Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Prescription for variety

From the Montreal Gazette:
Television viewers of a certain age will remember a Western called Have Gun, Will Travel. Louise Le May is no hired gun: she's a pharmacist. But like Paladin, the star of the long-running series, she does travel for work.

Le May works as a replacement pharmacist: instead of being based in a single pharmacy, she works in pharmacies around the province: she might be in Abitibi one week, in Drummondville and Richmond the next, in a pharmacy near Joliette the week after that.

Replacement pharmacists fill in for absent pharmacists, whether they're vacationing or ill or on maternity leave, or they simply help with the general pharmacist shortage in Quebec. Often they spend just a couple of days at a time at a particular pharmacy - and never longer than a couple of weeks.

Most of the time, they're hired, through agencies, by the pharmacies or the hospitals that need them. Longueuil-based Elitis Pharma, where Le May works, has a bank of 160 pharmacists who do replacement work. About 20, including Le May, are full-time Elitis employees. The rest work part-time on behalf of the agency. It might mean 25 or 30 hours for some each week and, for others, one weekend a month. Others, in turn, choose to work flat out over several months, then take a few months off to travel. ...more

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