Pharmacy U

Flu season is coming. Will you be ready?


Monique Lavoie from Shoppers Drug Mart in Peace River, Alberta, isn’t your typical pharmacist.


By Mike Boivin, BSc.Phm.

Photography by Pam Bennett



In her community of approximately 7,000 residents, there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, so her philosophy is that “it is important for all healthcare professionals in small communities to maximize their scope, to offer every service they can to their patients.”

Monique is a certified diabetes educator with additional prescribing authority to maximize the care she offers her patients. Although she already provides extensive expanded services to her patients, she constantly looks for new opportunities to improve her knowledge and increase her confidence.

While attending a national pharmacist conference, she had the opportunity to attend an injection refresher course. “Although I felt pretty comfortable with injecting my patients, this was a great opportunity to refresh my skills and confirm my current technique.”

Although Monique commonly injects medications and vaccines in her practice, she was eager to practise her technique and to support her team. “I had several team members taking the course at the same conference. It was great to be there to work with my team, refresh my skills, learn any new techniques, and confirm my current injection process. I was happy to learn that my technique was solid and I was doing everything correctly.”

Injections and immunizations are growing every year in her pharmacy. “By using my expanded scope, I am able to improve access to these vital products to patients in Peace River. My patients can get their injections at times that are convenient for them, and this is making our pharmacy a destination for this service.”


Here are Monique Lavoie’s 5 top tips to hone your injection skills:


  1. Inject regularly. If your scope of practice allows you to inject many vaccines and medications, take every opportunity to do so. Practice truly does make perfect. Many pharmacists will only inject during flu season, then take six to eight months off without giving another injection. This can make them feel ill-prepared to inject again after such a long break.
  2. Practise on each other. Injecting another team member helps ensure you keep your skills current and consistent.
  3. Take every opportunity to increase your confidence and technique. Patients can sense a pharmacist’s lack of confidence. Regular practice and taking advantage of educational opportunities like the injection refresher course can help enhance your confidence.
  4. Use a team approach. Every pharmacist on Monique’s team can inject confidently. “I really want my patients to have access to these services at any time and from any of the pharmacists on my team,” she says.
  5. Focus on your technique. Proper injection technique is crucial, and it can also help with injections at other sites, such as helping patients with type 2 diabetes learn to inject insulin.