Jeff Green | Aug 07, 2008
Feature Article - August 7, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - July 31, 2008 Sharbot Lake Pharmacy goes the extra mile, or twoBy Jeff Green
It all started when members of a book club were chatting over coffee. The conversation turned to the local pharmacy in Sharbot Lake, and the proprietors, Nick and Jocelyn Whalen.
“We all thought there should be some sort of award for the two of them, for everything they do for their clients and for the community,” recalls Linda MacDonald, “and I drew the short straw and got the job of looking for one.”
Linda MacDonald contacted the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) to ask about awards and found one that seemed appropriate, the Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia Award for outstanding service to the community.
Without telling Nick and Jocelyn, Linda wrote a nomination letter and about a dozen other people wrote testimonials. The whole package was submitted to the OPA in early April, and a couple of weeks ago Jocelyn Whalen received a phone call from the President of the Ontario Pharmacists Association telling her she was the Ontario recipient of the award.
She was embarrassed by all the attention she is receiving, but pleased to be honoured in this way.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said, when interviewed at the pharmacy earlier this week, “that someone from a little country pharmacy could win an award like this. He even said it was a unanimous decision.”
Although it may have been a surprise for Jocelyn Whalen, the customers and staff who have been on the receiving end of the kind and thoughtful service the Sharbot Lake Pharmacy has brought to the region over the past nine years were not surprised in the least.
An example of the kind of “extras” that the Whalens bring to their business was referred to in Linda MacDonald’s letter.
“It is not unusual to catch a glimpse of Nick trudging through the snow to deliver not only prescriptions, but also mail and a bag of groceries to a shut-in customer”.
And among the testimonials, Penny and Ed Badour wrote, “There are many people in our rural area with little education and Jocelyn makes a special point to take this sort of ‘quiet time’ to read the instructions to clients and verify that they do, indeed, understand. She often phones or asks clients to call her with questions, and she makes this request so unobtrusively that no one is ever embarrassed. She has a gentle and mild manner about her which invites questioning and she never, ever ‘talks down’ to anyone.”
This winter, a small private room was added to the pharmacy expressly for consultations with clients.
Even though the award officially is going only to Jocelyn, since she is the pharmacist, all of the letters and testimonials talk about Nick and Jocelyn as a team since they work as partners and both go the extra mile for the community at large.
Wyeth is a large international pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products company based in the United Sates. The bowl of Hygeia (the Greek goddess of health) was established 50 years ago in the American Midwest. Within a couple of years the award had spread to all the American states and in 1961 it was introduced to Canada.
The nomination form for the award explains its purpose in one sentence: “The Bowl of Hygeia is awarded annually to a pharmacist who has compiled an outstanding record of community service which, apart from his/her specific identification as a pharmacist, reflects well on the profession.”
The award will be presented to Jocelyn Whalen at a gala dinner during the annual meeting of the Ontario Pharmacists Association in Niagara Falls in September. The following weekend, the Whalens will join the winners from the other Canadian provinces in Ottawa where they will stay at the Chateau Laurier.