Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Wellspring winner Noelle Patten: leadership in health policy


OCTOBER 2022 - This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Wellspring Pharmacy Leadership Awards program, launched by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy in 2012 to honour Barbara Wells, an exceptional pharmacy leader.

So far, the program has helped 37 pharmacists develop their leadership skills or achieve career milestones. Recipients have used their awards in diverse and innovative applications, and the results continue to influence the work they do today. Noelle Patten, 2015 recipient, shares how.

In her role as Associate Registrar of Quality Assurance with the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board, Patten supports pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as they navigate the myriad changes and opportunities of an expanded scope of practice. To develop her own leadership skills in order to provide this support, Patten completed a Master of Health Management degree at McMaster University with help from her Wellspring Award. The program focused on developing an understanding of the health system and related issues, including health policy and leadership skills.

“Completion of this degree was an eye-opening experience for me as it was the first time that I stood back from my pharmacist role and took a more global view of the health system and the roles and responsibilities of all the players within it,” says Patten.

As a result of her studies, Patten’s focus shifted from being pharmacy-centric in terms of what a pharmacist could do, to what patients and the healthcare system needed and how the skillsets of pharmacy professionals could be used to improve care. “I really feel this shift has made me a better pharmacist and more effective in my regulatory position with the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board. I also find it has given me a more solution-focused mindset, which is critical in an over-stretched health system,” says Patten, who completed her Master’s in 2018 and has gone on to attain her Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation.

Read more stories from CFP's latest Changing Face of Pharmacy Spring 2022 Report. Email Paul Kidston (pkidston@cfpnet.ca) to get your copy.