Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rotation 1: Maximizing Patient Interactions in Community Pharmacy!

Posted by Ruixin Shi at Sunday, June 21, 2015

Going into my rotations, I can't say that I was extremely excited about having my Community Practice APPE at a chain retail pharmacy. I've worked retail for about 2 years prior and thought that I have seen everything community pharmacy has to offer. However, after spending the past five weeks with my awesome preceptor Alan, I have a renewed appreciation for community practice and the importance of building patient-pharmacist relationships.

A Positive Role Model
Alan is a fantastic preceptor and great role model for pharmacists. You really see that he wants to make a difference in community pharmacy and improve the lives of his patients. Alan handles the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) at the store and he frequently assist other stores with their MTM cases. Alan always takes the extra effort to assess patient's management of their disease states and providing extra counseling for lifestyle modifications and adverse effect prevention.You really see the trust patients have for Alan and all the patient-pharmacist relationships he built over the years was truly inspiring to see. Alan is also a great teacher, frequently spending one-on-one time with me to improve my patient counseling skills and review therapeutic topics. He really takes what I want out of this rotation into consideration when planning projects and activities and I feel like I'm learning something new from him everyday.

Maximizing Patient Interaction
My primary goal for this rotation is to improve my communication skills with patients. If there are any counseling opportunities or if patients had questions for the pharmacist, I would always be the first person to speak with the patient. Alan would also have me frequently walk the OTC aisles to look for patients in need of OTC recommendation. I was initially quite overwhelmed by the amount of patient interaction, as communication skills have never been my strong point. However, Alan allowed me practice counseling with him for the Top 100 drugs, and I began to realize the importance of translating the drug information into patient friendly terms so that the patient will not be scared or overwhelmed. After a couple weeks into it, I felt much more confident in my abilities to counsel patients.
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MTM in Action
One of my main responsibility in this rotation is to assist Alan with MTM and Comprehensive Medication Reviews (CMR). I had the opportunity to take part in four CMRs, both in person and on the phone. Alan would have me work up the patient the day prior to CMR, which consists of recording every drug the patient is on, assess adherence, gap in therapy, and assessment of patient's disease state. I would also call the physician's office to address any problems we identified during the CMR. MTM is a very progressive service for community pharmacy, as it improves patient safety, saves costs, and allows for more clinical roles for community pharmacists.

A Change in Perspective 
Prior to this rotation, I had some major preconceived bias regarding community practice. I thought that it was a stagnant field of pharmacy full of jaded and cynical pharmacists. I could not have been more wrong. With MTM, I caught a glimpse of the potential and possibilities for the future of community pharmacy, and as long as there are pharmacists like Alan, community pharmacy could really become an important cornerstone of healthcare.

Thanks for reading my experiences with rotation one. Moving onto Emergency Medicine for rotation two!

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