Four High Level, Alberta high school graduates were recently honoured for their work at a local pharmacy.
The students from High Level Public School were recognized on Friday, July 26, 2019, with a potluck celebration at the High Level IDA pharmacy.
IDA owner, Jan Welke, insists on the importance of supporting high school students who are focused on academics, especially those looking at professional careers in health care.
“There are not a lot of opportunities in a place like High Level to gain experience in [health-care] fields at that age,” explained Welke. “This is a great stepping stone and launching board for getting into the health-care profession. We kind of touch [on] everything in a pharmacy, whether they want to be a nurse, doctor, physiotherapist, pharmacist, or pharmacy technician.
“I wish I had this opportunity when I was younger.”
Gracen Glover is going to attend the University of Alberta in September 2019, where he will be taking pharmacology.
He says working at the pharmacy was a great experience to be involved in the community.
“It allows you to get a real insight into how the pharmacy operates,” explained Glover. “Pharmacists can really have more personal interactions [with patients] in smaller communities. It helps patients relate [to] or [be] more open with the pharmacist since there is more of a connection.”
Afterwards, he plans to apply to medical school and, hopefully, become a doctor.
“I’d love to come back up here to help out and just give back a bit,” said Glover.
Kim Panes will be attending the Nursing Program at the University of Alberta in the fall.
“[With] rural medicine or rural hospitals, you get more experience in different areas,” said Panes. “Pharmacies play a bigger role in smaller communities, because more people know each other. When you go to a bigger city centre, they just know you by your last name or number; they don’t really know you as a person. Here in High Level, everybody is friendly and they know each other. There is more conversation, and people are more comfortable.”
Keegan Jessiman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a specialization in pharmacology.
“It was interesting with all the medication and how [it] can help patients,” Jessiman said. “Community pharmacies are very important, because they help people with so many different issues. If there wasn’t a pharmacy in High Level, people would have to drive really far distances. It’s just way more accessible.”
Although she is not continuing with a career in health care, Ari Tik said working at High Level IDA has been a worthwhile experience.
“It is nice to see the close relationships the staff has with patients,” said Tik. “You see the same people every day, so you get to know them very well.”