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Ponoka pharmacist recognized for mentorship excellence

Award recognizes excellence among mentors in the pharmacy profession
Ponoka Rexall pharmacy manager Greg Bendera.

Ponoka Rexall pharmacy manager Greg Bendera is the first-ever recipient of the Alberta Pharmacists' Association's Mentorship Award. 

"It's the very first time they've presented that award," said fellow pharmacist and co-worker Katie Driver, who nominated Bendera. 

Wanting to recognize Bendera for his caring nature towards patients and staff, Driver nominated him in a few categories. The association actually reached out to her because they were thinking about this new mentorship award and thought the nomination application may be better suited to the new category. 

"He's been such a significant influence in my life and my career ... I think (the mentorship award) fits him to a T," said Driver. 

The association's annual awards ceremony was held April 25, at the Delta hotel in Edmonton. 

The inaugural award recognizes excellence among mentors in the pharmacy profession.

In Bendera's awards bio on the association's website, it says Bendera has guided numerous student pharmacists over the years, "imparting clinical skills and instilling a sense of responsibility," advocates for his staff and fosters a safe, supportive working environment and is involved in the local community. 

"Greg’s commitment to nurturing dreams, fostering excellence and positively impacting patients, students, and his pharmacy team makes him a true embodiment of a mentor and a leader in the pharmacy profession."

He was also the 2017 recipient of the Preceptor of the Year award by the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta.

Bendera has a passion for patient care, especially when it comes to mental health. 

Driver said she's seen Bendera drop everything he was doing to sit with a patient and talk to them about their new anti-depressant or other prescription to answer any questions they have to ensure they are completely comfortable and have a strategy going forward.

When people see their pharmacist once a month, or once every three months, but they remember your name and your story, it reminds people that no matter their situation, "You can do this," said Driver.

"He makes them feel like they matter as a human being," said Driver, adding she's seen it make an "extreme difference" in the lives of their pharmacy students, other staff members and their patients.

In her own life, Driver says Bendera's mentorship had a huge impact on her self worth and her family life and helped her find a sense of purpose.

"He does so much for the patients in our community that I felt he deserved this recognition," said Driver. "He's always focusing on recognizing other people."

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I'm a reporter for Ponoka News and have lived in Ponoka since 2015.
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