The Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) program has been awarded accreditation and the new Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program has been awarded provisional accreditation, both for the four year term 2017-2021.
“This is the best possible outcome of the accreditation process,” explained Dr. Kishor Wasan, Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. “Our existing BSP is accredited until the program winds down, and the provisional accreditation for the PharmD is in place until the first class graduates in four years’ time.”
The nearly year-long accreditation process was led by Drs. Yvonne Shevchuk and Roy Dobson, with the site visit taking place in October 2016. Accreditors from The Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs met with faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders as part of the review. The results were provided to the college in mid-2017 in time for the PharmD program to begin.
The college’s new PharmD program began in late August with a week-long orientation for the new students. This new entry-to-practice degree will replace the existing BSP, which will graduate its final class in 2020, as the first professional degree required to practice as a licensed pharmacist.
The program is designed to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for pharmacists to practice as their roles in the healthcare system expand. The new curriculum will include 40 weeks of experiential learning, with 32 weeks of advanced practice in the fourth year. The first three years of the program include two four-week practice experiences, as well as smaller weekly opportunities.
“As recent as 2015, pharmacists in Saskatchewan were granted new responsibilities, such as administering flu vaccines and prescribing medications for minor ailments, such as cold sores or seasonal allergies,” Wasan said.
This new curriculum is a significant change compared to the current pharmacy program in which students take classes in basic sciences, such as chemistry and pharmacology, during their first two years, while pharmacy classes are scheduled in the third and fourth years. Under the new curriculum, students will be required to complete at least two years of pre-requisite classes before applying to the pharmacy program.
More than half of the 10 pharmacy schools in Canada have introduced PharmD programs, while the remaining plan on doing so within the next few years. This new type of program is quickly becoming the standard for pharmacy education in Canada.