Friday, October 14, 2016 1:10 PM

Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist

October is “American Pharmacists Month” and as part of our celebration, Pharmacy Services at Community Regional Medical Center would like to encourage members of the community to “Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist.” Knowing what medications you take and why you take them is extremely important for your health and safety, as this can help prevent harmful drug side effects and interactions.
 
We understand how confusing and overwhelming this can be, especially when you take multiple medications. Getting to know your local pharmacist and learning about what they do each day is a great way for you to have your questions answered and to help you understand your medications and how to take them correctly (here’s something to help you get started). We are hosting a variety of activities from October 16th – 22nd that illustrate the impact pharmacists have on patient care and will provide an opportunity for you to interact with our staff, ask questions, and to enter a raffle for the chance to win a free Get Well gift basket!
 
I completed Community Regional's pharmacy residency program in June of this year and am now working full-time in the main inpatient pharmacy at the hospital. While my primary work day focuses on treating patients admitted to our facility, I often receive multiple phone calls, emails, or text messages from my family members and friends throughout the week asking medication related questions, such as “Can I take these two drugs together?”, “Is this a common side effect from this medication?” and “What’s the best drug to take for these symptoms?”
 
Often times they feel as though they are ‘bothering me’ by asking these questions. But I always stress this is what I do for a living, this is what I love, and this is what I am here for. Your local pharmacist is one of the most readily-available healthcare professionals around and can often be reached 24/7 at most retail pharmacies to answer any of your questions or concerns.  Getting to know your local pharmacist and taking advantage of their free services is one of the best ways to better understand your medications, have your questions answered, and to get on track for a healthier life!

Come by the Community Regional cafeteria each day during the week of October 16th to learn about the addiction potential and risks associated with the misuse of opioid medications, such as Vicodin®, Norco®, Oxycodone®, and morphine – which are commonly used to treat pain. It is estimated that as many as one in four people who receive opioid prescriptions for long-term use struggle with addiction. More information and free handouts will be available at the pharmacy booth every day to help members of the community understand what addiction is and how to identify the signs, what to do in the case of an overdose, and who to contact for help. Some local resources for more information and help include:


Community Regional is proud to employ over 200 top qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians throughout our multiple inpatient and outpatient pharmacies, and during this month we are celebrating all of them!
 
Pharmacists at Community Regional are highly trained medication specialists who play a vital role in patient care and are essential members of the multidisciplinary healthcare teams. Community Regional offers Clinical Pharmacy Services in a variety of specialized fields including: Ambulatory Care, Burn/Surgery/Trauma, Emergency Medicine, Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Medicine Intensive Care, Oncology, Neonatal/Pediatric, and Transition of Care Services. Many of the medical teams you see around the hospital wearing white coats often include a pharmacist who help ensure you receive the appropriate medications throughout your stay and act as a direct drug-information resource for doctors, nurses, and patients. Apart from these specialists, Community Regional employs a variety of other pharmacists whose daily responsibilities include: safety and quality checks on every single medication prescribed, counseling patients on appropriate use and side effects of their medications, and answering drug information questions from patients, nurses, and doctors.
 
Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in facilitating the operational side of pharmacy and help ensure efficient and accurate preparation and delivery of medications to patients. In a retail pharmacy setting, technician’s responsibilities include: entering your prescription information into the computer system, billing your insurance company, and accurately preparing and labeling your medications for a final check by the pharmacist. In the hospital setting, pharmacy technicians are responsible for appropriately maintaining drug inventory throughout the facility by delivering patient medications to the floors and re-stocking automated medication dispensing stations and emergency crash carts. Hospital pharmacy technicians also prepare high-risk medications, such as chemotherapy agents, and help obtain accurate medication histories from patients seen in the Emergency Department.
 
Pharmacy residents are individuals who have graduated from pharmacy school and are seeking additional training to further refine and develop their clinical skills. Currently Community Regional employs three pharmacy residents each year who undergo a rigorous training program compromised of eight clinical rotations, research projects and presentations, and direct patient care responsibilities such as counseling patients on new medications. Pharmacy residents can often be found with the medical teams wearing white coats around the hospital and regularly visit patients and their families to provide medication education.
 
Remember, be sure to stop by the cafeteria each day during the week of October 16th – 22nd to pick up free handouts and information provided by Community Regional Pharmacy Services as a way for you to “Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist,” and don’t forget about the chance to enter a raffle to win a free Get Well gift basket!
 
Kailee Shearer, PharmD
Pharmacist
Community Regional Medical Center