Alicia Ridgewell is a Pharmacy Resident at Northern Health who graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Pharmacy program in 2009. From early on she knew she wanted to complete a hospital pharmacy residency but decided to gain some work experience in hospital pharmacy first.
In the final year of her undergraduate program, she learned about Northern Health, a health authority that provides health services to 300,000 people over an area of 600,000 square kilometres in B.C. – about two thirds of the province!
She says Northern Health was receptive to her inquiries right away – they were very interested in hiring new grads like her. Everything about Northern Health appealed to her, including their motto – “the northern way of caring.”
Shortly after graduating, Alicia started her pharmacy career with Northern Health as a Pharmacist at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC) in Prince George, B.C. It’s the largest hospital and referral centre for the region. Currently, she is completing her pharmacy residency at UHNBC.
New grad life in Northern B.C.
Alicia was born and raised in Kelowna, B.C., and wanted to start her career somewhere that was much smaller than Vancouver, where she went to school. She really enjoys the small-town lifestyle, so Prince George was appealing to her for that reason. With a population of approximately 76,000, Prince George is known as B.C.’s northern capital.
Since moving to Northern B.C., Alicia has become more interested in an outdoor lifestyle, including camping, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and ice fishing. She says it’s possible to take part in almost any recreational activity in summer or winter because Northern B.C. provides quick and easy access to a beautiful landscape with endless possibilities for outdoor activities.
Working at Northern Health
Pharmacists have a variety of duties at UHNBC, including working in the pharmacy department, also known as the dispensary; verifying patients’ medication orders; and overseeing the distribution of medications to patients.
As a Pharmacy Resident, Alicia also takes part in clinical work that requires her to be on the hospital wards working directly with patients in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and physicians.
The best part of being a Pharmacist at Northern Health
Alicia says the best part of her job as a Pharmacist at Northern Health is that she has the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team that includes pharmacists, doctors and nurses. She finds this collaboration extremely satisfying and feels like she’s actually making a different in patients’ lives.