“Welcome!" Silvia greets me warmly as I step into the pharmacy. Behind her, rows of neatly arranged medications line the shelves. Her workstation is far cleaner than my own, and she's already printed and answered the interview questions I had emailed her that morning.
Silvia Kunda, registered pharmacy technician, has been a fixture at the VGH Solid Organ Transplant Pharmacy for the past 12 years. Initially trained as an engineer in Czechoslovakia, she's impeccably organized and precise as she describes her vital role with the Solid Organ Transplant Clinic. She's relied upon by transplant physicians, nurses and pharmacists to ensure that patients with a solid organ transplant receive the life-saving immunosuppressant and supportive medications they need.
This can be quite the logistical challenge as the program covers patients across British Columbia. In addition, transplant medications might need to be started or changed urgently based on bloodwork, and missed or delayed doses may lead to transplant rejection or infections. As an example, for a patient recently admitted to hospital on Vancouver Island, Silvia clarified the transplant medications and dosages with the medical team there, and then organized a supply of medications to be urgently delivered.
More routinely, Silvia sees patients as they visit the pharmacy in person. She verifies that patients are taking the right medications and dosages – in fact, she knows her patients so well she often remembers this information by heart. She also ensures patients have enough medication to last until their next clinic appointment, and makes arrangements for patients who live outside Vancouver so they can refill their medications from their nearest transplant-affiliated pharmacy.
Her colleagues are extremely appreciative of Silvia's expertise and diligence. Cindy Luo, clinical pharmacy specialist for Renal Transplant at VGH, says,“Silvia is an integral part of our team. She practices to her full scope. She alerts us to potential issues related to medications for our patients and helps us resolve them."
Fortunately for us, Silvia loves her work and finds it rewarding. “It's very satisfying to work with patients and doctors and the whole team," she says. “I am a familiar face they see every time, and they appreciate that continuity and connection."