Pharmacy News

Entries for April 2020

The Pharmacy Champion

Marla Ekola, Pharm.D., BCPS, MBA, McLaren Greater Lansing, Lansing

Champion comes from the Latin word campionem for "gladiator, fighter."1 Being a champion requires self-determination, reflection and courage. We stand before the crowd and pronounce our intent to be the best and advocate for our patients. We build alliances and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure continuity of care. When faced with challenges, we coalesce and actively engage those who can influence change. From the day that we put on the white coat, we proclaim the importance of pharmacy to improve the care and outcomes of our patients.

Being a champion starts where everything starts… at home. Our pharmacy home is where we spend much of our time. Each day we must positively model the importance of active involvement as pharmacy professionals with our peers and fellow employees. Our actions, more than our words, will inspire others to strive to excel. We must take every opportunity to be a pharmacy champion for our coworkers daily.

Be a pharmacy champion in your hospital or organization. Open doors, break down silos and engage our partners in healthcare through open lines of communication. Let other leaders know how collaboration with pharmacy will improve care and identify efficiencies. As our patients navigate their own personal healthcare journey, they expect and deserve dedicated teams of professionals who understand the challenges along the way. The pharmacy champion ensures other members of the team understand the importance of medication management throughout the continuum of care. Only through alignment and understanding will we improve the patient experience and outcomes.

Health care today is fraught with many issues brought about by well-intentioned lawmakers. Too often, legislation is proposed without the insight or input of front-line practitioners. As frustrating as this can be, we can be a voice for pharmacy and can improve pharmacy practice. Pharmacy champions continue to provide policymakers with a greater understanding of how potential legislation impacts patient care and their constituents. Involvement in local pharmacy advocacy groups provides insight on upcoming legislative proposals. Engaging your state and congressional representatives on a regular basis through email, phone calls and even over a cup of coffee at a local shop builds relationships and trust. Your representatives want to understand how they can best design policy to provide for improved healthcare outcomes. You are the voice of the patient as it pertains to medication, from drug shortages to the cost of medications. There is no one better suited to educate and advocate.

The pharmacy champion must charge forward, well-armed with experience, knowledge and compassion to grow the profession. Each day, we have the opportunity to influence our co-workers and generate momentum through our own example and desire to be the best. In collaboration with nurses, physicians, administrators and others, we will find ways to deliver safer, quality, cost-efficient pharmaceutical care. We must understand the underlying dynamics that drive healthcare challenges in our neighborhoods, state and country. Engagement and advocacy to initiate change in policy is our duty. The determination and skill used to wield the power of the pharmacy champion will ensure our patients are free from harm.



Posted in: Professional Practice
Student Pharmacists as Practice Extenders in an Interprofessional Educational Setting

Lienna LaBarge, Pharm.D. Candidate 2020; Michelle Sahr, Pharm.D., Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, Big Rapids

The profession of pharmacy is one that offers an abundance of opportunity to make a significant impact on patient care, and the profession has continued to expand its role in patient care by integrating pharmacy services into many multidisciplinary teams among a variety of healthcare settings. An example of this successful coordination can be found at Ferris State University’s Interprofessional Wellness Clinic which features collaboration among students and faculty from nursing, optometry and pharmacy professions to provide comprehensive services to patients with diabetes. Pharmacists involved with this clinic have established their own independent role, as well as integrated themselves as irreplaceable members of the healthcare team. In order to establish that role, it is important that pharmacists can offer services that may not otherwise be available to patients or offer expertise that can complement care provided by other professions. At the Wellness Clinic, pharmacy staff accomplishes this by making targeted interventions regarding pharmacotherapy for each individual patient, while working with other professions to address lifestyle interventions and preventative care in a patient-centered, team-based approach.

Medication regimens are often a crucial part of care for patients with diabetes and can also be a source of frustration, confusion and burden. At the Wellness Clinic, pharmacists work to discover and consider these barriers when making their targeted interventions and rely on effective interprofessional collaboration to promote this process. Patients at the Wellness Clinic will travel between three rooms, as each of the three professions (nursing, optometry and pharmacy) addresses a different aspect of care. Cohesion is first promoted through use of shared Electronic Health Records (EHR) so pharmacists may easily access information gathered by the other healthcare providers and apply that to their assessment. There is also robust verbal communication between each profession as the patient is handed off from each room. Additionally, student pharmacists on rotation are encouraged to stay with the same patient during the nursing and optometry assessments. The student is then able to present the patient information that was gathered to the pharmacist. Students provide insights or information that may not be recorded in the EHR, as some information that another profession might not have felt pertinent to document may actually be influential for pharmacy’s process. Together, the pharmacist and student pharmacist can discuss and develop a plan with the patient that considers many different factors. The use of these methods to promote effective interprofessional communication has allowed pharmacists to provide well-rounded care that also addresses the needs of each individual patient.

In addition to direct involvement with patient care, pharmacy faculty and students at the Wellness Clinic also serve as providers of education through delivery of in-service and educational presentations to the nursing and optometry professions before clinic starts. These presentations have helped to expand knowledge about the contributions that pharmacists can make as part of the healthcare team and have facilitated a robust learning environment for all participants. Students from all three professions can take away lessons about communication and patient care, as well as gain experience in areas of clinical practice such as rounding with a team. The opportunity for students to participate with other professionals in this real-life setting is one of great value. The sooner students are able to practice interprofessional collaboration like this, the easier it becomes for this type of effective communication to become a part of their everyday practice in the future.

Posted in: Professional Practice
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