In a short time, he’s worn a lot of hats: student, researcher, author, volunteer, valedictorian and now pharmacist. If you ask Robbie McCarthy what title suits him best, he doesn’t hesitate in his response.
“I’m ready to get out and work for a while,” he said. “It’s been a great four years but very challenging. I’m ready to officially put my education to the test.”
Graduating with a bachelor of science in pharmacy, Robbie will get to do just that. The national certification exams and completion of his final internship are the only remaining hurdles before he begins practicing as a licensed pharmacist later this summer at the Peninsula Pharmachoice in St. Bernard’s, NL.
"To go back home was always the plan when I initially got accepted to pharmacy, but over the course of the program I’ve also developed an interest in hospital and clinical work. I’m not sure where I’ll ultimately end up, but right now I’m excited about making a positive contribution in my hometown. There are things that I can do to expand the scope of practice on behalf of the pharmacy and in the community.”
It’s a move that follows a stellar university career. A perfect 4.0 grade point average in the classroom has been complemented by volunteer work with committees and events at the local and national level. A winner of multiple scholarships and awards, recent accolades include the Canadian Pharmacist's Association Centennial Award and the James J. O'Mara Award, the latter from the School of Pharmacy for the top performer in the final year pharmacy skills course.
During community and hospital pharmacy placements Robbie has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for his patients and the profession. He has actively promoted and conducted medication reviews, facilitated the creation of a diabetes clinic and in one community placement, formalized a team approach among physicians and pharmacists. In 2012, his advocacy work led to a letter published in the Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy. Based on work he completed as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. John Hawboldt, Robbie argued that evidence based decisions should determine medication access for cystic fibrosis patients.
A global thinker with a local focus. It’s been a formula for success during Robbie’s university career and a mindset that has provided him with lots of options.
“I’m not entirely sure how things will go from here,” he said. “I’ll definitely practice for a while and eventually I’ll do a PharmD. Over the last few years I’ve discovered a passion for teaching, so I would love an opportunity to teach here at Memorial – but community work and clinical practice appeal to me too. I’m graduating but it’s definitely not an ending. I feel like I’m just getting started.”