Home » Advocacy » Celebrating Canadian Pharmacy » Reforming Canadian Pharmacy Education with an Evolving Scope of Practice
Makboolee Fyith El-Hayek

Makboolee Fyith El-Hayek

Doctor of Pharmacy Student & Vice President, Professional Affairs, CAPSI

In an era of rapid change to healthcare delivery, the profession of pharmacy is undergoing significant growth and students are undertaking more robust clinical training.

The Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI) is an organization dedicated to advancing the profession and facilitating excellence in its national community of pharmacy students. CAPSI embodies the highest standard of conduct as it advocates for the interests of its members and profession to government bodies, pharmacy organizations, and various stakeholders.

Each year, we host Professional Development Week (PDW), one of the largest pharmacy conferences in Canada. CAPSI strives to augment learning through innovative extracurricular opportunities, educational symposia, trade shows and skills competitions both locally and at a national level. Ultimately, our organization is committed to improving the health and well-being of Canadians by curating distinction in pharmacist lead care.

The pharmacy education system in Canada has evolved to meet the current and anticipated changes in pharmacy practice by transitioning to the Doctor of Pharmacy program from a baccalaureate degree. This program places a greater emphasis on patient-centered care and implements more clinical rotations in hospitals, community pharmacies, and primary care clinics. Training also includes more interprofessional experiences, training in management, communication, and greater development of skills relating to chronic and acute disease management through prescribing and monitoring. Students may also apply to a residency program after graduation to refine their competencies in direct patient care and specialized areas like oncology, infectious diseases, pediatrics and many more.

While the training, education and licensing requirements remain consistent across Canada, each province has their own authorized scope of practice. Pharmacists assess the appropriateness and safety of prescriptions based on a number of patient-specific factors. They may decide to renew, extend or even adapt a prescription to improve therapeutic outcomes or to manage distribution and drug shortages.

In order to increase access to primary care services, pharmacists in most provinces have some degree of authority to prescribe medications and order lab tests to monitor patients’ acute and chronic conditions. Community pharmacists may recommend annual medication reviews or take time to develop care plans with patients. This clinical service is used to identify and resolve drug-related problems to achieve treatment goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted pharmacists’ role in providing accessible point-of-care testing, vaccine distribution and administering drugs by injection. CAPSI, as well as other advocatory bodies, are working to advocate for consistent legislation across all provinces to increase pharmacy utilization and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy or want to learn more about CAPSI, reach out to our vice president professional affairs at [email protected] or visit our website at capsi.ca.

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