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Innovation, collaboration, and career-growth opportunities in Pharmacy


March is Pharmacy Month
Pharmacists Nick and Michael, and pharmacy technician Erin talk about their roles with Northern Health.

March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month, and we’re celebrating the pharmacists, technicians, assistants, and administrative staff who work in this area across our Northern Health region. Pharmacy professionals are integral members of the interprofessional care team. Allow us to introduce you to a couple of Northern Health’s finest and their contributions to the pharmacy field in Northern BC!

Michael Matula, Primary Care Pharmacist, Quesnel

Michael works as a primary care pharmacist at the Quesnel Primary Care Clinic where he sees patients on a referral basis. Referrals mainly come from physicians, nurse practitioners, and allied health care professionals, but patients can self-refer as well! Michael carries out a variety of consults and provides medication optimization from complex chronic disease management to novel therapies to challenging medication interactions.

In addition to his primary care role, Michael is an advocate for heart failure medication optimization and is working alongside a cardiologist on a project to optimize therapy for heart failure patients in rural/remote areas.

Michael finds his job incredibly rewarding; he loves the longitudinal aspect and seeing the downstream effects of his recommendations. He says one of the best parts of his job is “deprescribing or optimizing medications with a mortality benefit and then following up with patients and being able to see them feeling better.”

He had an interest in primary care right out of university, but no jobs were available in Quesnel when he first graduated. He waited patiently and worked at GR Baker Memorial Hospital for five years, knowing there were plans for Ministry funding for 50 primary care clinical pharmacists across the province through the Pharmacists in Primary Care Network (PCN) program. As soon as the position was created in Quesnel, Michael was quick to apply and has been in his dream role ever since.

Outside of work, Michael has many hobbies and is always looking forward to the next activity. He loves spending time with his family and enjoys cooking, especially on weekends when there’s time to make elaborate meals. He also enjoys camping, cycling, golf, and hockey.

Nicholas (Nick) Sosulski, Clinical Pharmacist, Fort St. John Hospital

Nick originally completed a pharmacy residency in the Lower Mainland but knew post-residency they did not want to stay in Vancouver. Nick and their partner decided to look into moving to Northern BC and settled on Fort St. John, and they’ve been happy with their decision ever since! Fort St. John has provided Nick with the opportunity to create a versatile pharmacy position where their time is split equally between working as the clinical pharmacist at Fort St. John Hospital and the long-term care facility attached to the hospital.

Nick gets a lot of fulfillment out of their work and comments that it is has been rewarding to see their expertise used by other health care providers. Nick advocates for interprofessional collaboration and focuses on interacting with physicians and other team members either by phone or in person, which they prefer to texting or other less interactive methods of communication.

“Overall, there are very few barriers to collaboration,” they said. “The work environment is friendly, and I get to work closely with the dietitian, speech language pathologist, and occasionally physio, in addition to physicians and nurses.” Nick loves the work-life balance of their job and would highly recommend working at a rural site for those who might be considering it.

Outside work, the North has provided Nick with a lot of opportunity for activities. They enjoy Dungeons and Dragons and took the initiative to create a group in Fort St. John. It has now been in existence for over a year, and Nick acts as the Dungeon Master. Nick also enjoys hiking and is planning to learn to cross-country ski.

Erin Taylor, Pharmacy Technician, Fort St. John Hospital

Erin is from Vancouver Island, but she wanted adventure and was looking to completely change up her life. She moved to Fort St. John in 2022 and started work as a pharmacy technician at the hospital. Erin is no stranger to hospitals, as both of her parents worked in hospital. As a child, she would regularly go to the hospital with one parent to get traded off with the other at shift change. 

“Most people don’t like that hospital smell, but it reminds me of childhood,” she says.

Erin is trained according to the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, which allows her to mix oncology medications such as those used in chemotherapy, and she is happy to be able to provide these vital medications. Erin also fills other technician roles as needed, such as inventory management, ward stock, billing, and order entry, and enjoys challenging herself to find and resolve potential errors before they occur. For example, she keeps an eye on drug usage and drug orders and adjusts inventory as needed before medications run out in the dispensary.

Erin finds all aspects of working in hospital rewarding but is looking forward to potential additions to her duties.

“I really enjoyed working in community [pharmacy] because of the patient interactions,” she says, “so I’m looking forward to Best Possible Medication History (BPMH) technician roles.”

A BPMH is when a health care provider works with a patient to make a complete and accurate list of all the medications they’re taking. The list should also include any allergies or adverse reactions to medications.

Erin thinks she could bring some finesse to performing BPMHs in hospital, as currently they’re done by whoever is available (usually, a nurse or physician) and she would love to reduce the burden for these other health care professionals and create some structure. As she says, “BPMHs are within my scope of practice, so I should be doing them!”

While she enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and nature, Erin considers herself a homebody who loves reading and crocheting. She has an interest in botany and enjoy identifying plant species when outdoors in nature. She has also picked up some awesome hobbies such as fire spinning due to past experiences when she worked at festivals.