The colder months of winter are in the rear view mirror, bringing early signs of warmer weather in March—yay! What you may not be aware of is that March is also Pharmacist Awareness Month and I want to tell you how you can integrate this knowledge into your wellness initiatives. Before joining the ASEBP family, I focused my pharmacy practice on assisting patients with their health. Did you know that Alberta pharmacists have one of the largest scopes of practice in the country? The leaders in our province recognize the impact that pharmacists can have on the health of Albertans in helping them achieve their health goals and working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to improve inefficiencies in our healthcare system.
The Not-So-Secret Additions
Here are just a few ways pharmacists can support health:
- They can provide counsel on smoking cessation, which greatly improves success rates and the prevention of relapse.
- They can administer immunizations. As part of Alberta’s 10-year strategy to improve immunization rates, these services are available at most pharmacies. This means there are more touchpoints to educate Albertans too. Alberta’s immunization rates have improved steadily since implementing this scope of practice.
- They conduct medication reviews. Pharmacists can work with Albertans to better understand their medication, develop patient-centred health care plans and follow up to ensure adherence through understanding to achieve health outcomes. They also provide great collaboration opportunities with other health care professionals involved in your health.
Something you wellness champions may not be aware of are the opportunities to connect with your local pharmacist to support your wellness programs in the workplace. Pharmacists are repeatedly reported as one of the most trusted health professionals and our accessibility is a unique characteristic of our profession—no appointment required, just your patience.
In my community practice, I was approached to conduct many community-based education sessions and I valued these opportunities to step out of the dispensary and serve the community I worked in. I personally have had a great time helping young students with proper hand washing clinics at their elementary school and discussing healthy eating choices in grocery stores. The sessions are a great chance to promote health and I saw them as awesome networking opportunities. Connect with your local pharmacist to inquire about setting up something similar for your workplace.
A Few More Ideas
A pharmacists’ knowledge is credible and varied and we are able to speak to many different types of health promotion topics like diabetes, cardiovascular health and mental health. What health topics are important to you and your team? Approach your local pharmacist for education and/or resource support and discover how you can amplify your wellness initiatives.