GradusOne Career Spotlight: Master medical success

Dec 20 2017, 12:01 am

Join GradusTalks: Medical on Monday, July 13 and hear how Vancouver’s Medical experts navigate an industry that is increasingly competitive and constantly evolving. Learn about why they entered the healthcare sector, their education paths, diverse career journeys, industry trends and much more.

Panelists include:

  • Lawrence Halparin, Head of Gastroenterology Department, St. Paul’s Hospital (Retired)
  • Anthony Tung, Medication Use Evaluation Pharmacist, Fraser Health Authority
  • Rick Tiedemann, Executive Director and Business Development, Copeman Healthcare Centre
  • Neal Shahidi, Internal Medicine Resident, University of British Columbia
  • Moderator: Alexandra Greenhill, CEO of myBestHelper

When: Monday, July 13, doors open at 6 p.m. with the event starting at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Terminal City Club – 875 West Hastings, Vancouver with the exclusive promo code GradusBuzz

Speaker highlight: Anthony Tung

Image: Pharmacy via Shutterstock

Image: Pharmacy via Shutterstock

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m a clinical pharmacy specialist in medication use evaluation for the Fraser Health Authority. I support hospital clinicians in improving medication use, by informing policy decisions and analyzing prescribing patterns.

My pharmacy education began at UBC and continued in a hospital residency at Fraser Health. After practicing as a clinical pharmacist in different specialty areas at Surrey Memorial Hospital, I completed an MBA at UBC Sauder School of Business.

Because mentorship is an important part of our profession, I also spend time precepting students and residents in research and evaluation projects.

How did you initially enter this profession?

Growing up, I didn’t really have a specific career path in mind. I entered university pursuing a science degree without a real plan for what I would be doing after graduation.

My sister was in pharmacy at the time and it made sense at the time for me to apply to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences as well. I quickly learned about the profession and started to believe in pharmacy and the good we can do for our patients.

My goals have always been to try new things and learn about different areas of interest that I can develop into. With this in mind, I completed my MBA at UBC Sauder School of Business part-time and was lucky enough to transition into Medication Use Evaluation. My current position allows me to stay in pharmacy and still take part in a variety of different projects, collaborating with different clinicians and professions.

How did you prepare yourself to get into this area?

At the time, I was a clinical pharmacist on the wards, not only did I gain some level of clinical expertise, but I also developed relationships with clinicians that I brought with me into my current administrative support role. Those experiences have also allowed me the context to make better decisions for our patients.

Now that there is more analysis of large data sets involved in my role, I needed to become familiar with tools such as Excel and SPSS and statistical methods. Online courses and the resources available at UBC and in Fraser Health supported this learning.

What role has education and/or training played in your career path?

There is never just one path to achieving your goals, but my pharmacy education was integral to my becoming a pharmacist. Not only for the technical skills in providing pharmaceutical care, but it was helpful in understanding the culture of medicine and other health professions. My clinical rotations during my residency allowed me to see different pharmacists in a myriad of practice areas, which really showed the diversity of our profession.

Formal education is important because it gets you in the door, especially for highly technical professions with specific skill sets. However, the knowledge base changes so quickly that you need to be a lifelong learner in order to keep up.

What are trends that excite you and you feel others should be aware of?

It’s an exciting time to be in pharmacy. Clinical skills to direct medication therapy and ensure that it is safe, necessary, and effective are becoming more and more important. Pharmacists aren’t just checking prescriptions and dispensing medications anymore. Our expertise are becoming integral in selecting the best therapies, guiding patient-specific dosing, and managing adverse drug reactions in many practice settings. Pharmacy is going to change over the next few years to become more visibly important to patient care.

Outside of the profession, information is increasingly available with the proliferation of different online channels. Individuals will find it difficult to weed through everything that is available, so becoming a curator in a specific area of interest (rather than just an aggregator) will be an important role.

Image: Pharmacy via Shutterstock

Image: Pharmacy via Shutterstock

What’s one thing that’s awesome about being in your role?

It’s a very exciting time to be in pharmacy. Clinical services are expanding and the profession is no longer only about dispensing medications that a doctor has prescribed. The great thing about my role in Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services is that it’s possible for me to take part in different types of projects within pharmacy and see all the wonderful things that pharmacists are a part of.

I also get the chance to work with students and residents, which is something I really enjoy. I am able to support their learning and I get to learn so much in doing so.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?

When I was a clinical pharmacist, a rewarding moment every day would be seeing how a patient’s care was improved by our interventions, especially if the patient could directly thank me. Now that I’m in more of an administrative support role, I feel the same satisfaction when clinicians are able to make better informed decisions around medication use or when our research and evaluation projects have directly addressed knowledge gaps identified by decision-makers.

In addition, I have the privilege to work with pharmacy students and residents on research and evaluation projects. It is a great accomplishment to complete these projects and answer our research questions, but it is even more rewarding to support the learning of current and future pharmacists.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

I spent too much time in my youth trying to tell others that I was smart and capable (which may or may not have been true at the time), at the expense of opportunities to learn from others and grow collaboratively together.

Listening is an extremely important skill in supporting those around you and giving them what they need. It’s beautiful thing when you can help others share their gifts or their stories with the world that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Do you have a favourite newspaper, blog or magazine that you read to stay updated?

  • Seth Godin, a leader in marketing and business:
  • A Learning A Day, a blog with a focus on the process of learning and productivity:
  • Laurie Ruettimann, HR blogger writing about “work, life, and cats”:

What book do you recommend?

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

I had a brief foray into stand-up comedy, doing some open-mics and made a little money opening for some more talented performers.
Was I any good? I told some jokes. People laughed. Sometimes in that order.

About GradusOne

GradusOne enables students, recent graduates and young professionals to discover their options, realize opportunities and focus their career. By providing access to personalized resources, diverse connections and engaging events, they empower members to take the first step towards their future success.


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