Monday, August 8, 2011

Diving into Oncolgy

Posted by Nina Cimino at Monday, August 08, 2011

After the first week of my first rotation, I cannot believe how much I'm learning! I'm spending the month rotating with the inpatient clinical pharmacy specialist in an oncology unit in a community teaching hospital. A typical day goes like this: I get to the hospital in the morning, usually about 2-2.5 hours prior to rounds. For those first few hours, I go through the charts of the patients I've been assigned by my preceptor to catch up on what happened with each patient overnight. I look at things like their lab tests, any new medications that have been started, and nursing notes to get an idea of how the patient is doing overall. My goal is to know what's going on with the patients so I can be ready for rounds. One thing I've noticed on rounds is that if I'm better prepared and can answer the team's questions about a patient's medications right away, they seem to trust me more with other questions as they come up.

During rounds I visit the patient rooms with my preceptor, and either the nurse practitioner or physician, or both. This is also my chance to ask any questions about the patients, or to make any recommendations for the patient (only after I've discussed them with my preceptor, of course!).

After rounds I work up my patients, going through each of their medical problems and any updates. If I have time, I can research disease states that my patients have, or work on some of my long term projects (journal club, newsletter article, nursing in-service, or topic discussions). Later in the afternoon, I present my patients and their updates to my preceptor, so we have a chance to discuss any recommendations that may need to be made. Twice a week, we also have topic discussions about different oncology disease states.

So far, this rotation has been very challenging, but also extremely rewarding. While at times the amount of information I need to learn is overwhelming, it's also rewarding to know that each day I have the opportunity to have a positive impact on my patients.

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