Feature Story

O’Malley honoured for patient care

 | January 11, 2021

Kamloops pharmacy location provides safe space for targeted population

Clancy O’Malley (left) with pharmacist Tony Rinaldi. Photo SPIN

One of Sun Peaks’ pharmacists has been recognized for the exceptional service he provides. 

Clancy O’Malley, owner of Sun Peaks Pharmacy, was selected for the BC Pharmacy Association Excellence in Patient Care award in the fall of 2020. 

He was nominated by Caroline Cooper, a pharmacist at O’Malley’s downtown Kamloops location. 

“It was a pretty big surprise,” O’Malley said. “It’s the most touching that my coworkers and customers were willing to spend the time to nominate me.” 

The association explained that O’Malley’s changes to the location when he took over in 2018 created a welcoming environment. 

He cleared out some of the store’s retail space to make room for a table and chairs where anyone can come in and warm up, whether or not they are a patient. He also provided a computer with internet access for public use. 

O’Malley said it comes naturally to support the community, especially as many of those in the area are experiencing homelessness or struggling with mental health issues. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily anything particularly special in terms of treatment. It’s more just consistent of what I myself would expect if I went into a pharmacy. In a way it’s people that are largely forgotten or actively not treated well in the health care system at all levels.”

One patient, Joshua Higgins, told the association he credits O’Malley with his restored health and wellness after tackling mental health, substance use and chronic pain for years. 

“It’s great for people that are usually not treated very well in retail environments that they’re welcomed in and not just shooed away.

“I’m also really happy to see that the award panel, who went through all the nominations, read that one and thought that was a good example of patient care. Because it is a little bit different than a lot of pharmacies. I’m glad that it was like an endorsement they see this as a good way to operate.” 

O’Malley cited personal experience with addiction and his parent’s caring personalities as reasons for his approach. 

“It’s giving someone the room to take care of themselves, or to better look after themselves. The thing is with any kind of health, whether it’s simple like someone has an infected toe and they need to take antibiotics, they’ve got to go home and take the antibiotic. Somebody who is suffering with mental health and addiction type problems and poverty in general, they need to be given some room to just take care of themselves. We can help them but in the end they’re the ones that have to want to to a certain degree. 

“It’s a bit of space to be safe, warm and comfortable. Showing that someone does care about them…because you live in a constant state of stress, fight or flight all day, all night, all the time…so it’s sad to say but something as small as providing a safe comfortable space for someone to spend a few hours, to use the internet or whatever is as stable as some people have from day to day.” 

O’Malley said although his Sun Peaks businesses serves a different demographic, the same values of compassion, being welcoming and filling the needs of the local community remain. 

“I think if you’re really focused on trying to find out what the community needs and then, as best you can, provide that, it’s a lot easier to be successful.”