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Beloved Sussex Pharmacist Earns Profession’s Highest Honour
Monday, September 21, 2020

NBPA hosts virtual AGM and NB Pharmacy Awards

Sussex pharmacist Margaret McQuinn Aiton – a pharmacist who often delivers prescriptions on the way home from work and has been known to leave Christmas dinner to help patients in need – has earned the pharmacy profession’s highest honour.

The New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association (NBPA) honoured Ms. McQuinn Aiton with the 2020 Bowl of Hygeia Award on Sunday night during its virtual Annual General Meeting and NB Pharmacy Awards.

“Margaret McQuinn Aiton has devoted her professional career and her personal life to the community of Sussex. She is a shining example of the best of community pharmacy,” says Christine Boudreau, President of the NBPA. “Her dedication to her patients and to her community is extraordinary.”

The Bowl of Hygeia is the most widely recognized international symbol for the pharmacy profession and is considered one of the profession’s most prestigious awards. This award recognizes pharmacists who make outstanding contributions to their profession and to their communities.

The NBPA also honoured Fredericton pharmacist Kylie Fowler with the Scott Knowles Memorial New Practitioner Service Award. This award is presented to a new pharmacist (five years or less since graduation) for exceptional service through innovation or contributions to his/her community.

“Kylie is driven in her passion for pharmacy and excellence in patient care. In her short career, she has worked in many areas of pharmacy and continues to learn and approach new challenges with optimism and ambition,” says Boudreau.

Pharmacists from across the province attended the virtual event after the on-going COVID pandemic forced the postponement of their in-person NB Pharmacy Conference. The virtual AGM served as a much-needed event to celebrate the remarkable work done by not only the award winners but all pharmacy professionals over the past several months.

“I can’t say it strongly enough: I am so proud of New Brunswick’s pharmacy profession. Thank you – pharmacists, pharmacy techs and their teams – for how you continue to navigate through this COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Boudreau. “New Brunswick pharmacists and their teams responded and adapted so quickly to the ever-changing pandemic, especially in the initial stages. Pharmacies remained open, and pharmacy teams continued to care for patients while the situation evolved. It’s such a testament to our profession. New Brunswick’s pharmacy profession stepped up.”

About our award winners:

Bowl of Hygeia Award – Margaret McQuinn Aiton of Sussex

Margie has been helping patients and contributing to her profession for over three decades at Sharp's Corner Drug Store, one of the oldest independent drug stores in Canada, serving the community since 1894 with the motto: “Providing old fashion care with modern technology.”

Margie graduated from the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie University on May 2, 1986. She began her practice alongside her father, Jarvis McQuinn, and they worked side-by-side at Sharp’s for nearly 34 years. Jarvis imparted his values of integrity, compassion, and non-judgement on Margie. Patients know Margie for her professionalism; her caring and empathetic approach; and her kindness.

Margie is “that pharmacist” who delivers prescriptions on her way home and ends up helping patients with forms they are having trouble filling out, slicing their homemade bread, tasting their homemade pickles...all while doing up their dishes. None of this is done in search of affirmation; this is done because she truly cares, and she wants to help people. One Christmas Eve, she braved a winter snowstorm in her half-ton truck to drive a patient who otherwise would have spent the night alone to be with a friend. Another Christmas Day when her two sons were still small, she left dinner to open the pharmacy and dispense medicine for a sick child.

Margie’s contributions to her community are many. She has volunteered with Community Youth Services (CYS) since 1987 and has been a Board member for the last 14 years. CYS provides professional care for special needs children in the Sussex area. Her efforts help provide respite care to more than 40 families who have children with special needs. Over the years Margie has worked very closely with the Sussex Extra Mural program. For many years she compounded analgesic and sedative CADD pumps for palliative patients in the Sussex area.  She is meticulous with her craft and tireless. It would not be unusual for Margie to be at the store until 2:30 am working on a pump. She has done countless home visits delivering pain medication, palliation, blister packs, or just whatever her patients need. No distance is too far for her, and the time of day or night is irrelevant. She encourages her pharmacists to do the same with immunizations, medication reviews, and wellness visits for the elderly. In 2014, Margie was instrumental in a pilot project that established 28 sites in the Sussex and area with publicly available epinephrine in order to have visible, centrally located access for emergency anaphylaxis. This type of project was revolutionary at the time. This idea has carried on and is growing across the provinces, country and other countries as well.

Sharps has supported several sports teams over the years including school hockey, basketball, and baseball. Many children would not have been able to plays sports growing up without Margie’s support. Margie is an active member of St Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church where she taught Sunday school for several years. She and her husband Gene Aiton have two sons, Marcus and Alex.

 

Scott Knowles Memorial New Practitioner Service Award – Kylie Fowler of Fredericton

A graduate of the Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy in 2018, Kylie is an exceptional young pharmacist whose passion for pharmacy and dedication to her patients have never been more evident than during COVID. From the outset of the pandemic, Kylie was a leader at the pharmacies where she works to establish safe and effective practices to help prevent the spread of the virus. She went out of her way to personally deliver medications to high risk individuals and administer vaccines and medications – a vital service when access to other health care providers was restricted.

She has gained experience working in long-term care, with electronic MAR systems as well as individual packaging of medications for ease of administration at facilities and care homes. She began working at Shoppers in Woodstock in February 2019 and began sharing her time between two stores. Working at two different stores in two different cities less than a year after graduation is no easy task but Kylie has excelled. In Woodstock, she gained experience caring for patients with addictions by daily dispensing of methadone and suboxone and led vaccination clinics outside the pharmacy in the community. The clinic she held in the fall of 2019 helped ensure staff who worked at high risk businesses and organizations got vaccinated.

The New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association is the voice of pharmacists in the province and is committed to providing leadership for the profession and improving the health of New Brunswickers.

For more information, please contact:

Jake Reid
Executive Director
New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association
506) 459-6008
executivedirector@nbpharma.ca