Brent Deveau talks about 1st year

A day in the life

Brent Deveau talks about 1st year


Upper-year students go above and beyond to help us. Even the second-year students are telling us what to expect. It’s a really supportive environment.

Becoming part of a collaborative health-care team

Before even applying to Dal’s Pharmacy program, Brent Deveau became interested in the profession from shadowing two clinical pharmacists in Colchester County, N.S. Clinical pharmacy appeals to him because it uses “the knowledge of pharmacy to treat diseases in the context of a collaborative health-care team that includes physicians, pharmacists, and others,” he explains.

In that way, clinical pharmacy seems a natural extension of his existing career as a paramedic. Describing himself as a “loyal and proud” paramedic, he’s hoping to merge his two skill sets after he graduates. “Both paramedicine and pharmacy are progressive and evidence based – and both are starting to fill voids in health care.”

The problem based learning (PBL) curriculum allows Brent to apply his knowledge and direct his own learning through case studies. “Each case is given to us in three separate pages, including the clinical history and lab report data. We identify unknown terms and relevant facts, and each of us makes a hypothesis – or differential diagnosis – and we rank them.” He adds that students try to keep in mind not only “what we would need to know for this class, but also in the future as a practicing pharmacist.”

He compares being in the classroom with his on-the-job paramedicine experiences: “Assessments would be practiced more quickly as a paramedic: ‘This patient is sick, I need to do this for the assessment, diagnostic, and treatment.’”

That said, he finds the curriculum “beyond interesting! I’m learning so much, and I’m already bringing things to my ambulance shift, which is great. PBL is also a good way to develop interpersonal skills. I’m sold on the PBL.”

Developing as a professional

The skills labs are another opportunity for students to “develop as professionals. The professor wants to make sure we’re learning the academic and the interpersonal skills.”

Skills labs begin with an hour-long theory-based lecture. Then students break into small groups to do a hands-on activity, such as making compounds with a mortar and pestle. “It blew my mind that we were grinding tablets,” Brent says. “We’re so used to the commercial manufacture of pills, we forget that sometimes the pharmacist goes back and concocts stuff for patients” who can’t swallow pills.

Brent’s schedule is jam packed, between his full Pharmacy course load and working as a paramedic. “I’m also an artillery soldier in the army,” he says. It’s a wonder he has time for intramural hockey, but he does. “There are so many activities going on, in Pharmacy and at Dal. Overall, it’s been a really positive experience.”