Thursday, July 5, 2012

Good morning, drug information, this is Kaleena.

Posted by Kaleena Johnson at Thursday, July 05, 2012

My first rotation as a fourth year was in drug information through the University. I won't lie and say I knew this would be a great rotation, I had heard mixed information regarding this rotation but in retrospect I think those comments were not describing this rotation through the University but other drug info rotations.  This was an amazing experience and one that I was lucky enough to have as my first stop.  And to put the icing on the cake, I had this rotation with my roommate Jessica Fong.

At the beginning of this rotation I was extremely wary about my skills in providing drug information and answering, sometimes complicated, questions from our callers. On the first day we received a sheet of paper with most, if not all, of the possible resources we may need on this rotation and later - it's AMAZING!! I will keep that paper with me all through rotations. We received calls from community and hospital pharmacists, physicians, nurses, dentists and patients.  Our services cater to the University of Michigan staff but we take any calls that come through our system but our staff comes first. In answering these calls you become a detective in trying to find the best answer - to me, this was extremely fun. During my 5 weeks, I received many calls that enhanced not only my knowledge of the plethora of resources at our fingertips but it geared me up for the months ahead. Some questions were simple, taking me less than 5 minutes to answer and others were more complicating, taking from several hours to a couple days. I have random knowledge in the back of brain that I am hoping will be helpful in the future.

The preceptors during our rotation were extremely helpful and always available. It is amazing how much time I was able to spend with each of my preceptors - we worked with 4 total but Gundy Sweet was our number one. My friends at other pharmacy schools have told me they don't spend much time with their preceptors and I consider myself lucky that I have had this opportunity. My favorite part of everyday was our morning 'meetings.' This was the time we took every morning to discuss the calls we had received the day before and more often then not, gain insight in how we can better answer a question or find an additional resource. It was a great way to receive input from others that may have dealt with the same question in the past or has some experience in the area. During those meetings, work talk inevitably led into personal talk with many of our mornings spent talking about a certain popular book for women and mothers the world over (hint hint). This was a time I got to know my co-workers and made the environment extremely friendly and easy to work in.

My projects included writing a drug monograph, preparing a 20 minute presentation on that drug and writing an article for the Pharmacy ForUM newsletter. Look for mine in July - it's on saquinavir and the increased risk of arrhythmias. For the drug monograph I had to conduct research on the mechanism and the current use of the drug and determine if the hospital should put it on their formulary. My suggestion will later go in front of the pharmacy and therapeutics committee. Each of these projects were great experiences in areas I am not familiar or comfortable with and they were challenging in that I had to alter my style of writing to fit the situation.  Each will be a great resource come interview time.

I am already on my second rotation at Sanofi-Aventis in Bridgewater, New Jersey. I do not have experience in industry and I'm excited to learn more about what a pharmacist can do. So far I am enjoying this rotation but it is definitely different than I expected.  I will update in a few weeks about my experience here.

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