A Deeper Appreciation for the “Behind the Scenes” Side of Pharmacy Practice: A Summer Student’s Experience at OCP

Student Catherine Hatab
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Catherine Hatab is a third year Doctor of Pharmacy student at the University of Waterloo. She joined the College for a four-month co-op term over the summer.

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

My experience working at the College this summer was educationally enriching. During my time at the College, I learned how all the various departments work in collaboration and play an interconnected and crucial role in optimizing public safety.

I worked with the community practice team where I gained a deeper understanding of the profession’s regulations and the importance of the AIMS Program in enabling continuous learning and safety improvements in pharmacy practice.

I was always welcomed and continuously treated with kindness, and although I only spent four months working with the College, I have built many meaningful connections that I will continue to foster.

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

Most of my projects at the College were research-based, such as comparing controlled substances signing authority between jurisdictions. Another project entailed researching oncology medications as a result of the increased prevalence of oral anticancer therapies, which in turn has a huge impact on the pharmacist’s role.

An interesting project I worked on was helping create “The Responsibilities of a Designated Manager for the AIMS Program” interactive module that highlights the significance of the AIMS Program. The AIMS Program is designed to help pharmacists learn from medication incidents and good catches (near misses) reported anonymously and thus prevent future events from occurring. Additionally, the focus is on promoting a safety culture that emphasizes shared accountability and identifying opportunities for growth, rather than a blame culture.

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

Most pharmacists throughout their schooling acquire experience centered around traditional patient care, such as working in a hospital or a community pharmacy. I was lucky enough to get involved with the regulatory side of the pharmacy profession and I believe that has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of what I like to call the “behind the scenes” side of the practice. In my future career in pharmacy, that sense of gratefulness will lead me to being more cognizant of any new regulations or updates to the scope of practice.

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