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Making their mark

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Courtney Miles has ventured out of our small Valley to pursue a higher education, but her small town routes brought her right back home.
Born and raised in Swan River, Miles grew up enjoying music lessons, camping, reading, travelling and spending time with friends and family. She attended Taylor Elementary School, ESRSS, and graduated from the SVRSS in 2002. After graduating, Miles attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. In 2005, she received her Bachelor of Science degree and was then accepted into the Faculty of Pharmacy, graduating from the 4 year Pharmacy program with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree in 2009.
“In total,” said Miles. “I was away studying for seven years. I enjoyed my time in Winnipeg while I was at school and made many lasting friendships from university. Much of my time living in the city was spent studying, so I never really had much time to experience a real city life, although I did enjoy going to concerts and trips to the mall as much as I could.”
While living in the city can provide many different avenues of entertainment, it didn’t deter Miles from what she really wanted.
“I think I always knew I wanted to come back to Swan River,” she said. “My family and many of my friends were here, and I liked small town life.”
“During University, I came home to Swan River every summer to work. For some of those summers, I worked as a student at the former Pharmasave in town and this gave me a first hand look at what the job of a pharmacist would entail. I really enjoyed my time working there and got to know some of the patients. My positive experience working there is what really drove my decision (to continue my education).”
Upon graduating, a position was available at Pharmasave for Miles to begin work where her heart felt at home.
“From working in the summers,” said Miles. “I was already familiar with the pharmacy, the staff, as well as many of the patients. This made my coming home an easy transition.”
It’s been eight years now and Miles has grown in both her professional and personal life along the way. She is now married, as well as the Pharmacy Manager at the Swan HealthCare Plus Pharmacy.
A normal day consists of preparing and checking prescriptions for each patient, ensuring there are no interactions with other medications they may be taking, and checking for possible allergies. Part of the job is also to counsel patients on prescription medication, as well as over-the-counter products and there is often communication with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals regarding patients’ care.
Miles also manages drug inventory and narcotic counts, as well as answering calls from patients with questions regarding their medication use and conditions, she enjoys her interactions with those around her the most.
“My favourite part of the job is developing good relationships with patients,” said Miles. ‘I like feeling as though I’ve helped them with their medication concerns. I get to know many patients on a first name basis and they almost become like family.”
Her time away was just the beginning in her education as she’s continuing her professional development by keeping up her Manitoba Pharmacist license and ensuring that her knowledge and skills are kept up to date by keeping a learning portfolio with a required number of professional development learning activity hours.
Many courses can be completed online, which aids her in living rurally. She also subscribes to online journals and many other resources to keep current with new medications and guidelines.
“There are definite advantages to returning home to a small town,” she said. “I feel that by working in a small town pharmacy you really get
to know your patients very well. You also get to know and work closely with other pharmacists and healthcare professionals in the Valley.”
“You will be involved in a small, close-knit community, and people are always there for you. Many pharmacies in the city are open 24 hours a day and weekends, whereas you get to have your evenings and many weekends off in a small town.”
Her hard work and determination are an asset to the members of the Valley, patients and her future.
“I would definitely like to stay in Swan River for as long as I can,” she said. “The nature of my husband’s work usually involves travelling to other communities across the province and Canada. For now, I am really enjoying being in Swan River and working as a small town pharmacist. If we do end up having to move eventually, I will always be grateful for the time spent working in my hometown.”

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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