Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rotation 5: Community Pharmacy with a Twist

Posted by Millie at Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hey there,

Currently writing this entry on the train back to Ann Arbor from Chicago! Another P4 (Erika) and I just finished our rotation at a specialty community pharmacy that serves a health center with a patient population of primarily LGBTQ individuals and a focus on HIV/AIDS. As Jimmy, another P4 blogger on here, wrote about a few entries back, this rotation provided us with a lot of really great opportunities to practice our patient counseling skills and learn so much about a disease state we don’t really focus on during pharmacy school.

The past 5 weeks have basically been “HIV Bootcamp” where we learned EVERYTHING about the disease state and medications used in prevention and treatment. HIV medications have not only a trade name and generic name, but also a 3-letter code which – for some of the meds – is interestingly enough related to the medicinal chemistry of their mechanism. We discussed at length and were expected to understand the DHHS guidelines for HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections, as well as the CDC guidelines for pertinent STDs (prevention and treatment). We were both amazed at how much we learned in the span of just 5 weeks!

Typical days at the pharmacy included making pillboxes for patients, utilizing the script processing software, calling patients to remind them of their refills, counseling patients, and of course administering vaccines. On our first day it all seemed unfamiliar and confusing to us, but by the end of the rotation we were able to better understand the workflow and even grow much more comfortable in verifying prescriptions! We spent two afternoons out of the week at an HIV clinic downtown where we were able to meet with patients, discuss their HIV regimens, and assess their other comorbidities. This rotation really helped improve my SOAP note writing and patient counseling skills.

During any time that we had available, we worked on multiple projects, including data for an MTM study, developing a patient case for continuing education, creating a poster for an HIV/STD conference, and giving a presentation on antidepressants in HIV positive patients to an interdisciplinary team. We were also actually able to attend that HIV/STD conference and my favorite seminar during the conference was one on transgender individuals and barriers they face in receiving good health care. If you want to hear about it, definitely contact me and I will tell you all about it!

Overall, this was definitely one of my favorite rotations. Since this rotation fell during the October/November months, Erika and I had additional challenges of not only keeping up with the large work load for this rotation but also completing our PharmD Investigations manuscripts and posters, completing P4 seminar quizzes, and preparing for post-graduate plans. However, I would not trade my experience for anything and I really enjoyed these last 5 weeks (though I am definitely ready for a nap now)! My advice would be to make sure you come into the rotation with a good mindset of working hard and trying to learn as much as you can.

P.S. We also happened to be in Chicago during a very exciting time of when the Cubs won the World Series (streets were packed!), as well as Michigan beating Michigan State in football! J

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