FARMINGTON – Pharmacists at Franklin Memorial Hospital will use National Hospital & Health-System Pharmacy Week, Oct. 18-24, to underscore the many new and vital roles they now play in patient care. The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.
“Many consumers are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices, and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively,” said Garry Miller, R.Ph. Franklin Memorial Hospital pharmacy director, “Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate the public about how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine.”
Hospital and health-system pharmacists have been able to take on enhanced patient-care roles because of a number of factors, including the deployment of highly trained, certified technicians and new technologies like robotics that dispense medications. As technology evolves—such as the addition of machine-readable codes to medication labels—patients will have greater opportunities to have a pharmacist involved in their care.
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today, how each one works in the body, and the ways to use each one safely and effectively. Pharmacists who graduate today receive six years of education focused on medication therapy, and many pharmacists practicing in hospitals and health systems also complete post-graduate residency programs. They advise doctors and nurses on the best medications and monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions, or mistakes.
On October 20, FMH also celebrates National Pharmacy Technician Day to recognize how important pharmacy technicians are and the supportive role they have in providing for a safe medication system. Without their support and work, the ability of pharmacists to be clinically focused would not be possible.
Operationally, the FMH pharmacy department dispensed 249,000 doses of drugs during the last year and provided clinical services that included antibiotic dosing and monitoring of kidney function to adjust dosing for certain drugs and other high risk medications to ensure the safest use of medications.
The pharmacy department is staffed by four clinical pharmacists and the director of pharmacy; and, five pharmacy technicians including a business assistant who specializes in purchasing and inventory control. They provide seven day per week coverage of the hospital pharmacy. The pharmacists are certified in medication therapy management and several of the pharmacy technicians are also nationally certified and trained in infusion and chemotherapy.