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New residency on pain management

residency focused on pain and mental health | Picture of Denise Kreutzwiser 2022 Wellspring Award winner - Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy

New residency on pain management

Last year’s Wellspring Award winner Denise Kreutzwiser will see her vision become a reality with the launch of a year one pharmacy residency program at St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, ON., focused on pain, rehabilitation, and mental health care.

Kreutzwiser credits her own pharmacy residency training for giving her the opportunity to practise at a higher critical thinking and problem-solving level and wanted to replicate something similar in her own workplace for the next generation of pharmacists. With the inter-disciplinary nature of St. Joseph’s—which offers both ambulatory services and post-acute care —Kreutzwiser says “a residency program focused on pain, rehabilitation and mental health would target critical areas of need in our healthcare system while highlighting services offered within our organization.”

The inaugural pharmacy resident starts the 52-week residency program on September 6, 2023. 

The program includes 27 weeks of core clinical rotations, of which 10 weeks are with the pain management program, four weeks each with the rheumatology, rehabilitation, and palliative care services, and the remaining five weeks dedicated to the mental health service.  The program also features two elective rotations, each four weeks in duration. 

While the core mental health rotation will introduce the resident to the types of knowledge required to develop the skills and attitudes needed to deliver quality care to mental health patients, Kreutzwiser says the forensic mental health elective rotation is intended to provide more opportunity for the resident to refine their acquired mental health care knowledge, skills, and attitudes. “The intention is that the pharmacy resident will be exposed to learning activities and patient cases during the forensic mental health rotation that provide increasing complexity (depth) and diversity (breath)—or necessitate less guidance and more independence than the resident required during the core mental health rotation,” she says.

Kreutzwiser used funding provided through the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s Wellspring Award  to complete two certificate courses through Maastricht University in the Netherlands that helped her in developing the program. She also visited pharmacy residency programs and preceptors in Baltimore, Maryland, to learn how programs focused on similar clinical service areas operate. “I was able to gain insight into what has worked or did not work and why,” she says. “The individuals I met also shared a multitude of resources that have been very helpful with the development of our pharmacy residency program. It was an absolutely phenomenal learning experience to receive guidance from these pharmacists.”

While the St. Joseph’s program has started out with one resident, the goal is to expand to two residents/year as soon as the program is fully established and running smoothly.  “Being a resident is challenging—having another person to relate to who is undergoing the same experience is really important from a support perspective and why I am looking forward to expanding our program,” says Kreutzwiser.

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