Monday, January 6, 2014

"Drug Information Service, How Can I Help You?”

Posted by Silu at Monday, January 06, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! P4s, the mysterious year of graduation is upon us…2014! It has definitely been a busy two months with rotations, the Midyear meeting and residency applications. The past few weeks was a much-needed break. 

I was excited for this rotation at the Drug Information Service at U of M to learn about using resources to their full potential and answering questions from all parts of the health system. In the end, drug information taught me much more than just that.

The student’s responsibilities for this rotation include running the phone- and email-based drug information service, attending P&T and sub-committee meetings at the hospital, two major projects (a drug monograph and another writing project), a newsletter article, and other small assignments that may come up.

Answering questions was my favorite aspect of the rotation. A wide variety of questions came to us, from the outpatient clinics asking for antibiotic selection to UMHS pharmacies in search of compounding recipes and medication formulations to physicians inquiring about potential idiosyncratic drug reactions. UM Drug Information Service has a comprehensive collection of books, online databases, and internal resources…it was definitely a nice privilege having ease of access to these resources. The meetings we attended gave a unique insight into behind-the-scenes operations. It was empowering to see excellent pharmacy representation at both P&T and interdisciplinary committee meetings.

Of all of the duties we were assigned, the projects ended up being the most challenging aspect for me. I felt confident about my ability to complete these assignments well. However, both my projects turned out to be larger in scope than I (or my preceptors) had imagined. My first writing project regarding IV acetaminophen for post-operative pain was complex and had a much sooner deadline than anticipated along with several points of follow-up based on changing circumstances. My monograph of an ophthalmic preparation of an antiviral drug used for a very specific disease also included a cross-country search for an ophthalmic recipe and writing an informed consent. At first, I was surprised by the scope and constantly changing demands of these projects, but realized in the end that this was, after all, real life. For my preceptors, new situations and different opinions can change the direction of their work, just as it did with mine. This challenged my ability to prioritize and manage my time around meetings, assignments, and an unpredictable volume of phone questions. In the end, I appreciated that I was immersed in real work of a drug information pharmacist rather than simplified student work.  

Overall, I am thankful for all I have learned at Drug Information and for the opportunities to make a difference to improve patient care on a different level through the work I accomplished.

Stayed tuned for the next rotation …o wait…I am off! See you in February for community pharmacy.  


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