Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy: Derek Jorgenson – Fostering a new generation of pharmacists

PHU_HomePage_TopStory_LIP5_Jorgenson_455x311px
FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInTumblrPinterestRedditDeliciousShare

As a faculty member, Derek Jorgenson teaches, conducts research and maintains a clinical practice. His research focuses on primary healthcare practice, including optimal roles for pharmacists in this system, interventions to improve medication management and best methods of teaching medication management to students and practising pharmacists.

Education: University of Saskatchewan (Pharmacy), University of Toronto (Doctor of Pharmacy)

Current role: Professor, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Director, Medication Assessment Centre, University of Saskatchewan

 

As a faculty member, Derek Jorgenson teaches, conducts research and maintains a clinical practice. His research focuses on primary healthcare practice, including optimal roles for pharmacists in this system, interventions to improve medication management and best methods of teaching medication management to students and practising pharmacists.

 

What intrigued you about becoming a pharmacist?

I had two pivotal experiences as a teenager. I had acne and got a prescription for antibiotics. The first time the pharmacist filled my script he gave me all kinds of information. I couldn’t believe someone could know so much. In winter, I suffered from allergies and went to the pharmacist for advice. His suggestion worked. That planted the seed.

 

What surprised you most about the profession after graduating?

My first job was as a community pharmacist. I was surprised by how much people appreciated me, even when sometimes my assistance had little to do with my training. I even helped people with their taxes by explaining how medical expenses worked and what could be claimed. It was a great job because people were so appreciative. I was also surprised by how much of my clinical training didn’t get used. Back when I graduated, community pharmacists didn’t have any of the clinical programs that we have available today.

 

What challenges do pharmacists face today that didn’t exist 20 years ago? Is the profession effectively meeting these challenges?

There are two big challenges. First, the range of new services we are being asked to provide today is completely different than it was 20 years ago. This creates a challenge for pharmacies to implement these new services effectively. Secondly, our profession is being challenged to integrate pharmacists into primary care teams, which was not a focus 20 years ago. Evidence shows the value of integrating pharmacists into these teams and the health system is expecting us to deliver. We are slowly meeting these new challenges, particularly with respect to new services in community pharmacies. Unfortunately, much less progress has been made with integrating pharmacists into primary care teams.

 

Are pharmacy schools breaking new ground in Canada with respect to helping students add value to the health system?

Definitely. For example, at the University of Saskatchewan we have completely redesigned our curriculum and are rebuilding from the ground up so our graduates can add the greatest possible value to the healthcare system. We’re rising to the challenge because the profession has changed so dramatically so quickly. Tweaking the existing curriculum only takes you so far. We are starting anew.

 

How does your faculty help the next generation of pharmacists add greater value? We are now immersing students in experiential learning earlier, more frequently, and in a greater variety of settings. The Medication Assessment Centre, for example, is a patient care clinic that is physically located within our pharmacy school. Students are assigned to work in the clinic starting in their first year. We believe this will help them to contribute more, and get up to speed more quickly when they are out in practice. It builds greater confidence.

 

 

 

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.