Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Newsflash: Its August. (Part 1)

Posted by Kristen Gardner at Tuesday, August 07, 2012

I need to catch up. Rotation 2 first.

Rotation #2 at Walgreens specialty pharmacy (HIV/AIDS) in Chicago, IL was AMAZING! If you can find a way to financially survive in Chicago for 5 weeks, you should definitely apply for this rotation site.

I did not find the rotation site to be as intense or too steep of a learning curve as others have described it previously (I am not saying it is laid back by any means!).  This is likely explained by the following:

  •  I quickly realized that I was really lucky in the information I ended up reading to prepare for the rotation prior to starting because even though he tells you what you should know prior to the first day, it is a lie! He quizzes you on 80 million other topics too! Well, maybe just 3 other topics.
  • My personality is similar to his. Lets get down to business, focus, and be productive and efficient.
  •  I have thick skin. I am not a super sensitive person and often unaffected by intense personalities.
  • I love tests! So the 75 question final exam did not bother me. It is fun to see what you know, what you do not know, and laugh when you think, “How did I choose that answer?”.

I will admit the first day or two was intense because he does not yet know you or your abilities. This quickly changes as you engage in discussions every single day and he begins to learn your strengths and weaknesses.

The site is a low volume store. This allows you time to focus on patient care and engage in discussions constantly. You will be going about your activities in the pharmacy when you hear, “OK. Let’s talk about non-nukes.” This means you run to get your notebook, a pen, smart phone with drug apps, and your water bottle because you will be talking for the next hour and a half. Then, you learn to keep your resources very handy. He expects you to be ready 5 seconds ago. And to be organized. VERY organized. Particularly for clinic as you need to keep track of which patients require follow-up as you zip from room to room. 

I am really appreciative for the site and the 3 great pharmacists we worked with throughout our time there. They allow you to function independently as quickly as you can prove yourself. A few extra perks we experienced:

  • Janis and I attended two study sessions that area pharmacists orchestrated to study for the board certified ambulatory care pharmacy (BCACP) certification exam. There are about 8 pharmacists in the study group which meets weekly. They designate one person to serve as the topic expert and lead discussion. They go to each other’s home and out to restaurants to study. Janis and I were the study experts for the psychiatry section (YAY!) and the statistical section (little yay). It was amazing because they were excited to have us. They were SO HAPPY we understood statistics (props to UM) because they honestly had no idea. But, by the end they were speeding through the practice questions and choosing correct answers!
  •  The other pharmacist, Brittany, recently started staffing in a hepatitis C clinic at the HBHC. She invited Janis and I to come to clinic with her one day! Therefore, we also learned about the new hepatitis C protease inhibitors, boceprevir and telaprevir. Those drugs are confusing even after completing 3.0 of continuing education credits! We practiced counseling sessions with ribavirin, peg-intron, and the protease inhibitors. We went over a detailed patient case for practice too.

After completing this rotation, I realized I really enjoy managing patients with HIV/AIDS. I met some awesome patients and am sad I will not see them again! I will definitely be looking at the patient population served by various residency programs and what percentage of patients have this diagnosis. I am hoping it works in my favor because there is a lot of co-morbidity between HIV/AIDS and mental illness with each disease having similar complications (side effects, adherence, significant drug-drug interactions with treating both).  

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