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Pharmacy Leader Anastasia Shiamptanis: "We are an integral part of the healthcare system."

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MHSc, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

PharmD, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, New York.


Current role:

Registrar, New Brunswick College of Pharmacists

What excites you about being a pharmacist?

As pharmacy professionals, we are an integral part of the healthcare system and have demonstrated the impact we have on patient care throughout the pandemic. I am in awe of the fierce commitment and tireless efforts put forth to support healthcare.

When you graduated, what did you envision for your future?

Patient safety has always been my raison d’etre. My goal has always been to use my knowledge and skills to improve the lives of patients. That continues to be my vision and what guides my path.

 How has your career evolved since you first started in the profession?

It is often said that a career should be a journey and not a destination. My intrinsic motivation to improve patient safety has led me to take on roles that allow me to progressively have a larger impact starting from the micro to the macro level.

What is (or has been) your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy?

The pharmacy profession has evolved throughout the years toward a greater focus on direct patient care. We have experienced the benefits of this and the potential to improve access to care and create efficiencies in the healthcare system. In order to do so, it is important to create the systems and structures that enable this and support the profession in this shift. That has been my goal, which I continue to strive for.

How important was mentoring in your career?

Great students have great teachers. I have been fortunate to have excellent teachers and mentors both in formal training and informally who served as role models. As I began to focus on developing leadership competencies, I selected a trusted mentor who provided honest feedback and allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. In like manner, I have strived to also be that mentor to emerging leaders. I strongly believe that “paying it forward” only strengthens our collective ability to improve patient safety.

Was there an “aha” moment for you, when you realized the impact of the difference you’re making?

Yes, absolutely. I was speaking with a pharmacy professional on my team who learned that they were involved in a medication error. Their immediate response to me was “How is the patient”? That was really a defining moment for me as it provided evidence of the safety culture that I was cultivating, and that my passion, my work, was having an impact. It really fueled my passion to be steadfast in my pursuit of it.

As a leader in pharmacy, what continues to drive you?

I am driven by the experiences I hear from patients. I recently spoke to a patient who needs to travel a far distance to receive care. These types of patient experiences inspire me to improve patient outcomes and continue to explore how that can be achieved through working collaboratively. Regardless of the role I hold, patient safety was and will continue to be at the core.

What legacy would you like to leave to the pharmacy profession?

I have always had a keen interest in patient safety. I have been actively involved in fostering safety cultures at my workplaces to allow for open and honest discussion on how to improve and mitigate risk through continuous quality improvement. As an educator and university instructor, I tried to instil in the students a sense of obligation to always strive for better and safer outcomes, and to engage in lifelong learning.

What advice would you give to new female pharmacy graduates?

My best advice would be to stay loyal to your core values and follow your passion.


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