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2011 Future of Pharmacy: Arden Barry

Arden BarryArden Barry
Clinical Post-Doctoral Fellow in Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapeutics, University of Alberta

In a short time, Arden Barry has covered a lot of ground: literally and figuratively. After completing a biochemistry
degree in Vancouver, Arden began work as a pharmacy technician at an inner city pharmacy in Victoria. Then, his interest in the technical side of pharmacy operations took him to northern BC as an IT and workflow consultant. His BScPharm, residency, and PharmD brought him back to Vancouver. Now, he’s working in Edmonton as a Clinical Post-Doctoral Fellow in cardiovascular pharmacotherapeutics.

It’s not just only his geographic scope that is wide either – his view of his future is just as expansive. “I want to be a clinical pharmacy practitioner, a speaker at pharmacy-related educational events, a preceptor for pharmacy students and residents, conduct research and contribute to the pharmacy literature, advocate for the expanded professional role of pharmacists and, above all, enjoy what I do every day.”

While those may sound like lofty goals so early in a career, Arden has already started meeting most of them. He has practised in community and hospital pharmacy; has already become a popular speaker; taught pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, and fellow pharmacists; and presented and published his research. He continually advocates for the expanded role of pharmacists by modeling the changes he wants to see and educating colleagues from other disciplines through dialogue and his example. He is also challenging hospital pharmacists to re-evaluate their current practice and take steps toward more collaborative patient care in two recently published articles.

Amidst all the moves and projects, there have been constants in Arden’s journey. The first has been his ability to learn from the people around him. “I’ve always had an interest in working with people. I’ve also had really great people to guide me. My first pharmacy manager who hired me as a technician really modeled how clinical practice can work in community pharmacy. My second pharmacy manager in Vancouver was one of the most caring, concerned people I’ve ever met. A PharmD student co-worker and community pharmacist had an amazing gift for translating clinical trial information into advice for her patients. My coordinators and advisor in my PharmD program all had an infectious passion for clinical pharmacy. All these people were great role models. Now, working with Glen [Pearson] and the people here, I am very excited because I have great mentors and opportunities. We can all learn so much from each other.”

The second factor that has never wavered is Arden’s drive to learn. “I hate not knowing!” he exclaims. “Even after my residency, I wasn’t satisfied; I wanted to know more. I felt limited.” Arden admits it’s often a struggle to keep up with literature and best practices. “I used to have difficulty accessing the applicable research material I wanted. I finally have a good process to identify material, but now I can’t read and remember it all!” he laughs. “I find that teaching is the best way for me to reinforce my own learning. Between the preparation, answering questions and interacting with students, I definitely have to know what I’m talking about.

“Now, with the learning I’ve done and the great mentors I’ve had, I can see how much pharmacists can really do. Just looking at the drugs limits our view. When we view the patient as a whole and include them in the process, there’s a bigger picture. Then, by focusing on what information is needed to make the best possible decision and becoming efficient at collecting it, our care for patients can really improve.”

The picture that Arden sees is very big indeed. We have just begun to see the outlines of what is to come. Stay tuned for a masterpiece.