The Pilot Program to Prepare for Practical Training (P4T) is a national pilot project that aims to provide international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) access to tools, resources, and a mentorship program as they pursue licensure in Canada. The mentorship component matches IPGs with experienced pharmacists, providing them a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in Canadian pharmacies as well as relevant cultural knowledge and communication skills before they begin their formal training and assessments. Today we highlight Varun, a P4T mentor and P4T Steering Committee member.
Varun is an IPG who was educated in India (2012) and began his Canadian licensure process in 2014. He has been a licensed pharmacist in Canada since 2016 and has gone on to give back to the profession as a Practice Assessment of Competence at Entry (PACE) assessor. As an IPG, Varun completed a structured practical training studentship and internship. To advance his pharmacy practice skills further, he is pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at the University of Toronto. This experience and education inform the perspective and insight that he brings to the P4T Steering Committee.
Varun remembers well the challenges of being an IPG. As he was preparing for the Pharmacy Examination Board of Canada’s exam, he realized that his theoretical understanding was strong, but that he had “a limited understanding of the Canadian healthcare system, how things work here, how effective collaboration and communication really bring out important differences in patient care.” As a practicing pharmacist and PACE assessor, he sees that many IPGs have sufficient knowledge but lack confidence in exercising their scope of practice in a clinical setting because they have not been exposed to Canada’s unique healthcare system. It was difficult to understand the context in which they would be working. Varun would have loved to have had mentorship similar to the P4T initiative that, as he notes, is “applied in a low-stakes environment with no fear of being judged.” It is for this reason that Varun believes in the mentorship program and has joined the steering committee to lend his support to the P4T project.
Learn more about the P4T program.