2015 M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction: Roberta Stasyk
Manager, Pharmacy Services
Royal Alexandra Hospital, AlbertA Health Services
“Are you scared of making a change? Because you shouldn’t not do something just because you’re scared of change!”
These words from a wise friend prompted Roberta Stasyk to take on the role of Competence Director at the Alberta College of Pharmacy. Formerly a community pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, and regional pharmacy supervisor, Roberta was excited and challenged by the position. During the next several years, Roberta was immersed in and responsible for plenty of change in the pharmacy profession—she led the development of all materials and processes related to the RxCEL Competence Program, as well as the framework, application process, forms, and guide for Additional Prescribing Authorization.
“Alberta must be the best place in the world to practice pharmacy right now!” exclaims Roberta. “We have the broadest scope of practice in the world, and we have a lot of support to help us provide excellent patient care.”
Roberta's leadership in promoting continuing professional development raised the bar not only for what the public should expect of pharmacists, but for the care they should receive from them, as well. Her role in establishing the Additional Prescribing Authorization framework was essential in helping pharmacists to grow into new levels of responsibility and commitment to the health needs of Albertans.
In 2011, Roberta jumped at the opportunity to get back into a patient care environment, taking on a leadership role as Manager of Pharmacy Services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. There, she assists other pharmacists to expand their scopes of practice, ensures that pharmacy services meet the needs of the hospital’s patients, and works to build support for full integration of pharmacist care within the information technology infrastructure at the site and across the province. Roberta is passionate about building a framework that allows the Royal Alexandra Hospital pharmacy staff to excel—whether it’s helping technicians become regulated or precepting students, she knows that helping her pharmacy team reach their full potential will result in better patient care.
Though Roberta now works in a management capacity, she hasn’t lost sight of the reason for her practice—the patient. “See the patient as a person,” she says, recalling the best pharmacy-related advice she has received. “Get to know him or her—what are his goals, fears?” What is important to him or her?” Roberta often thinks of the old saying, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and credits her early small-town community practice for helping her see that every patient is someone’s father, mother, grandmother, son, daughter, or friend. She keeps this advice front-of-mind in her work at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and passes it on to her pharmacy team.
Roberta has been, and continues to be, a leader in ground-breaking professional activities at local, provincial, and federal levels. She is active on a number of Royal Alexandra Hospital, Alberta Health Services, and provincial committees that address medication safety and pharmacist patient care practices. She is a member of the Clinical Training Standardization and Practice Development Plan Working Groups that help pharmacists develop their practices as direct care providers and active participants in the patient care team. She has also worked with the National Continuing Competence Program Core Steering Committee of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination Panel of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists – Alberta Branch, and the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP).
“Her advocacy for this level of practice is a beacon for all of Canadian pharmacy,” says nominator Margaret Gray.
What motivates Roberta to continue to take on pharmacy leadership roles? “I love that pharmacy is always challenging,” she says. “I am constantly challenged to keep on learning, and not just about pharmacy—about healthcare, about professional development, about how we maintain and enhance our competence, and about how we care for patients as teams.”