July 25, 2017 |
Meet Your MRP – Lori Wazny, Clinical Pharmacist, Health Sciences Centre, Manitoba Renal Program
After 13 years with Manitoba Renal Program, Lori Wazny still can’t see herself being anywhere else. The clinical pharmacist was born and raised in Manitoba but ventured to Minnesota, Virginia and Ontario before making her way back to Winnipeg to work at Health Sciences Centre.
“I love working with people and could not see myself in a lab,” she says. Wazny works for Manitoba Renal Program (MRP) both providing care and support to renal patients at HSC, and regionally as a clinical mentor for renal pharmacists.
“I get to do a bit of everything in my job as a result – clinical service, teaching, research which is great.”
After doing her doctor of pharmacy in Minneapolis, Wazny did a research fellowship in Richmond, Virginia and got a first-hand look at renal pharmacy in the United States.
“Renal pharmacy is quite different in the U.S.. The dialysis units are owned by private companies. There’s not as many renal pharmacists in the U.S..”
She said though renal pharmacists were scarcer in the U.S., that seems to be changing. She says research has been showing a positive return on investment from hiring renal pharmacists as part of a care team because of benefits seen in patient outcomes.
Wazny says MRP has excelled at ensuring patients have access to dedicated renal pharmacists. There are 21 renal pharmacists across the program.
“Pharmacists do have a big role in helping the patients and helping staff to deal with all these meds and medication issues,” she explains.
Renal patients tend to be on several medications, sometimes about 10 to 12 at the same time. It’s important for pharmacists to be able to provide dedicated care to patients to help manage the medications and their side effects.
“I think we are very fortunate that we have pharmacists involved at all stages. We have pharmacists in our hemodialysis units, which is quite common across Canada, but we’ve also got pharmacists very involved with our peritoneal dialysis patients and in all our renal health clinics. So that’s a pretty big achievement as a program I think.”
Wazny says that being able to build relationships with patients and help them through the stages of kidney disease is rewarding.
“I do enjoy really getting to know patients and seeing them through their journey. I really admire the people that we take care of because it’s a hard thing to come to terms with.”
That one-on-one care helps encourage patients to share information about anything they are taking, like over-the-counter products, vitamins or supplements, that might interfere with their medications.
“The caution is that we don’t know how this will interact with the other pills you are on.” Wazny’s personal opinion is to look at the evidence. If something hasn’t been proven to work, it’s best to stay away.
Wazny works with pharmacists across the program to address issues, create standardized approaches to care and develop policies. She has her extended practice pharmacists’ license which allows her to write prescriptions, a practice that only became reality in Manitoba recently.
She is also constantly learning about new drugs that come onto the market and how they impact renal care.
Her spare time is taken up mostly by two busy kids as well as pilates. She says she loves travelling and one of her favourite destinations was Europe. Though, she admits, travel hasn’t been high on her list of activities lately. “This was all BC – what I say is before children – we travelled a lot.” But she’s hopeful another European vacation is in her not-so-distant future.
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