Born in Kelowna, but raised in the small community of Innisfail, Alberta, helping others has always been important to Courtney Rigel. Growing up in this town of just 7,700 people, she wanted to become a doctor, but after a year at university, she discovered that her true passion lay elsewhere.
LIFE IN INNISFAIL
In her late teens, she met her future husband, Mathew, at church. Their shared journey led to marriage, and the joy of parenthood arrived soon after, with the birth of their son Kane. Life was good in Innisfail.
Community pharmacy is an excellent way to serve the community, care for people in need, and help them.
While working as a cashier at No Frills, a position in the pharmacy department captured Courtney’s interest. She was happy to secure the role of Pharmacy Assistant with Loblaw Pharmacy, explaining, “Community pharmacy is an excellent way to serve the community, care for people in need, and help them.”
Seven years into her role in the pharmacy, Courtney knew she had found her passion. With each interaction, with every prescription, she constantly strives to make a positive impact in her community. With a smile, Courtney explains, “Pharmacy is all about learning. I love taking in new information. Every day presents an opportunity for me to learn.”
BACK TO SCHOOL
Seeking to further her career, Courtney found a newspaper clipping her grandfather had given her eight years ago, advertising Stenberg College’s Pharmacy Technician program. With a plan for career growth, she enrolled in May 2022, with Mathew’s full support. The online nature of the program allowed her to balance her roles as a full-time student, full-time Pharmacy Assistant, a nurturing mother, and a dedicated wife.
Caroline Hultgren, Co-Department Head for the program remarks that Courtney was, “hard-working, keen to learn, and had one of the highest grade point averages (GPA) in her class. She was always willing to help and even assisted instructors in setting up labs. Even though she came to the program with prior pharmacy experience, she was extremely humble and always jumped in to help fellow students. She excelled in both of her practicums.”
One of her classmates, Jane Lee, adds, “Courtney was a profound help to our entire class. She was always willing to lend a helping hand to classmates who reached out to her. Courtney’s many years in pharmacy allowed her to help lead many students to success. This is a shining example of her dedication to the profession and strong leadership skills. Her experience and diligence will lead to a successful career as a Pharmacy Technician.”
Even though she came to the program with prior pharmacy experience, she was extremely humble and always jumped in to help fellow students.
Courtney was able to apply theory to practice during her practicum. Her hospital practicum was at Kelowna General Hospital for four weeks, and her community practicum was at London Drugs for five weeks. Shadowing Pharmacy Technicians at both locations, she had the opportunity to observe their daily tasks and responsibilities. Working incredibly hard, she excelled in the program and graduated with an impressive 97% GPA.
LOVE FOR COMMUNITY
Courtney truly enjoys supporting her community: “I really like interacting with patients and building relationships.” Positioned on the frontline, she looks forward to fulfilling patient needs, answering their questions, and ensuring their medical needs are met with care and precision. For Courtney, being a Pharmacy Technician isn’t just a job; it’s a rewarding career that makes a positive impact, one patient at a time.
Brad Handford, Courtney’s Pharmacy Manager at Loblaw Pharmacy, speaks highly of her. He states, “Courtney has truly exemplified leadership in our pharmacy. Through her enthusiastic and dedicated on-the-job learning, she has mastered the intricacies of her position. Her commitment is truly commendable.”
I really like interacting with patients and building relationships.
PATHWAY TO THE FUTURE
After completing the program, Courtney continues to work at Loblaw Pharmacy as a Provisional Pharmacy Technician. She is currently in the process of completing her Level Three Structured Practical Training (SPT) in Alberta, which is required to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician (RPhT).
In September 2023, Courtney is scheduled to take the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Exams. Once fully licensed, she will be able to take on the technical aspects of pharmacy work, freeing up Brad’s time to focus on clinical tasks. “It will increase the impact we can have in our community.”
Courtney’s future as a Pharmacy Technician is not just about a career: it’s a calling to serve her community in Innisfail and make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. As for the future, if the opportunity arises, Courtney would love to become a Pharmacist. Everything is falling into place for Courtney.