Pharmacy techs fight disease behind the scenes
Thousands of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) employees play vital roles in patient care, including close to 400 pharmacy team members at our nine pharmacies.
Meet three pharmacy technicians working behind the scenes to ensure that our patients receive their medications safely, accurately and on time.
Inderjeet Singh, HHS Juravinski Hospital
“Hamilton Health Sciences is a great place to learn, expand and refine skills.”
“Ensuring patient safety is the central focus of everything we do,” says Inderjeet Singh, a pharmacy technician at HHS Juravinski Hospital (JH). Singh’s role includes filling prescriptions, checking inventory and preparing IV chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.
“It makes me happy to know that I’m helping patients fight their cancer,” says Singh. “These patients are trusting us with their lives, and it’s my job to make sure that everything involved in preparing and dispensing their medication is done according to according to the Ontario College of Pharmacists and National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities standards.”
The JH and the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) also have pharmacies. The JH pharmacy is for in-patients only while the JCC has two pharmacies — one for patients receiving cancer drugs at the JCC, and another that specializes in take-home drugs for cancer patients, such as pill-form chemotherapy medication. This pharmacy is also open to staff and the public for prescriptions and general pharmacy needs.
The JH pharmacy, where Singh works, includes state-of-the-art robotic medication dispensing services. This technology, called a pill picker, looks like a small-scale Amazon sorting centre. It fully automates the storage and retrieval of medication, reducing errors and increasing safety, as well as creating a more efficient workflow. The JH pharmacy also includes an area where custom medications, such as IV medications for cancer patients, are prepared in a sterile environment to prevent contamination and ensure patient safety.
“I really enjoy using the technology, and seeing how it helps pharmacy teams grow and develop in their professions,” says Singh. “Hamilton Health Sciences is a great place to learn, expand and refine skills.”
Akshay Kunnathully Surendran, HHS Hamilton General Hospital
“I really enjoy working at Hamilton Health Sciences for reasons including the supportive team environment…”
Akshay Kunnathully Surendran spent three years working as a pharmacist in India before immigrating to Canada and studying at college to become a pharmacy technician.
“My goal is to become a pharmacist in Canada,” says Kunnathully Surendran, who has been with HHS for one year and splits his time between working as a pharmacy technician at HHS Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) and studying for exams to qualify as a pharmacist in Canada.
“A career as a pharmacist in India and Canada is very different, so working as a technician is helping me learn more about the pharmacy profession here,” says Kunnathully Surendran.
The HGH pharmacy serves inpatients at this hospital as well as the HHS Satellite Health Facility on King Street East. Like at the JH, the HGH pharmacy uses robotic dispensing services and has an area where custom medications are prepared in a sterile environment.
“I really enjoy working at Hamilton Health Sciences for reasons including the supportive team environment, high level of professionalism and opportunities to use leading-edge technology,” says Kunnathully Surendran.
Joji Geevarghese, HHS Hamilton General Hospital
“For me it’s completely about serving the people.”
Joji Geevarghese also trained as a pharmacist in India before immigrating to Canada. “But I didn’t work as a pharmacist in India,” says Geevarghese, whose goal was to immigrate to Canada after finishing his studies and requalify in this country to work in his profession.
“I felt that there would be better opportunities here, even though it means additional steps to qualify as a pharmacist in Canada,” says Geevarghese, who has been with HHS for over one year as a pharmacy technician.
Geevarghese is also an IV technician, trained to mix intravenous medications for patients in the sterile environment, and is injection-certified to give vaccines. He participated in COVID vaccine clinic programs, when he did his mandatory training conducted by the Ontario College of Pharmacists to get licensed as a registered pharmacy technician.
In the HGH pharmacy, Geevarghese works in robotic medication dispensing services, which dispenses unit dose medications for inpatients and delivers patient-specific medications to wards during night shifts.
“I enjoy helping people through my work,” says Geevarghese. “For me it’s completely about serving the people.”
For more information about HHS careers, including job listings, please visit the careers page.