Kara Browne - CAPhO18 Summary Report

Through the support of CAPhO’s travel grant, I was able to attend the CAPhO 2018 conference in beautiful Ottawa-Gatineau.  I have been fortunate enough to attend previous CAPhO conferences, so I was anticipating three days of exciting discussions and learning and the program provided did not disappoint. The theme chosen for this year’s conference was “Better Together” and that theme was woven throughout many of the presentations. Speakers included pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, oncologists, patients and caregivers.  

I especially enjoyed the panel discussion on chemo related fatigue.  The panel consisted of a medical oncologist, a pharmacist as well as a current cancer patient and her husband.  They relayed that during her cancer journey, fatigue has been much underplayed while being the most significant effect on her overall quality of life.  Hearing the firsthand account of those we serve can never be undervalued.   This session highlighted in a significant way the huge amount of work that needs to be done in both educating and helping patients manage this treatment side effect.  

The panel discussion on the new normal post cancer treatment was also very inspiring.  The opportunity to listen to two oncology pharmacists and a future medical student who also happen to have gone through their own cancer journey was very inspiring.  The lessons learned from a personal experience are invaluable and I thank them for sharing their experiences and wisdom.  

Other standouts for me were the hot topic discussions. The two sessions I attended were about the compounding supervisor and the role of pharmacy technicians in clinical trials.  Both of these sessions highlighted opportunities for registered technicians to use their expanded scope of practice in meaningful ways.  One of the greatest benefits of attending this conference is the opportunity to speak with other oncology pharmacy professionals from around the country.  We may do things a little differently from region to region, but we all face similar challenges in both our daily work and in trying to continue to move our professions forward.  The abundance of discussion and questions generated in both of the groups was great.  We have so much to learn from each other!

There were a few different presentations on implementing strategies to manage drug waste costs as we all strive to become NAPRA compliant.  These discussions are so timely and important as this challenge is one that is faced across the country.  

I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by CAPhO to attend this conference.  I came back to work with new information I can put into practice, as well as a reminder of the importance of the role of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in oncology pharmacy as we aim to work “Better Together” in service of our patients and their families.

Kara Browne