved to a small town and this is what I did. Physicians refer to specialists they know and trust, and we must build trust to have an effective partnership. We need to put a human face on the relationship and make patient care the focus of that relationship. Many pharmacists are adept at this, but on the whole as a profession, we are still learning how to do this.
What advice would you give to young pharmacists looking to make a difference in the lives of their patients?
As a pharmacist, you need to remember why you got involved in healthcare and live that commitment. Identify how you can make a difference. This could be by enhancing the scope of practice or advocating for patients. This isn’t a solo endeavour. It has to be done in partnership. And pressure is growing to create partnerships. One in four Canadians will soon be over 65, and the vast number of prescriptions today are for chronic conditions. The baby boomer wave is already hitting. Our patients want and expect more. Partnerships will enable us to meet these expectations – and more.
Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada.