Pharmacist Kelly Haggerty has always delivered new and innovative services to the patients in her community of Bright’s Grove, Ont.
By Mike Boivin, BSc.Phm.
Photo by Stephanie Ouelette
So when she recognized a clear need for travel health services, she and her husband Paul leaped at the opportunity to incorporate them into their practice.
“Although travel services are offered from our community health unit, there is always a backlog for these services, and I realized that my patients were at serious risk of becoming ill when travelling,” she explained. “I started to offer some travel services to my patients, and they really responded to the information and services I provided. All the travel vaccines and medications were coming through the pharmacy, and I was counselling patients on these products. Now, however, I am also making recommendations to ensure all my patients are protected when travelling.”
Kelly took her travel health practice to the next level by challenging the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) body of knowledge exam in Quebec City.
“I feel that taking the exam proves that I have the advanced level of knowledge necessary to differentiate the travel health services I provide from those of other healthcare professionals in the community.”
Kelly is an active proponent of patient-centred care for all of her travellers. “Any person can go to a website and print out a list of recommended vaccines and medications for a destination. With my knowledge and certification, I will be able to provide the customized travel recommendations my patients require when travelling outside of Canada.”
In order to prepare for the exam, Kelly took a number of steps to ensure her success. “I studied from a variety of references and sources. I took a course from ISTM, I plan to study the CDC Yellow Book. Each of these sources covers the same information, but each author provides a slightly different perspective. I find this to be very helpful, and it dramatically increases my ability to understand and remember the key travel health information.”
Kelly is already planning the next steps for her travel health practice. “I plan to demonstrate what I can do for all travellers in my region. I want to be the ‘go to’ expert on travel health in my community.”
Through passion and education, pharmacists like Kelly are demonstrating how pharmacists can elevate their practices to the next level.