Meet the Team Monday: Hussein Mitha, Pharmacy Manager
March is Pharmacy Awareness Month (PAM) – a time to highlight the enormous contributions that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make to care teams and residents alike. This March marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the pharmacy community has stepped up like never before to keep our communities safe and healthy.
In this week’s “Meet the Team Monday” series, we’d like to introduce you to Hussein Mitha, the Pharmacy Manager at Clinic Pharmacy in Oshawa, Ontario.
1. What is your role at MPGL?
For the past seven years, I have been the Pharmacy Manager at Clinic Pharmacy in Oshawa. Clinic Pharmacy is located within the Oshawa Clinic, a health hub for various health-related services, and a fixture of the local community. My role is to lead and mentor a diverse group of hardworking health professionals and staff to ensure optimal health and safety for our patients.
2. Why did you want to be or what was your inspiration to become a Pharmacy Manager?
My inspiration to become a Pharmacy Manager was working alongside great managers at MPGL when I was a student/intern. This role offers more varied responsibilities, influences the day-to-day operations of the store, and enables knowledge-sharing with others to develop best practices. Despite being in my current role for over seven years, I find myself evolving in the way I manage my practice and those employees who work within it.
3. What’s one misconception about your role?
Many people think pharmacists only count and dispense medications. In reality, pharmacists ensure the appropriateness of prescribed therapy, help prevent or manage interactions, recommend new and improved therapies, and help patients navigate insurance and socio-economical obstacles to get the best therapies possible. Each patient is unique with their own personal history, medication experience, and treatment expectations; providing effective care requires more personalized attention, not simply a standardized menu of “if not this, then that” approaches to drug treatment.
4. How do you balance your career at MPGL?
Pharmacy has evolved over the years to be a 365-days-a-year responsibility. Patients are accustomed to having access to the pharmacy and its staff in the evenings, on weekends, and holidays. In a busy location like ours, it is impossible to be available all the time, so it’s important to delegate work to other employees. Trusting and empowering others reduces your workload and gives others a great sense of responsibility and satisfaction. Many individuals seek to learn new skills and enjoy having changes to their routines as well.
It’s important to stay motivated and find areas where we can improve.
5. Which has been more valuable in your career, your education, or your experience? Why?
Practicing effectively in any health profession is routed in a solid foundation of formal education. Medicine is constantly evolving and new information and skillsets often link to what we learned in school.
Medications, allergies, and socioeconomic restrictions may not permit patients to receive the best available treatment. It is with experience that I feel I am better able to navigate these challenges and help patients receive the best treatment possible, based on their individual needs.
6. How do you motivate yourself and your team during COVID? What workplace challenges have you faced during COVID, and how did you overcome them?
COVID has been difficult for everyone. Caring for our patients has been more difficult due to fewer face-to-face interactions and reduced access to consulting health professionals in the circle of care. Overcoming these challenges has involved the use of technology platforms, such as ePrescribing and video conferencing, and taking advantage of an expanded scope of practice to maintain continuity of care for our patients if their physicians were inaccessible.
7. What advice do you wish someone gave you early in your career?
When I first became a Pharmacy Manager, I assumed that all the ideas and plans I had in my mind could quickly take effect. What I soon realized is that my goals for the practice and my career as a health professional are an accumulation of small victories over time – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes you are fortunate and circumstances coincide with opportunity, and you are able to accomplish more than you expected.