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Young Leader in Pharmacy Jay Shah: "It is truly an honour to be trusted with someone’s health and wellbeing."

Jay cropped


Education: Master in Pharmacy (MPharm) from University of Portsmouth, UK

Current Role: Pharmacy Manager at Costco Pharmacy 

What excites you about being a pharmacist?

The difference I can make in the everyday life of my patients and forming personal connections is a tremendously satisfying experience. It is truly an honour to be trusted with someone’s health and wellbeing. And while forming connections and helping others remain at the core of being a pharmacist, the field in itself is very dynamic and ever changing, especially with the advent of new technology. Being on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have shown that they can embrace change, adapt, and execute evolving healthcare initiatives to better serve our community. Being a part of this change is exciting and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

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

To be honest, as a new graduate I was just overwhelmed and excited to start working since we spent several years in schooling. I was certain that I wanted to practise in community since I really enjoyed interacting with patients. I wanted to welcome any new learning, challenges, exposures, or opportunities that would come my way.

How has your career evolved since your graduation?

Starting as a pharmacy intern in 2019 to now managing a pharmacy, I’m constantly learning. Each position along my journey has allowed me to build the skills that are critical to my current role. While I learned the fundamentals and theories in school, I developed the clinical acumen and technical skills of pharmacy operation by working as a pharmacist.

In regards to the management role, I did not foresee my progression to a manager to occur so quickly. This transition has allowed me to develop various skills including people-management, time-management, communication, and an ability to adapt to diverse situations and challenges. I have had great mentors who have always supported me and empowered me to take initiative and pursue my ambition.

How would you describe a great day at work?

A great day is when I encounter situations or challenges that I have not experienced in the past. This may be operational in nature or clinical interactions with patients where I’m encouraged to research and learn something new and share it with patients. As a pharmacist, receiving positive feedback from patients and their families is always encouraging and heartwarming. As a manager, my goal is to support an environment that promotes teamwork. I set daily goals, and a great day is one where we have made meaningful progress or surpassed those goals.

How important is mentoring in your career?

Mentorship has been critical in my personal and professional growth. Finding meaningful mentorship is not always simple and requires working with several teams and people to learn about their work and develop a relationship. In my current role, I’ve had the opportunity to teach pharmacy students during their community placement as a preceptor. It’s important to set a good example and provide insight into what expectations/skills are essential to being a good pharmacist. It is extremely rewarding when I see students learn not just the clinical aspect of our profession, but also how we communicate, treat others, and tackle problems daily. 

As a dynamic leader in the profession, what continues to drive you?

The role of pharmacy and pharmacist is evolving rapidly. With the advent of technologies like artificial intelligence, integrated virtual health, and automation, pharmacy capabilities and clinical breakthroughs will be immense. There is still so much to learn and experience, and being a part of this change is what continues to drive me.

How are young leaders paving the way for changes in the pharmacy profession?

The role of community pharmacy practice has evolved rapidly in the last few years with the COVID-19 pandemic. Young leaders have demonstrated great problem-solving and innovative abilities to embrace these changes. From developing online platforms to assist with scheduling and delivering clinical services to streamlining workflow, these changes have improved the overall pharmacy landscape.   

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

Don't worry if you don't know your end goal; just take the first step. Pharmacy practice is extremely diverse, and there are plenty of opportunities to gain exposure in different work settings, including emerging areas of practice and non-traditional roles. Don’t hesitate to reach out within your professional network for potential opportunities or mentorship. Continue developing skills that are needed to succeed in pharmacy.


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