Pharmacy Student Experience at NAPRA

Jocelyn Bonti-Ankomah

My name is Jocelyn Bonti-Ankomah. I am a third-year pharmacy student at the University of Waterloo where I had the pleasure of completing my third co-op rotation at the National Association of Pharmacy and Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). I had the privilege of working with the Professional and Regulatory Affairs (P&R) department.

What did my everyday workday consist of?

Every day was different for me at NAPRA. When I first started at NAPRA, my workdays consisted of meetings to familiarize myself with the other NAPRA departments, and lots of reading to understand NAPRA’s role, as well as policies/procedures and the structural organization of NAPRA. After my onboarding and training, I was able to begin working on projects. I would meet with the Pharmacy Practice Advisor and the Manager of P&R, where they would outline the projects/tasks that the department needed completed. Every day I would work on different tasks based on the deadline of the project. It was a great opportunity to enhance my time management skills, as I had to use my own judgement on when to work on each task and how much time should be allocated for each task. It was a position that allowed me to work on multiple projects at a time.  

What projects did I work on?

This position exposed me to many different projects and learning opportunities. I assisted the department in preparing for upcoming National Drug Schedule (NDS) meetings. I researched background information and reviewed the submissions prior to the meetings in order to prepare notes or relevant materials that may be beneficial for the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) during its deliberations. I also had the opportunity to observe an NDSAC meeting, which was a unique and exciting experience.  I was able to assist in updating the pharmacist and pharmacy technician scope of practice charts, which summarize the scope of these two pharmacy professions in the different provinces and territories of Canada. I attended many meetings with relevant stakeholders and pharmacy regulatory authorities and was able to witness important discussions regarding the pharmacy profession. Lastly, I was able to briefly work with the Programs and Services department, where I provided feedback on the pharmacy self-assessment tool, which is a part of the Gateway program for international pharmacists.

What was my favourite part of the position?

My favourite part of the position was experiencing the “behind the scenes” of the pharmacy profession. Working with NAPRA exposed me to the procedures behind policy creation and implementation of standards and guidance documents. We briefly learned about the NDS in school, so it was an incredible experience to witness an NDS meeting and listen to the discussions between the NDSAC members. Working with NAPRA was a unique experience that has taught me a lot about the pharmacy profession and enhanced my written and research skills. I would highly recommend pharmacy students to complete a co-op work term or a rotation with NAPRA if given the opportunity.

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