As a student in UBC’s pharmacy program more than 20 years ago, Michael Conci worked at Vancouver General Hospital as a student pharmacy technician. It was his first experience working in a health-care facility and it struck a chord, igniting a passion for working in a hospital setting.
Having grown up in Rossland and with a love for the outdoors, Michael knew he wanted to return to the Kootenays after completing his schooling. As luck would have it, the hospital in Trail was hiring when he completed his degree, and he joined the pharmacy team at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) in 2001.
“I had gotten my dream job in an area where I loved to grow up and wanted to eventually raise a family,” says Michael, looking back on a long career that has grown along with his family, and the pharmacy that has become like a second home. “Trail is now home for my wife Amy (a Registered Nurse at KBRH), our three daughters and our chocolate Lab.”
With everything expanding in his life, it’s fitting that now the KBRH pharmacy will also expand to fit the needs of a department whose staff has doubled since Michael joined it. The pharmacy expansion and renovation is part of the ongoing redevelopment at KBRH with a $57.8-million dollar investment in two different capital projects.
A new emergency department opened at KBRH last fall, and construction is now underway on a new ambulatory care unit and the pharmacy renovation. The current project also includes enhancements to KBRH’s oncology unit, cast clinic, physiotherapy department and medical records area.
In the pharmacy, the footprint will increase significantly, allowing more space for the talented team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to work and ensure the “right medication gets to the right patient at the right time,” a mantra that the KBRH pharmacy team lives by.
Increased space means quieter places for the pharmacy team to work. Other pharmacy enhancements include new private space for patient counselling, industry-standard intravenous compounding suites and safe storage rooms.
The pharmacy team may be unseen by patients, but they will be working in a modern setting with upgraded technology to help support patient care. Pharmacists assist in developing a medication therapy plan for patients before pharmacy technicians work out a distribution plan so nurses can administer the proper medication. It’s a complex process with the safe distribution of medication the top priority.
The hospital pharmacy also distributes medication to outpatients in the community including to all oncology patients. Providing medications to patients allows them to recover at home and those arriving to pick up medications will be able to do so and talk with their pharmacist in a new private consultation area, once the project is complete.
For Michael Conci, the enhanced pharmacy will help support the great work that already occurs every day, supporting people’s health.
“I’m looking forward to having a space that helps our team fulfill its duties in a safe and effective manner,” he says. “Patients don’t often see the pharmacy team that is working hard to meet our vision of ‘caring for every patient through appropriate, timely and safe medication management.”
The project will complete in 2023.
• March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month, and the Canadian Pharmacists Association is celebrating the work of 42,500 pharmacists across Canada. Take a few minutes to learn more about what your pharmacist can do for you at rethinkpharmacists.ca.
• Along with KBRH, Interior Health has pharmacy renovation projects ongoing at hospital pharmacies at East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, Shuswap Lake General Hospital in Salmon Arm, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and Penticton Regional Hospital.