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Pharmacy Department brings you the right dose at the right time
5 minute read

Pharmacy Department brings you the right dose at the right time


March is Pharmacy Awareness Month, the perfect time to celebrate the awesome Pharmacy Department here at SickKids!

By Kelly Gordon

There is something to be said about the people who work to bring children the right drug, at the right time, in the right dosage form. They quietly go about their days and work to their fullest potential to contribute to the great work done at the hospital every day. They don’t ask to be in the spotlight, they don’t seek attention, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t earned it.

March is Pharmacy Awareness Month, the perfect time to celebrate the awesome Pharmacy Department here at SickKids!

“There are a lot of great people doing a lot of great work that you don’t necessarily see. We are very engaged people, highly motivated to work with and better the lives of kids,” says Jimmy Fung, Director of Pharmacy.

At SickKids, Pharmacy staff does much more than count pills and put labels on medication bottles – their work is far more complex. The team provides expertise in the application and usage of drugs, including the formulation, compounding, storage, and dispensing of medication.

Ravi Pathak, Pharmacy Technician, with the Automated Tablet Packager (ATP), one of the new machines in the Pharmacy, which is helping improve and ensure that patients are receiving the correct drugs and dosages at the right time. ​

“We work closely with patients, families and other health professionals to design, implement and monitor a therapeutic plan for each patient’s specific drug therapy,” says Fung. “We’re also responsible for identifying, resolving, and preventing drug-related problems, plus formulating and compounding paediatric dosage forms that are not commercially available.”

Their contributions also extend to preparing intravenous admixtures, providing total parenteral nutrition solutions, and maintaining an extensive compounding service that specializes in the many different dosage forms essential to paediatric practice.

The department is made up of vibrant individuals who are all devoted to their outstanding and diverse work, and bring great enthusiasm to the job.

The Department of Pharmacy thrives on the contributions of technicians and pharmacists who work closely with patients’ health-care teams to make sure children receive the most appropriate medications. It’s a 24-hour operation. The pharmacy uses a computerized unit dose system to provide inpatient and ambulatory clinic services 365 days a year.

And we can’t forget the hardworking retail Pharmacy team in Shoppers Drug Mart, made up of a separate and dedicated team of technicians and pharmacists. While they still operate within the hospital and serve the SickKids population, they also advise on and supply medication for staff, families and visitors.

Working in a children’s hospital and treating children with complex and serious conditions, there is a degree of sensitivity that goes along with formulating and providing medications.

“There is the acute nature of the kids here, so if any one of our systems goes down there are big consequences. People take for granted that you’ll get the right medications at the right time. It’s a very complex thing that we do every day, but our team does a great job,” says Fung. “It’s not as visible as roles on the front lines, but it is equally meaningful and impactful on patient care.”

One way the Pharmacy team is working to improve the safety and efficiency of drug distribution in the hospital is through Program Dose, a multi-year medication systems technology transformation program that involves members from many disciplines working together to help implement hospital-wide solutions.

Program Dose’s main objective is implementing new technologies and processes that support safe medication dispensing and administration such as Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs), which are used to store and automate dispensing of ward stock and narcotics to nursing in patient care area, and the Swisslog Boxpicker, a new technology that will automate management and dispensing of medications in the central pharmacy.

“We look forward to introducing pharmacy medication systems automation to the hospital. It will further ensure that SickKids can provide the safest and best care possible,” says Fung. “We want to raise the bar on patient safety.”

Thank you Pharmacy team for all you do during Pharmacy Awareness Month and all year-round! With your help we are improving patient care in the hospital and bettering the lives of children everywhere.

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