New pharmacist a welcome addition

The shortage of pharmacists in Canada meant Kim Metke, the local owner of Pharmasave and the Clinic Pharmasave, had to use his imagination in recruiting new staff.
Metke hired his newest pharmacist, Gesine Haink, after conducting interviews in Germany nearly three years ago.
He said the shortage of pharmacists in Canada is “extreme,” but added “unlike Canada, there does appear to be adequate pharmacists in Germany.”
Of the 18 people Metke interviewed in Germany, Haink was “one of our top one or two picks, but she was also finishing off her doctorate.”
Because she was still in school, Haink was not available to begin work right away, so Metke continued his search. While there were many pharmacists initially interested in the job, some changed their minds once they considered the distance from home.
“The family ties got a little strong,” he noted.
That’s why two years after the initial interview, Metke again contacted Haink to see if she still was interested in moving to Canada. Luckily, she was.
“I was curious to live somewhere else, to see what it feels like, and to meet different people,” Haink said.
A 29-year-old from Dresden, Haink visited Fort Frances two or three times last year before finally moving here with her husband at the end of May.
Haink, in addition to being a fully-licensed pharmacist in Germany, also has a Ph.D. in medicine. But before she can work as a pharmacist in Canada, she must take a series of exams to ensure her qualifications match those of a Canadian pharmacist.
The exams will test her knowledge of pharmaceuticals, as well as English and jurisprudence. It likely will be another eight months before Haink is fully certified to work as a pharmacist in Canada.
In the meantime, she has been working as a pharmacy technician, learning the computer system at Pharmasave and the names of drugs in Canada. “We use the same drugs [in Germany], we just use different names,” she noted.
More recently, Haink has been offering public consultations about herbal medicine.
While not a registered herbalist, Haink does have an extensive knowledge of medicinal herbs and their uses from her pharmaceutical training in Germany.
“It’s much more common there. People [in Germany] usually ask for herbal medicines first,” she remarked.
In fact, the more common herbs even are covered by medical insurance, she added.
Haink believes herbal remedies can be used for various ailments, but for more serious conditions, they should be used in conjunction with more conventional medicines.
“You can use herbs as a support for different conditions,” she explained, adding she hopes to expand the selection of herbs available at the pharmacy.
Haink is available for public consultations regarding natural remedies on Thursdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Pharmasave.
Another part of her work at Pharmasave has been helping to organize different information clinics being held there, including one a few weeks ago about Alzheimer’s disease.
Haink also will assist with the smoking cessation program at the Abitibi-Consolidated mill here.
Since their arrival in late May, Haink and her husband have enjoyed kayaking and fishing, and they look forward to doing some ice climbing this winter in the Thunder Bay area.
Haink also has been impressed by the welcome she has received from people in Fort Frances. “I appreciate the people being so nice and helpful,” she said.
(Fort Frances Times)