Astronaut? Actor? Fire fighter? No thanks

Jul 5th, 2016

Heidi Wicks

Photo by Chris Hammond
Astronaut? Actor? Fire fighter? No thanks

Here in the School of Pharmacy, we want to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni. So we’re presenting a series of alumni snapshots to celebrate not only the capabilities of our graduates, who are medication therapy experts, critical thinkers, inter-professional collaborators, effective communicators, problem solvers, leaders and innovators, but we’re also celebrating the breadth and depth of career choices a degree in pharmacy can bring. From community or hospital pharmacists, to a career in research and academia, government, pharmaceutical industry and beyond, our graduates are making waves throughout the profession and in the healthcare industry.

In Stephen Coombs’ mind, a pharmacist is a superhero.

“I visited the hospital quite often due to childhood asthma,” he said. “I remember leaving a specialist appointment with a prescription for new inhalers, and the pharmacist sat down with my parents and I to review appropriate inhaler technique, as well as provided us with general information about how to manage the disease. I think this was the first interaction that really sparked my interest in the profession.”

For Stephen, the profession meant being an accessible healthcare professional that could help patients cope with their ailments.

He was hugely inspired by the way Dr. Debbie Kelly interacted with patients and colleagues during his time at Memorial.

“She ensures that her students are receiving the best education and experiences possible. She has been such an inspiration to me and I can only hope to be as successful and innovative in my career as she has been in hers. With endeavours such as the  Medication Therapy Services Clinic in the School of Pharmacy and her role as the Clinical Pharmacotherapy Specialist for the provincial HIV program, she has accomplished so much. Her guidance really helped shape the pharmacist I am today.”

His passion is fuelled by the endless opportunities for professional growth within pharmacy practice.

“In my current role with Lawton’s Nursing Home Services, we provide dispensing and clinical services to several of Eastern Health’s long-term care facilities. I’ve been able to work closely with other healthcare professionals to improve care for our patients with dementia, which has become a huge interest of mine. Witnessing the effects of Alzheimer’s on a loved one is very difficult for families to endure. Providing comfort to family members through education and creation of care plans to improve patient symptoms has been nothing short of rewarding. I’ve been able to participate in research opportunities in this job, enabling me to explore yet another dimension of pharmacy.”

Superhero stature? Already achieved.

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