Hospital Pharmacy

Pharmacists have always been seen as the experts in medication, in terms of advising the patient and also ensuring that medication is prescribed and given safely. The job itself is so varied; the application of the clinical skills is really exciting. I think pharmacists are uniquely positioned to use their skills both as experts in medicines and also in the wider team, in terms of their communication and their ability to communicate with patients as well, to reassure them that the therapy is appropriate for them at the given time. It’s really important that patients understand that pharmacists are the experts in medicines. The pharmacist forms a very important role within the multidisciplinary team within the hospital. They are the first individuals who will look at the medications of the patient; help and improve patient quality of care and also the length of stay by having the appropriate medications at the right time, we ensure the patient gets better in time, which also ensures the patient goes home sooner. An advanced specialist pharmacist has usually developed clinical expertise in a specific specialty and they than take on an advisory role within that specialism, so it’s no longer just about the patients, but it’s also about that speciality and how pharmacy can work in speciality and also has a corporate role. On a typical day I will spend about half of my time working on the acute medical wards, which are a very fast-paced environment. I will be supporting the pharmacy technicians and obtaining medication histories from patients. This will involve liaising with doctors, nurses, specialist nurses, dietitians and the patients and carers. What I most enjoy about my job is that I feel I have the best of both worlds in my current role, so on the one hand I’m still maintaining clinical contact with patients and that keeps my knowledge up-to-date and I am actually using all that information that I use at University and I feel that I make a difference to patients on an individual basis. What a junior pharmacist does here is rotate within a range of specialities, so different medical and surgical wards building a strong foundation really in clinical pharmacy within a hospital. Ultimately the focus is on patient care. So with our critical medicines it’s really important that firstly they are prescribed appropriately and correctly and secondly that we’ve ensured the supplies to the patients don’t miss doses. For example, with Parkinson’s disease it’s important that you get the right dose at the right time to prevent any complications of poor treatment. The most rewarding aspect of the hospital pharmacy role for me is going home and knowing that you’ve actually made an impact on a patients care; you’ve improved their care and actually every day you will be making clinical interventions. They maybe small or maybe big, but they are both equally as important if they are improving the care of our patients and actually you will get to a point where you reflect on the ward and wonder how it would actually get by effectively without the pharmacy team input.

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