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2011 M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction: Diane Miller

Diane Miller
Manager, Health Select Pharmacy; Calgary

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Diane Miller is building her practice with an eye to the future. “I want to be the ‘go to’ person for medication questions. My vision is to see practice where the doctor diagnoses and then hands it over to the pharmacist for the drug therapy. I would like to sit in the doctor’s office and be the last stop for patients. All the medications and prescriptions would come through me. All the counselling would happen right there.

“My goal is to be surrounded by like-minded people who want to provide excellent care. Pharmacy is a team, and if your team isn’t willing to work with you toward your goal, you won’t get there. I couldn’t be the pharmacist I am without the people I work with. As a manager, I am now encouraging my staff to pursue certifications and other in-depth education. We’re working toward offering more clinical services and direct patient care and fewer hours in the dispensary. I don’t want to become obsolete. Dispensing may be passing to pharmacy technicians, but there’s still a role for us as medication experts. Right now we’re the only professionals reimbursed for product and that has to change.”

Diane is amassing the tools she will need to build her vision into reality. She has her authorization to administer drugs by injection and has applied for additional prescribing authorization. She provides medication reviews, diabetes and cardiovascular disease management, lab result interpretation and home visits. She has built strong collaborative relationships with other health professionals, most recently through the Pharmacy Practice Models Initiative. She has extended her vision beyond Canada by providing funding and medications for the last five years for a physician who makes multiple visits per year to provide care in Haiti.

Diane’s hard work, positive attitude and focus on patient care has gained her many admirers.

“She has an incredible depth of knowledge... and is a valuable asset in helping with decision making,” offers Dr. Trevor Bernhardt. “She also provides clear explanations and education to every client she sees. She is an exemplary role model... and someone I believe everyone looks up to, admires, and has the utmost respect for.”

“I couldn’t think of anyone better than her for the [award],” declares patient Silvina Sabatini. “Diane has been a constant for our family. She has also gone above and beyond her duties as a pharmacist to make sure that we are taken care of. Special mention to her efforts of coming to visit me once a week at my home to help me take control of my diabetes.”

“I would like to formally acknowledge the efforts of Diane Miller,” wrote another patient. “She was instrumental in helping me successfully wean off an addiction to a prescription drug. She accomplished this by setting up weekly one-on-one progress checks, customizing my medication and dosage, and packaging the medication in daily, easy-to-track, bubble packs. During this very difficult stage, she showed compassion and made herself available whenever I had questions, or just needed a hug.”

“My customers have followed me to all my stores,” Diane marvels. “To me, that’s the ultimate compliment. I just try to offer excellent service to anybody who walks in the door. And I’m prepared to do whatever is needed to make the pharmacy a warm, safe place. If that means mopping the floors or cleaning shelves, I’ll do that. I want to reach out to people because I truly care.”