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2011 Future of Pharmacy Award: Candace Necyk

Candace NecykCandace Necyk
Pharmacist, Sobeys Pharmacy Group

Candace’s interest in patient safety came about during a summer research project. “I saw such a lack of patient safety around natural health products. People just assume that natural means safe, so they don’t think about interactions. So many people use non-prescription medication, but it’s so often overlooked. Less than half of patients tell their doctor or pharmacist about any natural health product use. A few simple, direct questions from a pharmacist play such a significant role in decreasing adverse events. That really got me interested in the whole patient safety field.”

Candace is now looking to spread the message of patient safety and pharmacist potential to a wider audience. “I see myself playing a more active role in practice change. I see opportunities in the academic world and would like to do research that supports practice change. I also want to play more of a leadership role to help move practice to what a pharmacist’s role should be. I can’t really make an impact unless I can get messages out to more people. These kinds of roles will help me do that.

“I love being involved in knowledge transfer and spreading the messages to bigger groups. It’s really more about teaching attitude than training – everyone can do it, they just need to do it. And we need to start the ideas with pharmacy students. Once you get into practice, habits are formed and the busyness becomes too easy an excuse. It’s so
easy to let outside influences dictate your practice.”

It’s also important to Candace that information be practical. “When I moved from school to work, there was a big gap between theory and practice. I thought, “if we just learned x and y, it would be so much more applicable.”

The study Candace has recently been involved in ties her interests in patient safety and applicable learning together. The study tested the following exercise on consecutive patients dropping off or picking up prescriptions at community pharmacies and it found significantly higher rates of adverse events identified – and only takes 15 seconds! That makes it applicable in any type of practice.

Question 1: During the last 1 month, have you taken any prescription medications? If YES, what were those medications?

Question 2: During the last 1 month, have you taken any natural health products? If YES, what were those products?

Question 3: During the last 1 month, have you experienced any unexpected or undesirable effects? If YES, what were those effects?

An early leader herself, Candace is also extending a hand to others following the trail she is blazing. This is best expressed through the words of one of her students. “My preceptor, Candace, constantly encouraged me to push the boundaries and aim high for success. She never undermined my qualifications and constantly provided constructive feedback that allowed for self-improvement. I strongly feel she has significantly contributed to my development as a student pharmacist and will continue to do so as I transition into a practicing pharmacist.”

Whether as a teacher, patient safety advocate or practice leader, look to Candace to lead the way.