I am the I in IWK – Melanie MacInnis

Posted by

Melanie MacInnis; BSc(Pharm), PharmD
Pharmacy Residency Co-ordinator
Clinical Coordinator, Pharmacy
Professional Practice Leader, Pharmacy
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Pediatric Emergency Medicine

March is Pharmacy Awareness Month. During this time, pharmacists promote their role to other health care professionals and patients within hospitals and related health care settings. The 2019 theme is “Your Hospital Pharmacy Team: Your Trusted Medication Experts” which reflects the integral role that the entire pharmacy plays in medication management.

“I describe what I do as helping our patients and colleagues see the potential of what comprehensive pharmacy care can look like,” Melanie MacInnis, Professional Practice Leader, Pharmacy says. “I demonstrate and research the full scope of practice of a pharmacist working collaboratively with a health care team.”

In Melanie’s case, this is exhibited in her research within the Emergency Department. Working with researchers at Dalhousie and the IWK, they study the impact that a pharmacist working to full scope regarding outpatient antimicrobial prescribing can have on important indicators like success of treatment, appropriateness of treatment, efficiency of treatment, and rate of return visits to the ED.

“I’m excited that this research was selected to present at the upcoming Canadian Association of Emergency Medicine (CAEP) conference as one of the top 8 research projects,” Melanie says. “It’s so important to share our good work broadly and to engage others in thinking about what can be done differently with the health human resources we already have to facilitate good care.”

Melanie is hopeful because of the IWK’s willingness to work towards an interprofessional model of care, one that utilizes the unique skills of pharmacists, technicians, and assistants to improve patient care. “We can navigate the areas where scope of practice around medication use and education overlap amongst professionals,” says Melanie. That way, we can ensure that our patients and families are knowledgable about their medication and are ready to transition to their home environment equipped with what they need to know.

Melanie also works closely with Dalhousie and other universities to facilitate learner placements. “Canadian pharmacy education is changing, so the entry to practice will be a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree,” explains Melanie. “This will require a large enhancement in the time learners spend with clinicians for experiential learning. I’m working to make sure that the IWK will be prepared when it happens.”

The next two years for Melanie will be even busier as she explores further opportunities. “I’ve just assumed the presidency of the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists for a two year term, allowing me to work closely with provincial regulators of health professions within the province, but also on a national level,” says Melanie. I can help shape and influence the practice of pharmacy on a much broader scale, and bring a unique clinician and researcher perspective to that. I plan on keeping tabs on the trends in pharmacy practice across the country and bringing the best of it back to Nova Scotia.  Working closely with other provincial counterparts, like in NSHA to make sure we have a shared vision of pharmacy practice will be extremely important.”

Like many, Melanie was an IWK patient as a child and actually still has her finger puppet from her first visit. “After 10 years working away, I remember I told my family that I had accepted a job at the IWK to return home,” Melanie remembers.  “The amazing personal stories that people shared of the IWK made me realize that working here would be so much more than a job.”