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Local pharmacist nominated for early-career achievement award

Hope Pharmasave pharmacy manager Michael McLoughlin (left) stands with pharmacist Lindsay Kufta. Kufta has been nominated for the British Columbia Pharmacy Association’s New Practitioner Award. - X. Y. Zeng
Hope Pharmasave pharmacy manager Michael McLoughlin (left) stands with pharmacist Lindsay Kufta. Kufta has been nominated for the British Columbia Pharmacy Association’s New Practitioner Award.
— image credit: X. Y. Zeng

Pharmasave Drugs (Pacific) has nominated Hope Pharmasave pharmacist Lindsay Kufta for a prestigious award from the British Columbia Pharmacy Association (BCPA).

The four-and-a-half-year community pharmacist will vie for the New Practitioner Award in this year's BC Excellence in Pharmacy Awards. The award judges a pharmacist's contributions to the profession within the first five years of practice.

Her name came up in a discussion with Pharmasave pharmacy manager Michael McLoughlin and Cloverdale-based pharmacy specialist Annette Robinson. Both recognized Kufta's achievements, including managing the vaccination program, participating in pharmacogenomic research and helping a pharmacy intertwine with drug addiction recovery.

“Vaccination was a new professional undertaking that was delegated to pharmacists,” said McLoughlin. “Lindsay was given the opportunity to manage the program, which was an unusual thing in [the] first year.”

According to McLoughlin, her efforts have led Hope Pharmasave to become the top vaccination-adopting pharmacy in the Pharmasave chain. Before then, McLoughlin said the program did not function well, especially since vaccinations traditionally lay in doctors' or nurses' sphere of competence, rather than pharmacists'.

“Sometimes when practice change comes along, sometimes we just don't do it,” said McLoughlin. “Before you know it... Annette would say what are they doing in Hope that the rest of us could learn?”

Kufta said her chief method to spur vaccinations involved persistence and word of mouth.

“I think I pestered the staff to have them do the same,” said Kufta.

As one of the 20 pharmacies in B.C. to run the pharmacogenomic research program, Kufta also helped that program. Pharmacogenomics tests a person’s genome to predict how they will respond to certain medications.

She also helped bring a drug recovery program to Pharmasave by arranging rides, medication and tele-health meetings — a videoconference call between a patient and a doctor.

“A lot of those patients had to go all the way down to Chilliwack and Surrey, so what we've been trying to do is help facilitate getting them connected with a doctor,” said Kufta. “Arranging rides is definitely not something they do in an average pharmacy but we've been in contact with Care Transit.”

Kufta's turned to pharmacy due to her interest in science and health care. To her, studying pharmacy marked a “great way to combine the two.”

She studied chemistry at the University of British Columbia for three years before entering into pharmacy, spending another four years to get her Bachelor of Science degree.

“I was just thinking of the long run — what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life, and pharmacy was it, and I don't regret it at all,” said Kufta.

McLoughlin said there usually are not many nominees for this award, which the BCPA will confer at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler on May 26. Winning that award would bring Kufta renown among her pharmacy peers in Canada.

Whether or not Kufta wins this award, this summer will bring an inflection point for Hope and herself. She will do a one-year hospital pharmacy residency starting in June getting trained in clinical pharmacy in hospitals in the Lower Mainland.

“Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end,” said Kufta. “I figured at some point I would want to try hospitals as well — broaden my horizons — and applied for this program.”

Asked whether Kufta will be able to find a job in the Fraser Canyon Hospital, she said that the role there is only a part-time job.

“Unfortunately, I probably wouldn't have the opportunity to work there, but if it expands I'd love to work there,” she said.

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