Sukhraj Gill - CAPhO17 Summary Report

Wow, what a conference! CAPhO Conference 2017 took place in the breathtaking mountain views of Banff, Alberta at the Fairmont Banff Springs and could not have asked for a better venue.
This was my first time attending a CAPhO conference and I am truly glad I did. Normally, I shy away from attending this conference because my perception always has been that this conference is only geared towards pharmacists. Boy was I wrong! The conference offered an array exhibits, Satellite Symposiums, plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and hot topic discussions that provided knowledgeable information for pharmacy technicians as well. The poster viewing enabled us all to see the wonderful work that is being done in oncology across the country with the various topics displayed on the posters.
All of the sessions at the conference offered valuable information on various topics that I could take back to workplace and share with co-workers but the following topics resonated with me:
The opening plenary, Winning a Tickle Fight, truly touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I learned about a young father’s experience with metastatic colorectal cancer. Even though this young father was battling this disease, he did not let it stop him from spending time with his family and making memories with his young son. Making these memories was important to him and his medical team helped him live well by listening to what matters to him and not what’s the matter with him. These caring oncology professionals made this possible for him. This documentary film taught me not to try to take things for granted and to hold my loved ones tight because you don’t know what sort of misfortune time will bring upon anyone.
Concurrent Session – Technician Stream: Psychological Safety: Speaking up for Patient Safety. This session expressed the need to speak up when you come across a hazard at the workplace that could affect the safety of a patient. Sometimes it is not easy to speak what’s on your mind for the matter of being embarrassed or being criticized but these feeling should be set aside and patient because safety comes first!
Hot Topic Discussion: Establishing an Oral Chemotherapy Program, a Technician Perspective. This discussion addressed the role of a pharmacy technician in an oral chemotherapy program. I didn’t realize that technicians at some centres take on this responsibility. Within our pharmacy, I would like to see the involvement of pharmacy technicians in this process.
Hot Topic Discussion: The Dirt on Environmental Monitoring – At Your Fingertips.
This dicussion addressed the importance of environmental monitoring. This discussion confirmed that my site already has best practices with our monitoring and techniques.
My learning experience actually started with the gentle arm twisting, from one of my managers, to submit a poster abstract for Remote Chemotherapy Drug Delivery Service for this conference. I learned how to write an abstract and create a poster. The abstract was accepted by CAPhO and the poster also received a poster award in the Pharmacy Administration category. I was very proud this hard work was recognized for an award. I would encourage all Pharmacy Technicians to take part in this conference and submit poster abstracts to share all the amazing work they do.
Valuable knowledge is gained from such conferences and provide a platform to meet some of our oncology colleagues we regularly communicate with via phone or email, but don’t meet in person. However, I met some of the people I speak to on the phone or by email and it was so nice to put faces to the names. The theme of the conference was “Do Something Astonishing”. We all, each and every day, do something astonishing but we may not always see it that way. This conference provided me with the perspective that it’s these astonishing things we do that make a difference in our patients’ lives. This entire conference was truly an amazing experience and thank you CAPhO for the travel grant that made this experience possible. Looking forward to attending more conferences.
Sukhraj Gill
Pharmacy Technician, RPhT