Valuable Insights for a Future Pharmacy Career: Reflections from a College Co-op Student

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Valentina Pham is a third-year Doctor of Pharmacy student at the University of Waterloo who joined the College as a co-op student in Fall 2023.

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

Impactful and insightful. During a transformative time for Ontario’s pharmacy profession and for the College itself, I gained a deep understanding of the multifaceted operations of the College aimed at protecting the public.  

Throughout my time at the College, I was met with kindness and openness from my colleagues who were always willing to share their knowledge, enhancing my learning experience. 

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

My role primarily involved working within the Community Practice and Pharmacy Operations team, with a focus on the AIMS Program. I was involved in the creation of Pharmacy Connection articles that covered various topics of medication safety such as recognizing the value of good catches (near misses).  

A significant part of my role involved conducting literature searches and cross-jurisdictional scans of medication incident reporting programs used by other pharmacy regulatory authorities to support a holistic evaluation of the AIMS Program.  

The most interesting projects include the development of the interactive learning modules for the AIMS Program, as it allowed me to blend creative skills while contributing to an essential educational resource that would enhance medication safety. 

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

My experience with the College this fall has provided me with valuable insights that will be instrumental in my future pharmacy career. Witnessing the rapid changes in pharmacy practice has underscored the importance of adaptability as a pharmacy professional.  

Additionally, working at the College highlighted the critical role of a robust safety culture in healthcare. In the context of medication safety, a safety culture that encourages reporting incidents and good catches is essential for continuous quality improvement and shared learning. This principle extends beyond just medication safety; it is vital for all facets of interprofessional healthcare collaboration. In the absence of such a culture, mistakes are hidden, consequently hindering the collaborative process and ultimately, patient care.  

I plan to actively contribute to and foster a safety culture within any healthcare setting I become a part of, thereby enhancing healthcare teams and patient-centered care. 

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