The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) is currently recruiting experienced pharmacists to become mentors for the Pilot Program to Prepare for Practical Training (P4T).
P4T is a national pilot project that aims to provide international pharmacy graduates access to tools, resources, and a mentorship program as they pursue licensure in Canada. The mentorship component matches international pharmacy graduates with experienced pharmacists, providing them a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in Canadian pharmacies as well as relevant cultural knowledge and communication skills before they begin their formal training and assessments.
P4T mentors are passionate about improving pharmacy practice in Canada and dedicated to helping international pharmacy graduates prepare for a successful integration into pharmacy practice in Canada. Today we highlight Tejal, a P4T mentor and an experienced pharmacist practicing in the Toronto area.
Tejal lends her expertise to mentoring and coaching because she enjoys sharing her experiences and what she has learned throughout her career in pharmacy. Tejal is passionate about sharing her knowledge and creating opportunities to obtain practical experience as, as she herself notes, “[Even in Canada,] we really don't gain a lot of [practical] experience through our schooling, and that’s where actually working in the pharmacy with a pharmacist is very important.” For newcomers to Canada, this experience is particularly important, as it allows them to face the fears of the cultural gap, by allowing the mentee to really engage with patients here, allowing them to approach those patients and develop a rapport. These soft skills are key to pharmacists in Canada.
Tejal enjoys mentoring because it helps her to stay current and up-to-date, and offers her the opportunity to learn. For instance, early last year, she mentored someone who was able to teach her about pharmacy practice in Nigeria, the role of the pharmacist, and the importance of community care in that context.
Advice to International Pharmacy Graduates
Tejal advises any international pharmacy graduate coming to Canada to find work experience where they live, which will help to understand any gaps that may exist in the way pharmacy is practiced in their home country versus how it is practiced here. When Tejal mentors someone, she wants her mentee to feel confident when leaving the practice site to engage with patients and to speak with them about their health care and their health care concerns, as well as to be confident in communicating with prescribers.