A pharmacy bridging program consists of educational courses offered by a recognized Canadian institution designed specifically for international pharmacy graduates (IPGs). These programs will help IPGs acquire the knowledge and skills they need to meet Canadian practice standards.
Learners are taught about all elements of pharmacy practice as outlined in the Professional Competencies for Canadian Pharmacists at Entry to Practice. Bridging programs also cover many other topics that are important to IPGs. These may include language and communication, Canadian culture, professional behaviours and orientation to the Canadian healthcare system. Programs usually include a combination of independent study, seminars, case studies, role-playing and simulated work experiences.
Studies have shown that internationally educated professionals who complete a bridging program increase their chances of success and are more likely to find employment in their field. (SP Consulting and The Whetstone Group, 2008. Financial assistance for immigrant training [FAIT]. Ottawa; ON.)
Participants in the International Pharmacy Graduate Program “report reduced feelings of isolation, an enhanced sense of community, and increased opportunities for professional networking.” (Austin Z, Dean MR. Bridging education for foreign-trained professionals. The International Pharmacy Graduate Program in Canada. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(1), 19-32)
The bridging program is a mandatory requirement for licensure in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.