FCAPhO Recipient 2016 - Christopher Ralph

Chris Ralph FCAPhOMy journey into oncology pharmacy practice began nearly 10 years ago when I was at a crossroads in my pharmacy career. I longed for a more rewarding practice and recalled a recommendation from a colleague, Scott Edwards, that I should consider a career switch to oncology as my skill-set and passion would be a good fit. A position opened up at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, Alberta and I thankfully got the job.

Shortly after finishing my training, I was also asked to be the pharmacist on the IV provincial team, serving a variety of roles including a project evaluating IV closed systems to choose which one we would implement. For the past 9 years, I have been embedded in our Complex Cancer Pain and Symptom Management Service, an interdisciplinary team which sees a wide variety of complex patient scenarios in consultation ranging from neuropathic pain, refractory nausea, anorexia-cachexia, cancer pain, patients with aberrant behaviour issues, through to palliative care patients.

Those who know me well, will likely state that I bring a passionate, innovative, creative perspective, and seemingly unquenchable thirst for knowledge to the specialized practice of oncology pharmacy and palliative care. I am never satisfied with the status quo and always strive to improve my own practice, and further evolve the impact a palliative oncology pharmacist can have in this setting.

I also have a keen interest in technology and the realm of digital health, and constantly look for ways to integrate new technologies into oncology pharmacy practice. Along with this, I am fascinated by the intersection of social media with healthcare and how to utilize these powerful communication tools to improve patient care and to enhance oncology pharmacy practice and knowledge.

My journey with CAPhO began with a brief stint in 2007 when I attended (then NOPS) conference in Calgary, admittedly mainly because I was new to this specialization and because two colleagues were speaking - Scott Edwards and Rick Abbot from my home province.

Two years later I was recruited to be Communications Officer for CAPhO. It was thought my skillset with creating websites and blogs would be of great value as CAPhO planned to makeover the website. After my inquiring mind was set to rest after a barrage of questions to the executive, I settled into the role and we endeavoured to redo the website, and, upon my urging, makeover the logo as well.

I also setup a myriad of social media accounts for CAPhO with initial focus on growing Facebook and Twitter presence, both to inform members of CAPhO happenings and to grow CAPhO’s presence externally.

I strive to practice in the field of oncology and palliative care to the highest level possible. My experience with CAPhO has been rewarding with the connections I have made, the knowledge I have accumulated, and the projects I have seen come to fruition. I like to think that I have given a lot of myself to the worthwhile cause of what CAPhO embodies.