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2012 Friend of Pharmacy Award: Beverley Marsh

Beverley MarshBeverley Marsh
Chronic Disease Management Registered Nurse; South Calgary Primary Care Network
Calgary, AB

When opportunity knocks, Beverley Marsh is the first to answer the door. As a registered nurse for over 35 years, Beverley’s career has no shortage of variety or accomplishments. As part of her journey, she has never hesitated to carve out time to share her skill set to support pharmacy.

Beverley’s close connection to pharmacists dates back to 1988 where she made the leap from a mental health practice to home health care within a pharmacy setting. Time permitting and need arising, Beverley would shift her focus from the home health care and assessment side to help out in the pharmacy performing assistant-type duties such as counting pills and getting demographic information from patients.

Through these small actions, she not only helped the pharmacists spend more time with their patients, but her presence in the pharmacy demonstrated positive collaboration between nurses and pharmacists. “We all have roles to play, but we are not limited in those roles,” says Beverley. Her advice is to “jump in because we all count!”

It’s this ‘can do’ collaborative attitude and her philosophy of being open to new experiences that enabled Beverley to play an instrumental role in helping Alberta pharmacists apply for their authorization to administer drugs by injection.

In 2007, her longtime friend and former colleague, pharmacist Betty Golightly, eagerly shared the news that Alberta pharmacists’ scope of practice was being expanded to include injections. At that time, the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association was recruiting pharmacist/RN teams to teach their Administering Injections and Immunizations Preparation Course.

“When the opportunity came along and I decided to teach the course, I instantly thought of Beverley as my choice of partner,” says Betty. “She has a natural gift with people, which sets them at ease in even the briefest of encounters and I knew this gift would be so important when teaching pharmacists this new skill.” In her true fashion, Beverley jumped into the course with both feet.

Since 2008, Beverley has been a dedicated instructor teaching over 350 Alberta pharmacists how to administer an injection. Her expertise and experience has been invaluable in sharing this technical skill with pharmacists. “I have long respected and appreciated pharmacists’ knowledge base; It is very special for me to be able to share a personal passion with my fellow health care professionals,” says Beverley.

But like giving a ‘painless shot’, delivering the workshop took practice. In the infancy of the course, Beverley and Betty worked hard to put their personal stamp on it. They constantly evaluated the structure, flow and their teaching methods to ensure pharmacists’ needs were being met.  “It was a great learning curve,” says Beverley. “As one would expect, pharmacists come to the room with different skill levels, dexterity skills and diverse mindsets.”

Teaching pharmacists how to administer an injection continues to be very rewarding for Beverley, and while there are many favorite moments from the course, she is particularly fond of the hands-on component. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a pharmacist achieve giving and receiving an injection. As a nurse, I took this skill for granted; I am so proud at what our attendees can accomplish so quickly and the personal barriers they break down to perform this skill.”

Beverley is truly excited that she can spread the word that pharmacists provide this service. “It is very beneficial to Albertans and to the health care system; I’m honoured to play a small part in it,” Beverley humbly adds. Alberta pharmacists can be proud that they have such a supporter and skilled educator contributing to their success.