Geoffrey Maher - ISOPP 2014 Summary Report

My name is Geoffrey Maher.  I am currently employed at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) in Calgary, Alberta as a Medication Safety Pharmacy Technician.  The FMC is the largest hospital in western Canada, is a Level I Tertiary Care Centre, features an oncology satellite pharmacy, and has specialized programs for oncology patients.  My role as a Medication Safety Pharmacy Technician is to ensure that the FMC pharmacy is operating within “best practice” around drug storage, distribution, and practice.
I attended the ISOPP 2014 Conference in Montreal, Quebec from April 2 – 5, 2014, as I have a passion for oncology practice and have been a pharmacy technician, working with oncology patients, for over 15 years.  Last year, I worked closely with Jennifer Jupp, Tara Leslie, and the oncology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) to create a role for a clinical oncology pharmacy technician within the hematology oncology and transplant (HOT) program.  This role focuses on completing and gathering best possible medication histories (BPMH), completing special authorization forms for third party billing, and assisting our patients with any medication needs.
At the ISOPP Conference, I attended sessions about the use of oncology medications.  This session focused on the challenges faced within oncology medication and safe practices.  By attending this session, I was able to see that the global community faces similar challenges that I face within my own practice and that there are a variety of opportunities for professional growth and support available internationally.  I now know of many opportunities for support and learning and will be able to share them with my colleagues.
In my role as a Pharmacy Technician I have prepared chemotherapy medications.  I attended a session called, Checking Chemotherapy Best Practices.  This session focused on ways that risk can be mitigated by creating standard work, such as embedded worksheets.  These worksheets contain essential information to gather, prepare, and perform final checks for medication.  Though these worksheets are currently being used for oncology medications (at my work site), it is an example of how standard work is a useful tool in all areas of medication preparation and safety.  I believe exploring our options, with regards to standard worksheets, in other areas of medication would be of great benefit to pharmacies, in general, and I would like to explore this further.
Another session that I attended at ISOPP 2014 was Error Prevention, with a focus on intrathecal chemotherapy.  This session discussed the need for standard work and preparation pertaining to medications being delivered via syringe or IV mini bag, and appropriate labelling.  For me, this session reiterated the level of professionalism and care with regards to patient safety at my work site, as the recommendations and ideas shared from this session are already being used and implemented at FMC pharmacy.  
Though the three sessions stated above are not the only sessions I attended at ISOPP 2014, I feel that they resonated most with me, as I am passionate about patient safety and I feel that these sessions had a strong focus in that area.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this conference and pleased with the speakers and presenters at this conference, as they demonstrate the same level of care and love for patients that I do.  
I would like to thank CAPhO for providing me with a high level of professional growth and development.  It has exposed me to new ideas, new experiences, and new questions.  I believe that we, as professionals, never stop learning.
Geoffrey Maher