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Vol 40  No 7
December 13, 2007




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Historic day for Pharmacy
by Sharon Gray

Ross Wiseman (centre), minister of health and community services, cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Professional Practice Laboratory Nov. 29 with (from left): Lisa Bishop, assistant professor of pharmacy; Dr. Doreen Neville, associate vice-president (academic); Dr. Linda Hensman, director of the School of Pharmacy; and Laura Chaytor, fifth-year pharmacy student. (Photo by HSIMS)

The School of Pharmacy’s Professional Practice Laboratory held its official opening Nov. 29, marking a new era for skills development in pharmacy education.

The revitalization of the Professional Practice Laboratory has been an important goal for Dr. Linda Hensman, director of the School of Pharmacy.

“It is a testament to the collaborative spirit of our faculty and staff that this facility was able to come to fruition,” she said at the opening. “Construction began in the spring of 2007 and by September of 2007 the lab was nearing completion. In the last days before the fall semester began, staff, faculty, and a few keen students could be seen helping to assemble shelves or unload supplies. It was wonderful to see everyone working together for this facility, which will benefit students for years to come.”

The space for the Professional Practice Laboratory originally housed the James J. O’Mara Dispensing Lab, the Merck Novartis Pharmaceutics Laboratory and the Glaxo Learning Resource Centre.

“We would like to acknowledge the generous support of Novartis, Merck and Glaxo who provided funding for the initial construction in 1991,” said Dr. Hensman. “The pharmacy community was a fundamental driver and contributor to the successful construction of the original Professional Practice Lab, dedicated to the memory of James J.O’Mara. Without their generous support this original facility would not have been built.”

In the new laboratory, the Glaxo Learning Resource Centre has been transformed into counselling rooms and the Novartis Merck Pharmaceutics lab has been redeveloped. The new teaching space has been re-dedicated as the James J. O’Mara Professional Practice Lab.

Ross Wiseman, minister of health and community services, attended the opening and urged pharmacy students to stay and work in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I am impressed with this new laboratory, which provides a setting similar to that of a community pharmacy as well the very latest technology to prepare pharmacy students for today’s practice environment. he said “This new facility will permit the faculty to incorporate a series of skills labs which help students develop the necessary understanding, and practice the techniques of sterile product preparation.”

The total cost for the design and renovation of the space was more than $500,000. “Although these costs were high, anyone who enters this new facility will be quick to agree that it was a worthwhile investment in the pharmacy profession,” said Dr. Hensman. “The school hopes to offset the costs of the professional practice lab by garnering support from alumni and friends. The ability to name a station will also be part of this new fundraising initiative.”

Dr. Hensman said the faculty is particularly excited about the audio visual recording and digital capture capabilities in the Professional Practice Laboratory. “We have audio and video equipment strategically located in the lab which permits students to digitally record interactions between ‘patients’ and other health care practitioners with whom they may be required to interact. Such technology enhances our students’ opportunities for self-assessment and improvement and aids in the evaluation of student performance for examination purposes.”


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