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Local pharmacist earns care, service award

Brandon pharmacist Gerri Scott receives her Commitment to Care & Service Award for Advanced Learning from Ron Clark of the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., sponsor of the award, in Toronto.

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Brandon pharmacist Gerri Scott receives her Commitment to Care & Service Award for Advanced Learning from Ron Clark of the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., sponsor of the award, in Toronto. (SUBMITTED)

As a clinical pharmacist serving patients who were approaching the end of their lives, Gerri Scott often did not need words to know how her patients were doing.

She could see the pain in their eyes.

Without a trained palliative physician on staff at the Brandon Regional Health Centre, the hospital’s medical staff did the best they could to ease their suffering — until Scott decided she could be doing more.

"I felt helpless and frustrated because I could not provide comfort and expert care for these patients in their last days," Scott said.

"So I continually try to enhance my knowledge and understanding of the issues these patients face to provide the best pain and symptom management possible, allowing these patients to really ‘live’ until they die."

Her dedication has earned her the 2013 Commitment to Care & Service Award for Advanced Learning, awarded by "Pharmacy Practice" and "Drugstore Canada," Canada’s leading pharmacy magazines.

The awards gala took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.

For Scott, the learning never stops and is a blend of certifications, courses, conferences and networking. Her sources include the American and Canadian Societies of Consultant Pharmacists, the Victoria Hospice Society and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

This fall, she attended a Manitoba conference for hospice and palliative care, and completed a course outside of Canada for geriatric medicine.

Back at the hospital, Scott has helped develop policies and protocols in palliative care, as well as practical tools for patient care.

She makes a point of sharing her learnings with health-care staff at her hospital, as well as at other hospitals. The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists has posted her guidelines for pain management and pain medications on its website.

The CSHP has also awarded Scott the Bohdy Jaworski Award for improving the practice of hospital pharmacy, and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists has awarded her the Eldercare Award of Excellence in Senior Care Pharmacy.

Today, with years of training under her belt, Scott no longer feels frustrated.

"It’s an honour and a privilege to be involved in improving the quality of life and relieving suffering for this group of patients," she said.

Most important, Scott’s support enables patients and their loved ones to be more fully present in their final days together.

"Thank you for caring and sharing your knowledge. It meant a lot," wrote one daughter of a patient in her testimonial.

» Submitted

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 14, 2013

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As a clinical pharmacist serving patients who were approaching the end of their lives, Gerri Scott often did not need words to know how her patients were doing.

She could see the pain in their eyes.

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As a clinical pharmacist serving patients who were approaching the end of their lives, Gerri Scott often did not need words to know how her patients were doing.

She could see the pain in their eyes.

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