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Q&A with Ann Leung

Toronto, March 20, 2015

By Emily Holton

Ann Leung
Ann Leung, clinical pharmacist, Critical Care Unit. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

Ann Leung started at St. Michael’s as a pharmacy resident five years ago. She’s spent time in the Trauma-Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Operating Room and Preadmission. Today, she’s a clinical pharmacist in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

Q. What is your role in the Cardiac ICU?
My role is to promote the safe and effective use of medications. Day to day, I make sure that our patients are on all the medications they need, in the right combinations and at the right dosage. Along with the Pharmacy Department, I help our team manage drug shortages and access medications that are not available in Canada but are essential for our patients.

Another big part of my job is interacting with patients. I ask patients about their medication history when they first come in, and check what’s been ordered for them to ensure that we don’t miss any home medications unintentionally. Throughout a patient’s stay, I’ll drop by to see how they’re responding to their medications. Before discharge, I educate patients on their new medications and how their home medications have changed, so that they are confident they can manage it all at home.

Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s simple, but I like being part of a patient’s journey to recovery and wellbeing. When I know that I’ve helped a patient really understand why they’re taking a medication, or improved someone’s quality of life by preventing and resolving medication issues, it feels great.

Q. Is this what you pictured being a pharmacist would be like?
When I started pharmacy school, I knew only what pharmacists do in the community. By the end of university, I knew I wanted to practice in a hospital. It’s so diverse – not just in terms of patient care, but I have the chance to contribute to corporate initiatives to improve care. I’m currently working with my team on streamlining the medication reconciliation process in CICU.

Q. Tell us something your coworkers may not know about you.
I bought a very tiny turtle at a night market a few years ago. There was a whole stand of hundreds of them, and they looked so cute. But now, it’s not tiny anymore! It’s grown to the size of my palm. I don’t know what kind it is, so who knows how big it will get!

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.