High demand for increased enrolment, extreme space shortages highlighted by Dean Hensman
(Sept. 18, 2011 St. Johns, NL) The School of Pharmacy, Memorial University, released its 2010-2011 annual report last night during the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labradors (PANL) annual conference being held at the Sheraton Hotel in St. Johns.
In addition to its annual overview of school, student and faculty achievements, the report highlights the current challenge faced by the school to meet the high demand for increased enrolment coupled with an extreme space shortage.
Dr. Linda Hensman, dean of the School of Pharmacy, addressed the provinces pharmacy community who gathered at PANLs gala conference dinner on Saturday night.
In her remarks, Dr. Hensman noted that inadequate classroom, laboratory, office and gathering spaces restrain our capacity to enhance a teaching and learning environment that will meet the future pharmacy needs of the province.
Don Rowe, the secretary-registrar of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board (NLPB) agreed.
The future is always difficult to predict, particularly when it comes to an issue such as human resources requirements for the health professions, and even more so at this point in time when significant changes are occurring in the scope of practice of pharmacists, said Mr. Rowe.
However, according to current registrations with the NLPB, 32 per cent thats 215 of the pharmacists in this province are at or near retirement age. With the current rates of enrolment at the School of Pharmacy, it worries me that it would take almost a decade to fill those vacancies, let alone allow for growth in the profession.
The demands on the provincial pharmacy community are growing, said Mary Ann Butt, PANLs executive director.
Everyone knows that the demographics are shifting towards an aging population, added PANL president Rick Elliott. With this shift will come an increased demand for pharmacy services in our province and our membership will be on the frontlines.
Dr. Hensman says that the prescription for this problem is one that no pharmacy can fill.
We are preparing for expansion right now as best we can, said Dr. Hensman, through the hiring of new faculty and staff, and by establishing a temporary off-site office location for our clinical faculty.
We recognize that there is a shortage of space for academic units across the St. Johns campus and are pleased that the ongoing space planning effort at the university includes additional space for the school. I am confident that we can achieve the twin goals of expansion of the school and sufficient permanent space in which to house it.