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Pharmacist fame!

Well I hope everyone who is reading this is well, and had a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period. I enjoyed some time off, a little bit too much, but luckily I have work to recover.

Apparently this blog has become bigger than I thought it would! The link to the article appeared on the Society of Hospital Pharmacists Australia (SHPA) Facebook page, which my boss and friends were all too happy to point out. Thus, I must extend a large thank you to Skip, the director of pharmacy, for making me famous, as he encouraged me to write this.

When I came back to work, I was placed into the psychiatry unit. Now, I know the first thing that you will think when  reading this is the age old joke ‘as a patient or staff member?’ and have a good laugh to yourself. But would it be acceptable to make jokes about the oncology ward, or the trauma ward? I think not, and it is disappointing that this is still acceptable to some people in this day and age.

Pharmacy in this area is quite different to what I am used to in some ways, and in others it is quite similar. For example, if a medical patient does not take their medication then they can become unwell, just the same as in psychiatry. Hence our ability to convey the importance of taking medication is still just as important. Some patients, just as in medical wards, need help remembering their tablets so have dose administration aids (DAA) such as Webster packs (packs with seven days’ worth of tablets split into morning, midday, dinner and bedtime doses) to ensure they have the right tablets at the right time. However, no DAA is perfect, but merely helps a little bit.

Taking a medication history here can be just as challenging as a medical ward, but instead of the patient forgetting their medications that they take at home, they may be so thought disordered that you cannot maintain a proper conversation with them or take any reliable information from the conversation. This is where pharmacists’ skills come in, in being able to find out the pharmacy the patient goes to, the person who looks after the medication, the prescriber etc.

After this, I have been doing a job called ‘interviews’ or admissions. Essentially it entails moving around the hospital interviewing patients about the medications that they were taking at home prior to admission. Now, I like ward pharmacy, but this job is the best! I get to move around to all the different wards, see many conditions, have direct patient contact and (sorry to all the nurses) not get bugged for medication that is needed for ward patients! Can it get any better!? Probably not I think.

Between two pharmacists, I believe it would be possible in Frankston Hospital to interview and get a medication history for every patient within a day of their admission. How do I know this? Well on Tuesday, this was the case with myself and another pharmacist. However, there is usually only one interview pharmacist on the wards at any one time, and not on every day or weekends. In a perfect world it would be an invaluable service to have pharmacists on every day doing this job. However, I do not have the power to do this so it will remain a dream for now

While I think of it, the best part of the interviewing position is being able to wander around the hospital and bump into staff that I have previously worked with and have not seen for a while, which really brightens up my day, so thanks to anybody who has said ‘hi’ recently.

Well, I have to go and pretend I am working again 😉 But, until next time, I’m Ron Burgundy. (How good is that movie?!)

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