Coming together at the Banff CSHP conference


I was honoured to attend the CSHP conference in Banff, Alberta on behalf of PTSA. The weekend was action packed with a variety of presenters and entertainment.  I was thrilled to know that there was an increased number of technicians attending the conference. It was fantastic to hear the presentation done by Dana Lyons titled Technicians and Accountable Ownership of Dispensary. Dana encourages technicians to take ownership of their roles. She highlighted the need for pharmacy technicians to look at barriers preventing them working to full scope and have a thorough knowledge of their practice. Critical thinking and problem solving are essential in developing our roles.  We don’t need to have all the answers, but we do need to know where to find them. It will be inspiring to see more technicians present and attend future conferences.

I made it to Banff just in time to attend: From Paper to Pixels – Transitioning to Electronic Medicine Solutions. Thanks to Morgan for saving me a seat! Allan Edwards, Pharmacy Manager from Christchurch, New Zealand gave us some insight into electronic solutions for prescribing, ordering and administration.  These technological advances were implemented in their hospital practice. Some were successful transitions, while others required refinement. Not all technology fit together seamlessly and continues to be a work in progress.

Succession planning was presented by a panel consisting of Jon Cumming, Zack Dumont, Bruce Millin and Lalitha Raman-Wilms. The panel emphasized the importance of succession planning and why it is important to maintain a high level of care. I had an opportunity to speak with Kelly Babcock, the director of pharmacy for the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the mentor for Zack Dumont from the panel.  Kelly indicated that he meets with his staff regularly and discusses both strengths and areas of improvement. He indicated that technicians in his practice work to full scope.

Michael Landsberg was our keynote speaker bright and early Saturday. He spoke about his own struggles with depression and how he has been able to reach out and help others. He was very raw and honest about his experiences with depression but added some humour to lighten the mood.  Michael is a true hero is his quest to break down stigma surrounding mental illness and provide hope.

Psychiatric Effects of Cannabis was a topic of interest for me with the recent legalization. Reza Rafizadeh, clinical pharmacist from the Burnaby Center for Mental Health and Addiction in Vancouver, BC. walked us through types of cannabis plants, and psychiatric effects of cannabidiol vs tetrahydrocannabinol.

Saturday evening entertainment was a hit! The poker tables were in full swing and I learned to play black jack!  Several hours passed in the blink of an eye.  I got to catch up with Diane Reeder, and meet pharmacy team members from many provinces.

I concur with Morgan as the safety presentation by Jennifer Wiebe “Better Everyday: Pharmacist roles in patient safety and culture” was a favorite for me. Jennifer touched on the qualities that effective teams possess.  She highlighted the need to focus on proactive behavior, the need to be humble to build trust and transparency and supporting a just culture in our workplace.  The importance of psychological safety as well as physical safety, ensuring that everyone can ask questions, request feedback and make suggestions.

The final presentation on Sunday “Mitigating the Opioid Crisis”

Sponsored by Fresenius Kabi was a duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dr. Curtis Oleschuk PhD, FCACB, DABFT and Nicole Nakatsu BSc.Pharm, BA.

Their presentation done in Jeopardy game show format showcased some of the challenges health care professionals face combatting the opioid crisis. Some statistics that really stood out were: the duration of therapy for an opioid prescription directly correlates with the increased risk for addiction. Lab results can be compromised by supplements like biotin so it is important to know all supplements patients are taking.

Author: Carla Dumka, RPhT

PTSA Education Director

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