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2013 W.L. Boddy Pharmacy Team Award: Shoppers Drug Mart Millrise Centre

Shoppers Drug Mart Millrise CentreShoppers Drug Mart Millrise Centre, Calgary, AB
Valerie Kalyn, manager

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When the doors of Shoppers Drug Mart Millrise Centre opened in 2005, it gave Associate Owner Valerie Kalyn and her staff the opportunity to indulge fully in their passion for clinical patient care services.

Despite the pharmacy’s hectic pace, filling over 300 prescriptions per day, complete care is what defines this team’s approach. Clinical services that include comprehensive annual care plans, standard medication management assessments, adapting prescriptions, diabetes education, respiratory education, a formal smoking cessation program, lab result ordering and monitoring, travel medicine, administration of drugs by injection, and compression stocking and bracing fitting are a routine part of this pharmacy’s operations and patient interaction process.  

The building block to achieving this diversity of patient care services is Valerie’s encouragement of her staff’s professional development. “Individuals are more motivated to excel in their own passions versus being told what to do. If we can make their ideas feasible for the business, I say let’s do it!” The return, says Valerie, “is measured by better overall patient care and outcomes, and a pharmacy team that is motivated to fulfilling its highest potential.”

Valerie further encourages her staff to have confidence and embrace their full knowledge and scope. She gives an example of faxing a patient prescription back to the original prescriber for renewal rather than renewing it at the pharmacy. "I ask my staff, ‘Who is in a better position to assess the patient? Us, with the patient in front of us, or the doctor looking at a refill request fax?’” Valerie adds, “When the patient is at the counter, there is opportunity for dialogue. When that dialogue is missed, it’s a disservice to that patient.”

Another driver behind the pharmacy’s success is Valerie’s motto of "educate, initiate, and collaborate." The team does not wait for patients to come to them. “We educate our team to create competence or expertise, initiate contact with at-risk groups or the community to promote our services, and collaborate with a multitude of healthcare disciplines and other stakeholders to educate about the benefits of our services,” explains Valerie. “We are seeking to establish collaborative relationships with the goal of enhancing patient care.” 

In addition to the care provided within the pharmacy walls, the team’s services extend to the larger community. Valerie and her pharmacists created a “home away from home” at a local seniors lodge where they work weekly with Alberta Health Services homecare staff to bring respiratory and diabetes care to the residents. Additional training programs offered to the caregivers and nurses by the Millrise team include the demonstration of proper inhaler technique, proper insulin injection and education about diabetes. And just to ensure there is no rock left unturned within patient care, the Millrise team keeps Albertans healthy by participating in Alberta Health Services’ Health Link.

So what’s next for our award winners? Enhancing awareness of the profession is a priority. Through one-on-one pharmacy tours with politicians, Valerie and her team demonstrate the beneficial role pharmacies have in optimizing patient care. She foresees more of these interactions in the future and encourages fellow pharmacists to be involved in educating the public and politicians. “If every MLA knew exactly what a pharmacist can do, voting in the legislature on issues that involve our roles would be much different.” Valerie also sees expanding their patient counselling area and continuing to build on what they do well, which she describes as, “excelling at a high standard of patient care to achieve better health outcomes.”