Mobin Vahora Career Spotlight
Mobin Vahora is a Pharmacy Technician who currently works at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Originally from India, Mobin moved to Canada at the age of 19 years old. After completing his Pharmacy Technician program in Ontario, Mobin began his career in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in 2019 with the local health authority. He recently moved to Saskatchewan to further his career in early 2022 and is now enjoying his new life in a rural city. Below is his experience working as a Pharmacy Technician with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
What initially drew you to Saskatchewan?
“The biggest draw for me was the amount of opportunities available in Saskatchewan compared to eastern Canada. Not just as a Pharmacy Technician but many other areas including trades, retail, business etc. I was also looking at Alberta but the cost living in that province has increased more compared to Saskatchewan and the wages are not that different. Saskatchewan is also very affordable place to live and wages are very competitive. I loved living on the east coast but it was not a good place to grow your career. My cousin also lived in Prince Albert so I did have a close contact before moving from the east coast.”
What does a typical day look like working at the Victoria Hospital?
“A typical day to day as a Pharmacy Technician primarily includes the preparation and distribution of medications to patients and patient care areas. At the Victoria Hospital, we also have specialty therapy services including chemotherapy and stroke rehabilitation. Depending on what area you scheduled in, you may work on your own but are most likely to be working as a team.”
How is your work-life balance?
“In short, my work-life balance is awesome! I am scheduled to work 14 shifts every three weeks and I only work during the pharmacy operating hours which are typically 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Working these hours is great as it leaves your evenings open to spend time with friends, family or go to an event in the community. Commuting to work is much shorter and parking is not an issue in rural communities.”
What do you enjoy about living in Prince Albert?
“I love that Prince Albert is not too big of a city. You can get to work in a short amount of time. When I moved from the east coast, the weather was the first big change that I noticed, as it is a bit colder in Saskatchewan. However, my first summer here has been going well. Prince Albert is very close to some amazing parks such as Waskesiu Lake. It makes it a lot easier to plan a day trip to a lake on your days off. Even after only four months in the community, I have met so many people through the community and work. I enjoy social activities and there always seems to be something going on in the city and opportunities to get involved with the community.”
Did you always want to be a Pharmacy Technician?
“I knew I wanted to pursue a career in health-care and ultimately landed on Pharmacy Technician program in Barrie, Ontario due to the short length of time to complete the program and the good wages that were available for new grads. During my program in Ontario, I had thought about pursuing further education to become a Pharmacist; however, I felt like I was in a good spot as new Pharmacy Technician working on the east coast.”
Does the SHA provide you the opportunity to grow your career as a Pharmacy Technician?
“For sure it has and will continue to do so. For example, I was not trained in chemotherapy before working at the Victoria Hospital but I got my training done now so in the future I may be able to work in a cancer centre with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency in Saskatoon or Regina which opens up more opportunities for me. Small centres offer a variety of areas to gain experience in.”
What are the differences between working in a community clinic and in a hospital?
“There are different things you can do in a hospital environment. You are not just in charge of distributing medication but at Victoria Hospital you have the opportunity administer COVID-19 vaccines and run special programs like our Opioid Therapy program. Opioids are also known as painkillers that can be very addictive and so through this program we administer specific medication to help patients manage their addiction. Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada that allows Pharmacy Technicians to witness addicted patients usually a pharmacist or doctor needs to be present. In relation to pay and time of work, the SHA provides better pay and benefits compared to private. When you work depends on the need of the hospital or community clinic, for example at the Victoria Hospital, a technician will only work 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM where as a private pharmacy typically has longer operating hours so you will be scheduled to work in the evenings. The hospital environment provides more consistency overall.”
What are the differences between working in a larger health centre compared to a rural centre?
“One key difference about working in a small centre is that you may be working on your own from time to time where as in Saskatoon there may be several technicians working in the same area. You may be more specialized when you work in a large health centre like the Royal University Hospital compared to Prince Albert. Working in a rural centre provides various patient scenarios that help build your skills. I think change is important for career development and a rural centre does provide the opportunity to challenge yourself and get better.”
What advice would you give to students looking to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician?
“For the length of the courses, typically two years, there are many job opportunities that pay really well. The profession adds a variety of different things that you can do especially in a rural community. If you are looking at becoming a Pharmacy Technician I would consider starting off your career in a rural community due to the learning opportunities the smaller centres provide. Smaller centres may provide a slower pace for new graduates to learn. Most of the time as well, a new graduate may not know if they want to specialize in a specific area such as chemotherapy, practising in a rural centre provides the variety you need in order to make that decision if you want to. You are also more likely to obtain a permanent full-time job in smaller communities.”
What is the number one thing you love about being a Pharmacy Technician?
“Whether you work in retail or in a hospital, you directly serve the people of your community. It’s a big deal helping people everyday battle addictions and manage their health conditions so they can live a normal life. The connection between helping out your community by doing your everyday job makes me feel very proud to be a Pharmacy Technician. I highly recommend the profession of Pharmacy Technician as a career in health-care.”