Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rita's Rx

If you don’t think of your pharmacist as part of your medical care team, Rita Lyster says you should think again.
Lyster, owner, manager and pharmacist at Rita’s Apothecary and Home Healthcare Ltd. in Barrhead, Alta., has been educating her clients and customers in her philosophy as a pharmacist. She wants people to know she can dispense their prescriptions, package them in convenient plastic packets, take their blood pressure, give them injections and more.
As her business card says, she offers advice for life.
On a recent trip through her doors, she took one look at Vicki’s leg, diagnosed a fungus and came up with two over-the-counter remedies to be mixed together: one an anti-fungal and the other cortisone to help with any skin irritation. Bless her, things improved within 12 hours and she banished all thought of a long wait at a walk-in clinic.
She’s thrilled that as a pharmacist in Alberta she now has the power to issue her own prescriptions.
And she’s thrilled she’s her own boss while doing it. As a long-time employee for other pharmacies, she always felt she was dancing to their tune and not writing her own music in her own pharmacy.
She is one of five pharmacies serving a town of 4,500 people and is holding her own because she specializes in drugs. Her shelves hold over-the-counter remedies, supplements and orthotic items, the medical items common to any drugstore shelves, but you won’t see a bottle of shampoo or a bag of chips.
She is health oriented.
She has a new machine, dubbed Elvis for a reason none of her staff could really explain. She can package your daily doses in convenient plastic pouches, easy to rip apart and take one dose with you when you know you’ll be away from home.
She’s is hoping to land contracts with facilities such as care homes when they learn how easy and safe Elvis makes the dispensing process.
When she looks to the future, she’s also looking at her family. With three daughters, she thinks of her apothecary as a possible part of their future. Chelsea is in nurses’ training, Caitlin is following in mom’s footsteps and training as a pharmacist, and Caroline would be more than capable of running the business aspects of the pharmacy.
But Lyster is realistic and looks at all, or any, of that dreaming as only a possibility because her girls would do just what mom has done. They’ll formulate their own plan, act on it and make their dream come true.

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