“I was in the right place at the right time,” Carole Beveridge muses when thinking back on her professional career.
By Tom Smiley BScPhm., PharmD
However, a glance at her impressive résumé provides a glimpse of a woman who has always been a trailblazer when it comes to professional services provision. And that didn’t happen by chance!
Since her graduation from the University of Toronto pharmacy program in 1979, Carole has been ahead of her time, engaging in primary care team practices and earning certifications in asthma education (CAE), diabetes education (CDE), specialty compounding (PCCA), homeopathy (various diplomas), nutrition (Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner), and Women’s Health (NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner). Carole continues to engage in lifelong learning as she pursues virtually a Masters in Integrated Healthcare from the University of Central Lancashire.
Women’s health is an area of practice near and dear to Carole’s heart. “With four grown daughters and three sisters, I have always been surrounded by women,” she says. “It is both professionally and personally rewarding to be able to offer a more holistic approach to the health issues women face over their lifetime.”
One day a woman came into Brussels Pharmacy, where Carole is pharmacist and general manager, saying she wanted Carole to meet her 18-month-old daughter, explaining that is was Carole’s consultation and advice that helped her and her husband have this child. To Carole, experiences like that are her greatest reward.
In 2003, Carole became one of the first Canadian pharmacists to receive a North America Menopause Society (NAMS) Practitioner designation. Since then, she has practised in her own Women’s Health Centre and started a company called Affinity for Women’s Health. Through all her business alliances, Carole has helped many women at various stages of life.
Those facing the challenges of menopause make up a good percentage of Carole’s clients. Once again, it is the appreciation of her services that motivates Carole to continue to offer her expertise both during and after hours, acknowledging that with such personal, often complex issues, private discussion is important. That certainly speaks to the dedication of a woman who has recently gone back to her community pharmacy roots to be a managing pharmacist in the small Ontario town of Brussels.
Although Carole finds great satisfaction in helping people, she also realizes the need to charge for services to keep the business viable. “The NAMS certification provided the key criteria for feeling justified in charging for women’s health services,” Carole explains. She discusses her services up front with patients, providing documentation outlining exactly what is provided for the fees charged, including helping patients understand the research and additional time involved in making individualized, evidence-based recommendations. (Currently, her fees average $100 per hour.) Where possible, Carole integrates Ontario’s MedsCheck (medication reconciliation/review) program into her consultation. Additional reimbursed services such as Pharmaceutical Opinion are also instituted as appropriate.
Carole Beveridge is definitely a pioneer when it comes to providing professional services. “It was more difficult back when I started providing women’s health consultations, because it was still very specialized. Most of my mentoring came from colleagues in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia where cognitive services were generally more recognized and incorporated into advanced practices.”
With many pharmacists increasingly involved in professional services, Carole sees the potential for our profession. It is only a matter of time before the people of Brussels, Ont., realize how lucky they are to have such a wonderful resource and community-minded individual in their midst!