Sunday, November 27, 2011

Behind the scenes of pharmacy administration

Posted by Nina Cimino at Sunday, November 27, 2011

After a short first week of rotation 5, I'm finding that my non-traditional rotation in pharmacy administration is answering some questions I've had, and also leading me to new ones. Here are some of the answers I've come across so far:
  • Q: Would I enjoy practicing in pharmacy administration?
A: I really think so! Ok, so it has only been 3 days, but so far I've really enjoyed my experience. One of the things I'm most excited about is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many patients, even if you're not providing their care directly. While I really love interacting with patients, I'm also really inspired by the way my administrative preceptors work so hard to help the pharmacy department achieve excellence. Whether its helping pharmacists to have the best work environment possible, solving problems to improve provision of care, advocating for projects to improve patient safety, or working on research projects to improve patient care, I have already seen how my preceptors are improving the care patients receive. While the patient may never know all that the pharmacy administration is doing, it seems that a great pharmacy department makes for great patient care. When I interned at the FDA, I was also really inspired by the pharmacists there who impact patient care on a population level- so this rotation confirms for me that there are many ways to help improve patient care. I think that solving problems and working to improve care would be very challenging, and extremely rewarding.

  • Q: What do pharmacy administrators do?
A: I think the answer to this question is one I'll be figuring out throughout my rotation, but so far I have a much better idea than before I started. To me, pharmacy administrators seem to be facilitators- or people who help make progress toward a vision of excellent patient care. There are so many projects going on behind the scenes of the pharmacy in order to keep things running and constantly improve the service provided by pharmacy. For instance, while we all are constantly working to provide safe care to patients within our existing systems, pharmacy administrators are working on new ways to further improve safety. These improvements may involve changes in policies, or implementation of new technology (such as smart pumps, bar-code medication administration, and electronic health record integration).

As my rotation continues, I think I'll continue to revise and refine my answers to these questions. I'm also on the lookout for answers to other questions, such as:
  • How do pharmacists working in administration manage to balance all of their projects and priorities?
  • Does the fact that I am enjoying pharmacy administration so much have any implications for my career path?
I'm so happy to be gaining this experience in pharmacy administration, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else lies ahead this month!

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