Thursday, October 27, 2011

Motivational Interviewing in Action

Posted by Nina Cimino at Thursday, October 27, 2011

This week, I started a new rotation in ambulatory care at the Veteran's Administration. I have been really excited in anticipation of this rotation, because ambulatory care has been a practice area of interest for me. This rotation is a great opportunity to experience ambulatory care first hand, and to see if it might be right for me!

For those of you who may not know what ambulatory care pharmacy is, I'll give a brief overview. Clinical pharmacists work within outpatient clinics, and there they help to manage a patient's chronic diseases and related medications. There are endocrinology clinics where pharmacists focus on caring for diabetes patients, primary care clinics, pain management clinics, anticoagulation clinics ... you get the idea.

Within ambulatory care, pharmacists have "subspeciality" areas, and they work in a clinic to care for those patients who fall under that subspecialty. I have been attracted to ambulatory care because it seems to provide a great mix of patient interaction and clinical pharmacy. I don't think it's for everyone as there's a lot of motivational interviewing and patient education involved. But if you like that -- as I do -- ambulatory care pharmacy could be for you.

One experience I really enjoyed this week was attending a smoking cessation clinic that is run by the pharmacy residents. Not only was this a great chance to interact with residents, it was really exciting to see them running a clinic! Veterans who are interested in smoking cessation can drop by the clinic (it's an hour long and held twice per week). Once there, they discuss smoking cessation therapies and behavior change strategies. If needed, the residents can place medication orders for the smoking cessation therapies, but they also provide a lot of help by facilitating group discussion and nudging the veterans toward self-directed behavior change.

So far, ambulatory care pharmacy practice has been even better than I hoped! I'm so excited to see more of this practice environment in the weeks ahead!

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