Saturday, October 19, 2013 8:24 PM

Celebrating our medication experts

The temperatures and leaves are falling, letting us know that it is autumn again in the Central Valley and time to celebrate Pharmacy Week.  I have been involved in many Pharmacy Weeks but this will be my first at Community Medical Centers and I am excited to be a part of such a great pharmacy family. 

I have been impressed by the depth of knowledge and the wide spectrum of expertise within our department, which provides pharmacy services in inpatient, outpatient, and behavioral health as well as specialty services for the NICU and Emergency Departments, ICU teams, and Ambulatory Care Clinics.  Several of our pharmacists have completed a Pharmacy Residency, are Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy, and precept our pharmacy residents as well as pharmacy students from several schools.  Beyond pharmacists, we have technicians, messengers, buyers, educators, administrative support staff, supervisors and managers on different campuses that all work together like a well-oiled machine.

I have seen a variety of personalities amongst the pharmacy family since joining Community Regional, however, at the end of the day, all of us want the best care possible for each and every patient that steps foot on our campus.  Please join me in thanking our Pharmacy Department and celebrating them for their hard work and dedication to our patients and the profession of pharmacy. (Read more about our team and some interesting facts about pharmacy below the photo.)

Stephanie Holcomb, Pharm.D.
IV Compounding Specialist, Inpatient Pharmacy
Community Regional Medical Center


Pictured in the back row from left: Stephen Garcia, Keith Walsh, Lynn Almodovar, Noe Montoya, Jill Herndon, Amanda Rivera, Adriane Peter
Middle row from left: Alice Michiel, Carissa Hedman, Elizabeth LeBlanc, Linda Ly, Samia Sheikh, Khuyen Le, Jessica Ketch, Stephanie Zavala, Melissa Butz, Jocelyn Asano, Cassandra Contreras, Michael Yoshihara
Front Row from left: Stephanie Holcomb, Krista Panarra

Oct. 20-26, 2013 is National Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Week, a time to acknowledge the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in our nation’s health care institutions. It is an ideal time for pharmacy departments to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements in ensuring safe and effective medication use in their institutions and to share those accomplishments with patients, other health professionals, and the community.

The role of all pharmacists has significantly evolved and expanded.  In addition to the important function of compounding and dispensing medications, pharmacists have become important members of the multidisciplinary patient care teams and patient care advocates. Pharmacists in the acute care setting no longer practice only in the central pharmacy area. Pharmacists have been deployed to provide clinical services at the bedside and on the patient care units. 

Patient care has become more complex due to the use of numerous new medications used to facilitate how we care for our patients. As a result, many people are not aware that the functions of the pharmacist include, but are not limited to: preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on choosing appropriate medications for patient treatment, proper dosing and monitoring of medications, educating patients on the proper use of medications and providing education to other health care professionals.  Pharmacists have also been able to engage in enhanced patient care and educator roles due to a number of factors such as the use of highly trained pharmacy technicians and an augmented use of new technologies.

Did you know?
  • Pharmacists are the only health care professionals whose training is entirely focused on how medications are used, how medications affect the body and how to use these agents in a safe and effective manner.
  • Pharmacists receive a minimum of six years of education focused on pharmacology of medications, indications for use, and disease management.
  • Community Medical Centers has many pharmacists that have completed post-graduate residency programs. In addition, Community has pharmacists that have completed an additional specialty residency and/or obtained a board certification status.
  • Community has a Pharmacy Residency Program that has been established since 2002, and has graduated a total of 26 residents, 12 of which are currently employed here.
  • Community’s Pharmacy Services also promotes education, learning, and evidence based medicine by affiliating with University of California, San Francisco, and Thomas J Long University of Pacific pharmacy schools.
  •  Pharmacy Technicians can also receive additional certification.  The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is a national certification program designed for pharmacy technicians to work more efficiently with a pharmacist to provide safe and effective patient care.
As a result of the activities of pharmacists, pharmacy residents, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff, the use of medications within Community’s Health Care Network is facilitated in a safe, patient-centric, efficient and cost effective manner. Thank you to all employees in Community’s Pharmacy Services who dedicate their hard work for patient care.

Alice Robbins, PharmD, BCPS
PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Director
Professional Development Specialist
Community Regional Medical Center