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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2009 Jan-Feb; 62(1): 83–84.
PMCID: PMC2826912

The Times They Are a-Changin’*

The year 2008 heralded change in many realms. On the political scene, the most striking event was unquestionably the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, which has breathed optimism into both the American people and much of the world’s citizenry. Similarly, the pharmacy profession, the hospital pharmacy sector, and health care at large have achieved seminal milestones that will prepare the ground for changes in the provision of safer and more effective patient care.

The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) led the way with the official launch of its CSHP 2015 project at the Professional Practice Conference in early 2008. Through this quality program, which sets out a vision of pharmacy practice excellence in the year 2015, the Society challenges hospital pharmacists to reach measurable targets for 36 objectives grouped under 6 goals, all aimed toward effective, scientific, and safe use of medications and meaningful contributions to public health ( In partnership with the Editorial Board of the Hospital Pharmacy in Canada survey, CSHP collected baseline data from 166 hospital pharmacies, which are published in the recently released 2007/2008 report ( For the times they are a-changin’.

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On February 14, 2008, CSHP appeared before the Standing Committee on Health of the House of Commons of Canada to comment on the paragraph in Bill C-51 that covers mandatory reporting by hospitals of all serious adverse drug reactions ( Bill C-51, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, to make consequential amendments to other legislative acts, and to support Canada’s Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan (, was introduced into the House of Commons in April 2008, following which the Society appointed a representative to a Health Canada multistakeholder reference group charged with providing feedback on its regulatory elements. For the times they are a-changin’.

The Blueprint for Pharmacy: The Vision for Pharmacy was released in June 2008 ( The Blueprint outlines key elements and proposed actions in 5 areas that will be required to achieve the Vision, Optimal drug therapy outcomes for Canadians through patient-centred care, and to meet the future health care needs of the population. Those 5 areas are pharmacy human resources; education and continuing professional development; information and communication technology; financial viability and sustainability; and legislation, regulation and liability. CSHP has 2 representatives on the Task Force on a Blueprint for Pharmacy and has signed the Commitment to Act. Furthermore, hospital pharmacy is well represented in the 5 working groups charged with developing the implementation plan for realizing the Vision. For the times they are a-changin’.

The Society officially represented Canadian hospital pharmacists at the Global Conference on the Future of Hospital Pharmacy, part of the 68th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the International Pharmaceutical Federation in Basel, Switzerland, on August 30 and 31, 2008. More than 340 hospital pharmacists from 98 nations met to develop and endorse 75 consensus statements reflecting the profession’s preferred vision of practice in the hospital setting, a global roadmap that should lead to improvements in patient outcomes around the world ( Responses to an earlier survey determined the 6 themes, which covered all areas of the medicine use process in hospitals (procurement, influences on prescribing, preparation and delivery, administration, and monitoring of medication practice) and human resources and training. Medication safety was also an important consideration in developing the consensus statements. The proceedings of the conference will be published in a special supplement of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy in March 2009. For the times they are a-changin’.

In November 2008, the Management Committee of the Moving Forward: Pharmacy Human Resources for the Future study, formed of 8 national pharmacy organizations including CSHP, released its final report, which contains 36 recommendations to help ensure a strong pharmacy workforce that is prepared to meet the future health care needs of Canadians, under 5 separate themes: communicating the value that the pharmacy workforce contributes to Canadian health care, managing the pharmacy workforce, educating and training the pharmacy workforce, regulating the pharmacy workforce, and improving the integration of international pharmacy graduates into the pharmacy workforce. This final report is the culmination of a series of technical research reports and papers examining the pharmacy human resources challenges faced by Canada and its health system ( For the times they are a-changin’.

The Society continued to consolidate its partnership with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) during this past year. After participating in the Disclosure Working Group, CSHP endorsed the Canadian Disclosure Guidelines, which were released in March 2008. The Society is also represented on the Advisory Committee for Canadian Patient Safety Week, the Implementation Committee of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Bar-Coding Initiative, and the Planning Committee and Poster Abstract Review Committee of Canada’s Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. Furthermore, CPSI selected hospital pharmacists nominated by CSHP to serve on its Education and Professional Development Advisory Committee and its Health System Innovation Advisory Committee. Further information about these committees and projects can be found at For the times they are a-changin’.

The Society can be proud of numerous other achievements that reflect or can effect change: the supply of a toolkit to specifically promote hospital pharmacy during Pharmacy Awareness Week, the appointment of a CSHP representative to the Pharmacy Technician Programs Accreditation Committee of the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP), the revamping of our own Awards Program to better acknowledge members who answer the many challenges of innovative pharmacy practice, the conduct of an advocacy campaign stressing the importance for patient safety of unit-dose drug distribution systems, the publication of a preliminary report from the CSHP Hospital Pharmacy Management Leadership Task Force,1 the release of the 2010 Accreditation Standards by the Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board, and the strengthening of our advocacy voice to 3113 members—a 40% growth over the past 5 years! Additional related information is available on the CSHP website at The Society also provided feedback to a variety of stakeholders: CCAPP (for the draft standards and guidelines for the accreditation of first professional degree in pharmacy programs), Health Canada (for an issue identification paper on the Special Access Programme), and the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (for the draft Model Competencies and Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacists). For the times they are a-changin’.

Although several employees celebrated noteworthy employment anniversaries (5 years for Janet Lett and Myrella Roy, 15 years for Gloria Day), the roster of CSHP staff members did not escape changes either. This past year, we bade farewell to Denis Boileau (Acting Operations Manager) and Kirsty Phillips (Web Administrator); we temporarily promoted Desarae Davidson (to the position of Acting Operations Manager); and we welcomed Colleen Drake (Acting Conference Administrator), Cathy Lyder (Coordinator of Professional and Membership Affairs), and Olga Chrzanowska (Web Administrator). For the times they are a-changin’.

To paraphrase Barack Obama’s election night remarks, these victories alone are not the changes we seek—they are only the chance for us to make those changes. The challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of hospital pharmacy’s lifetime.


*Song and album title by Bob Dylan.


1. Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Hospital Pharmacy Management Task Force Planning for hospital pharmacy management, now and in the future. Can J Hosp Pharm. 2008;61(5):374–384.

Articles from The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy are provided here courtesy of Canadian Society Of Hospital Pharmacists