Although the pharmacy profession has a rich and prestigious history, a senior health professional is encouraging members of that body to keep up-to-date academically in line with the changes in their profession.
This advice has come from Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anton Best, who delivered remarks on behalf of Minister of Health, John Boyce, at the official ceremony to launch Pharmacy Week at Savannah Hotel recently.
Emphasising that pharmacy was a dynamic field, Dr. Best said the need for pharmacists to continuously update their knowledge cannot be over emphasised.
“The pharmacist has therefore progressed from someone out of school pre-1974 joining a drug store to do an apprenticeship, to someone with advanced secondary school qualifications, entering the Barbados Community College. And, more recently, there has been further progression from the Associate Degree to a Bachelor’s of Pharmacy degree which started in 2016…,” he added.
The Senior Medical Officer of Health told his audience that in order to continue delivering quality training and to nurture the future workforce, pharmacy preceptors are required to mentor, develop the skills of recent graduates and serve as positive and influential role models.
To achieve this, Dr. Best suggested that an internship be done in collaboration with pharmacies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, polyclinics and the private sector, to allow students to gain experience from a range of clinical settings.
He pointed out that with an ageing population, the healthcare needs of Barbadians were evolving, and this would affect the delivery of health care.
“Seniors have a higher risk of having multiple chronic conditions and therefore need to take more medications and require more healthcare interventions. We therefore seek to deliver more patient-focused care while at the same time, investing in preventative efforts to delay disease progression, so that Barbadians are able to lead more healthy lives. As healthcare professionals, the support and involvement of pharmacists is crucial to these endeavours,” Dr. Best underlined.
He also noted that pharmacists were now expected to be intimately involved in patient care, education, counselling, and medication, and in the hospital setting, they were expected to be a part of the healthcare team and participate in activities such as ward rounds and contributing to decisions in the medical care of patients.
The theme for this year’s week of activities is: Bridging the Gap – Pharmacists, Past, Present and Future – Ensuring Excellence.