Home > News & Events > Meet Concordia Hospital Pharmacist Gurminder Thindh: Reading, researching and writing ‘scrips

Meet Concordia Hospital Pharmacist Gurminder Thindh: Reading, researching and writing ‘scrips

Gurminder Thindh was just 16 when his older sister married a pharmacist, and he says that set him down the path to a career in pharmacy.

“I really admire my brother-in-law; he is a positive role model and I look up to him. I decided then that I wanted to emulate his strengths and character traits, and after my first year at U of M taking the pre-requisites, I applied to the Faculty of Pharmacy and followed in his footsteps. It was a great decision; pharmacy has been an excellent career.”

Thindh graduated in 2007 and immediately went to work as a member of the massive team of pharmacists supporting Health Sciences Centre’s 24-hour acute care needs.

“I graduated at a very young age and had the stamina for HSC, but it’s really an intense environment. I was working in the Adult Medical and Surgical Intensive Care Units. We were working under high pressure, and had to work 12-hour shifts. The patients I was dealing with were often very unstable or severely ill. As a pharmacist, you must work quickly and accurately to make sure they get the medicines they need in order to survive. A few minutes could mean the difference between life and death in the ICU.”

After 13 years working the rotational schedule, which included 12-hour night shifts and plenty of overtime, Thindh got married and decided that the frantic pace no longer vibed with his lifestyle.

“I really enjoyed my time at HSC, but I worked so many nights, so many weekends, and the 12-hour shifts mean you come home, eat, pack your lunch for the next day, and go to bed. When you’re working this type of schedule, you may be present physically when you get home, but it’s tough to be present emotionally and mentally.”

In 2019, Thindh saw a term position come up at Concordia Hospital, a low acuity facility, and although he wasn’t sure how he was going to do with the different pace, the role turned out to be a great fit. Fast forward four years, and now he understands why people get excited for the weekend, and he appreciates his Friday nights. Thindh works only every third weekend, and sometimes does the ‘late shift’ (10:45 AM to 7 PM) with on-call duties overnight, but nothing like the schedule he maintained at HSC.

“Occasionally I work on the surgical ward, but I predominantly work in family medicine: patients who are ill, but not gravely ill. I deal with patients who have one or two medical issues like an infection, pneumonia, allergic reaction, asthma attack, or elderly patients who need care, but they don’t require constant monitoring. Some shifts we can be run off our feet just due to the sheer quantity of work and volume of patients, but they’re typically not life or death emergencies.”

Concordia’s Pharmacy team is made up of eight Pharmacists, five Pharmacy Technicians, 15 Pharmacy Assistants, two managers and one administrative assistant. Their approach to work is supportive and collaborative. Pharmacy Technicians are Pharmacy Assistants who have taken additional education and certification enabling them to take on expanded responsibilities that would normally have been completed by the pharmacist.

“The collaborative team environment frees me up to connect directly with patients and to spend time on the wards consulting with medical colleagues because the hospitals are starting to rely on pharmacists more and more for our clinical knowledge. With the time I’ve gained, I can spend more time digging into patient charts, researching medical issues, solving problems, and be more available to answer questions for the nurses/doctors on the unit. Activities like these increase our value to the facility.”

Gurminder Thindh

Thindh says that his discipline is unique because the team is involved with almost every single patient who comes through Concordia’s doors.

“Whether we’re examining a patient’s existing medications to optimize their care, or screening new medications for safety and clinical appropriateness, we touch basically every case.”

At home, Thindh is an avid learner, reader and researcher. He digs into science fiction and fantasy books (one to two per week!), and he loves watching sports including The Winnipeg Jets and Tottenham Hotspur, a North London-based football (soccer) club.

He’s also a self-taught woodworker who designed and built a shed for his yard last summer. He has been married to his wife, Manbir, since 2016. Being married to a healthcare worker isn’t always easy, but he states she has been supportive and understanding despite the challenges.

“I know it can be hard on her as I may have to work odd hours or be away from family during holidays like Christmas. At the end of the day she knows that what I do provides a value to people in need. We are both empathetic souls and into helping others. In fact, my toxic trait is probably my desire to always help people. Someone is moving? Sure, I will help. Building something? Yes, I can help. Wanting to help others is the fundamental goal of any health care worker.”

When asked about his perspectives regarding the work he does, Thindh says he is grateful and considers himself very lucky.

“When it comes to my profession, I make a good living doing something I love and I take my responsibilities very seriously. I picture my grandmother. How would I want her to be treated and cared for? I believe that if someone is in a time of need that we should hold out a helping hand.”


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