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Nova Scotia Health - Central Zone, Pharmacy Residency Program

In affiliation with Dalhousie’s College of Pharmacy, Nova Scotia Health – Central Zone pharmacy department, is proud to offer a 52-week post-graduate accredited pharmacy (year 1) residency program. The program was established in 1972 and has graduated over 100 successful ACPR candidates from the program.

Using structured rotations through various areas of pharmacy practice, the program aims to develop residents into highly qualified pharmacists with an exemplary level of patient care and practice abilities. The purpose of the pharmacy residency program is to provide a practical learning environment and preceptor role models, help residents develop the necessary skills, knowledge and values required to be a competent and progressive pharmacy practitioner, and encourage future leaders in the profession.

Located in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the resident will have the opportunity to complete rotations at several hospital sites, including the Halifax Infirmary and Victoria General Sites. The breadth and variety of rotations of the program provides the resident with a broad range of experiences in the field of pharmacy designed to train competent pharmacists capable of working to their full scope of practice in Atlantic Canada and beyond. The residents will also have the opportunity to network with fellow pharmacy residents from the other Dalhousie affiliated residency programs at the IWK (Nova Scotia) and Horizon Health (New Brunswick).


Nova Scotia Health and the IWK have partnered on developing a collaborative Provincial Diversity and Inclusion Framework to guide the implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the healthcare system and across the province. The NS Health-CZ pharmacy residency program is committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and how to integrate these principles into the program. We recognize that the program would be strengthened by including and supporting diverse residents, preceptors, leadership, and partnerships. It is the expectation that residents and members of the pharmacy department will adhere to diversity and inclusion principles in order to provide respectful and culturally competent person-centered and family-centered care. More information can be found here: NS Health Diversity and Inclusion.



The mission of the Pharmacy Department is provide exemplary patient-partnered care through safe and sustainable medication management, quality assurance, education and research.

Within the NS Health-CZ, the Pharmacy Department is a regional service with several sites including the Halifax Infirmary, Victoria General Hospital, Dartmouth General Hospital, NS Rehab Centre, Veteran’s Memorial, Abbie J. Lane, East Coast Forensics Psychiatric Facility, Hants Community Hospital (located in Windsor, NS) and the Tri-facilities (Twin Oaks, Middle Musquodoboit, and Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital).

The Pharmacy Residency Program is based within NS Health-CZ, which provides both specialized tertiary care for all of Atlantic Canada and community hospital services for Halifax and surrounding areas.  There are two primary sites for the NS Health-CZ Pharmacy Residency Program, the Halifax Infirmary and the Victoria General Hospital.  Collectively, these two sites are referred to as the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Health Science Centre. The QEII is an academic teaching centre and is home to leading care, research, teaching and learning in all healthcare fields.

The Halifax Infirmary is home to the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Centre. It also houses a number of inpatient units (medicine, neurology, geriatrics), acute and short-stay psychiatry beds, critical care (medical, surgical and neurological) general surgery, vascular surgery, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedic surgery and a dialysis centre. The Victoria General site of the QEII is home to several inpatient units (general surgery, thoracic surgery, ENT, transplant program) and a critical care (medical and surgical) unit. It also houses the provincial Cancer Care program, the James and Edna Claydon radiation treatment centre and a number of outpatient clinics, including Infectious Diseases clinic, oncology clinics and a dialysis unit.

The Pharmacy Department offers full TPN, centralized intravenous admixture and chemotherapy admixture services. A unit-dose (including PYXIS) system has been implemented across NS Health-CZ.  The Pharmacy dispenses to outpatients receiving medications through the “high cost” government program (e.g. dialysis, HIV, multiple sclerosis) and liaises with a national chain store (onsite at the QEII HSC) for outpatients requiring home IV antibiotics. The NS Health-CZ houses the well-established Regional Drug Information (DI) Centre that serves all three Maritime Provinces.

Clinical Pharmacy services are provided in Dialysis, Emergency, Critical Care (both sites), General Medicine (Medical Teaching and hospitalist units), General Surgery, Geriatrics (in-patient, rehab and outpatient), Hematology Oncology (inpatient and Medical Day Unit), Medical Oncology (inpatients and outpatient clinics), Multi-Organ Transplant Program (both in- and outpatient), Stroke Service and Vascular Surgery. The Program also has a clinical pharmacists assigned to support the Infectious Diseases team, as well as the HIV and Hepatitis clinics, and hosts a formal Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.  Pharmacy team members are also involved in specialized programs or projects including the following: Drug Use Evaluation, Oncology Clinical Trials, Clinical Trials Support, CAR-T Therapy, Special Access Program, Outpatient Dialysis, High Cost Drug Program, COVID Therapeutics. The department is committed to patient safety and quality improvement and is actively involved in several committees including: Medication Safety Committee, IV Therapy Subcommittee, Drugs and Therapeutics Committee, program-based Quality Committees

Each year the pharmacy department is extensively involved in training and precepting undergraduate pharmacy learners, pharmacy residents, post-graduate pharmacy learners, technicians, and other health care providers through in-services and teaching sessions.  The Department has a robust research program, with several research publications and oral or poster presentations each year.


Nova Scotia Health holds Accreditation granted by Accreditation Canada in October, 2017.

The Nova Scotia Health, Central Zone Pharmacy Residency Program was granted a 4-year accreditation status by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Program (CPRB) in September, 2017. The 2021 accreditation was delayed due to the COVID19 pandemic and is tentatively scheduled as a virtual accreditation survey in September, 2022.


Program Coordinator   
Sarah Burgess, BScPharm, ACPR, PharmD   

Program Director    
Kent Toombs, BScPharm, ACPR   
902–893–5554 ext. 42300

Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy    
Regional Residency Coordinator   
Harriet Davies, BScPharm, CDE, M.Ed.   



The NS Health, CZ pharmacy residency program used the Pharmacy Residency Application and Matching System (PRAMS). For full application details including fees, and important dates and deadlines, please visit: PRAMS. All CRPB-accredited and accreditation-pending residency programs within Canada are required to participate in the CPRB PRAMS. All participating programs and applicants must abide by the PRAMS Rules of Participation.


Applicants must be a licensed pharmacist or in their final year of their entry-to-practice pharmacy degree. Applicants must be legally entitled to work in Canada. Details on eligibility criteria and admission requirements are found here: ADMISSIONS


Only those applicants selected for an interview may be contacted directly by the program coordinator. Interviews occur in November or December and have been virtual for the past 2 years given the COVID19 pandemic and restrictions.


Following the matching process (PRAMS), successfully matched applicants will be directly contacted by program coordinator and director and asked to accept the offered residency position. Once accepted, successful applicants will be required to register in the Post-Graduate Pharmacy Program and pay tuition as set by Dalhousie University: TUITION Successful applicants must also submit an official transcript upon acceptance.



The Pharmacy Residency Program at Nova Scotia Health-Central Zone (NS Health-CZ) is an organized, directed, accredited year 1 program that builds upon competencies of an accredited entry-to-practice professional degree in pharmacy. The program was established in 1972 and is affiliated with Dalhousie University, College of Pharmacy. As of 2021, the program is able to host three residents each year. The pharmacy residency focuses on experiences in the areas of direct patient care, management and improvement of medication-use systems, leadership, management of one’s own practice, provision of medication- and practice-related education, and project management.

The NS Health-CZ pharmacy residency program is accredited by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board and provides residents with a broad range of experience in pharmacy practice.  Following completion of the program requirements, a certificate is presented jointly to the Resident by NS Health-CZ and Dalhousie University, College of Pharmacy.


Through structured rotations in pharmacy practice, education, research, and administration, residency programs aim to prepare pharmacists for challenging and innovative pharmacy practice.  The purpose of the pharmacy residency program is also to develop pharmacists’ patient care skills to the “proficient” level. This represents progression beyond the “competent” level that is expected upon completion of the first professional degree.  Pharmacy residencies develop highly qualified pharmacists with clinical, interprofessional, and leadership skills that can be applied to any practice setting.


Residency program competencies, also known as education outcomes, include those listed below. The outcomes are intended to correspond with AFPC Educational Outcomes for First Professional Degree Programs in Pharmacy in Canada 2017. The competencies describe what graduated will be able to do at the end of the pharmacy residency.1

The Nova Scotia Health – CZ pharmacy residency program operates according to the standards for year 1 residency programs set out by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB). The standards can be reviewed here: CPRB Standards 2021

1 Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board Accreditation Standards 2021


The curriculum of the pharmacy residency program is designed with the goals and objectives of providing a variety of structured learning experiences to prepare residents to become highly qualified pharmacists with experience and skills in the areas of clinical patient care, education research, administration, and pharmacy practice. The program is 52 weeks in length, divided into 2 to 4 week blocks (with a few exceptions) where the residents participate in various structured learning experiences through direct patient care and non-patient care rotations. Both the teaching rotation and the major research project are longitudinal in nature and span the duration of the residency program. Residents may, on request, have the opportunity to attend a rotation at an alternative approved site (max of 4 weeks). The residency program includes 2 weeks of vacation time and the opportunity to attend one conference per year funded by the pharmacy department.

Core Rotations:

CORE rotations are scheduled in the first trimester of the program to provide residents with the foundation for developing knowledge and skill-based competencies essential for successful completion of the direct patient care component of the Residency Program. 

  1. Medication Systems (2 weeks)
  2. Drug Information (4 weeks)
  3. Introduction to Pharmaceutical Care (2 weeks)
  4. General Medicine (4 weeks)
  5. Cardiology (4 weeks)

Required Rotations:

  1. Leadership (2 weeks)
  2. Infectious Diseases (4 weeks)
  3. Critical Care (4 weeks)
  4. One of Haematology or Medical Oncology (4 weeks)
  5. Teaching Rotation (Longitudinal)
  6. Major Project (Longitudinal; max 10 weeks)

Elective rotations:

  1. Geriatric Medicine (4 weeks)
  2. Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  3. Mental Health (4 weeks)
  4. General Surgery (4 weeks)
  5. Vascular Surgery (4 weeks)
  6. Orthopedic surgery (4 weeks)
  7. Antimicrobial Stewardship (4 weeks)
  8. Solid Organ Transplant (4 weeks)

Longitudinal Teaching Rotation

This rotation is required and longitudinal in nature. The resident will participate in the Pharmacy Skills Lab and developing workshops, provide lectures on Skill Lab topics, and function as a Skills Lab demonstrator to undergraduate pharmacy students at the Dalhousie College of Pharmacy over the course of the academic year. The resident will be involved in developing and delivering educational programming with a focus on facilitation, direct instruction, modelling, and coaching. The resident will be able to apply principles of educational theory to effectively develop and deliver educational content to learners. The resident will be able to discern among differences in learning styles and determine the best method to provide education to the learner(s) in a given situation. The residents will also explore the development of a teaching philosophy and teaching dossier.

Major Research Project

One major research project must be completed by the resident during the year. The resident will be responsible for selection of research project early in the with assistance from their project team and program coordinator. The resident is provided with a total of 8 weeks (dispersed throughout the year), up to a maximum of 10 weeks, to complete the research project. The purpose of the residency project is to provide the resident with opportunity and experience with all aspects of developing, implementing and completing a research project. Completion of a research project allows the resident to develop skills pertaining to identification and development of a research questions, writing for submission to research and ethics, data collection, evaluation and interpretation and writing a research manuscript for communication to others. Other skills developed by the residency project include organization, time management, and self-directed learning skills.

External Rotations

Upon request, external rotations may be available and appropriate as assessed on a case-by-case basis. 


Sarah Burgess, BScPharm, ACPR, PharmD
Program Coordinator


Kent Toombs, BScPharm, ACPR
Program Director


Harriet Davies, BScPharm, CDE, M.Ed.
Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy Regional Residency Coordinator
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