A Summer Student’s Experience at OCP: “I now have a more holistic understanding of the profession”

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Angela Guo, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate (2025), University of Toronto, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

How would you describe your experience at the College this summer?

Prior to working at the College, I had only directly interacted with its staff during my registration process as a pharmacy student. Throughout the summer I had the opportunity to work closely with the pharmacy practice and conduct departments where I gained a deeper understanding of the regulations and standards that govern the field of pharmacy as well as the College’s medication safety initiatives. I am grateful to have worked with an organization that strives to improve patient outcomes and guide the members of my profession. I also leave this experience with meaningful connections with my mentors who have been supportive, and who continuously fostered a positive and rewarding work environment.

What kind of projects did you complete for the College? What was the most interesting project you worked on?

I was given a variety of tasks, from conducting research for jurisdictional scans and sharing recommendations based on Coroner’s investigations, to performing quantitative analyses for assessing trends in decisions of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. An interesting project I worked on was a jurisdictional scan outlining the differences in access to naloxone across the globe, including Canada, the USA and Australia. It was fascinating to observe how its sale and distribution varied. It was also interesting to see the extent to which expanding access to naloxone could improve outcomes for at-risk individuals, especially in areas affected by the opioid crisis. Additionally, I was tasked with providing feedback during the development of the minor ailments module. As many individuals have questions about the expanding scope of practice for pharmacists in Ontario, it was fulfilling to contribute to a resource many pharmacists and pharmacy students—including my peers—will refer to.

What was the most important thing you learned while working at the College?

My experiences at the College highlighted the importance of both inter- and intra-professional collaboration in improving patient outcomes. I was able to attend a Health Profession Regulators of Ontario (HPRO) practice advisor meeting where I saw representatives from different regulated health professions discuss relevant updates and provide their perspectives on questions that were raised. I realized the importance of discussion between individuals with different backgrounds, knowledge sets and expertise to ultimately improve the cohesion of healthcare services.

Moreover, I was able to experience intra-professional collaboration first-hand when I contacted other Colleges across the province to inquire about their policies. I was able to compile my findings quickly and share my results, further highlighting the importance of effective communication between pharmacy professionals.

How do you think your experience this summer will help you with your future career in pharmacy?

Going into my second year of pharmacy school, most of my experiences so far have been in a community pharmacy setting interacting directly with patients. Working at the College has given me exposure to an area of the field that requires not only pharmacological and clinical knowledge, but also continuous quality improvement and regulatory knowledge. It has also showed me the different ways a pharmacist can contribute to patient well-being in non-clinical settings. I now have a more holistic understanding of the profession, which will guide me during future clinical rotations. Overall, I am extremely grateful for this experience and I look forward to seeing where my future career brings me.

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