By Stephen T. Smith, RPH, MS, FASHP, director of Pharmacy Services at Karmanos
Michigan Pharmacy Week, which takes place October 16-22, 2011, gives pharmacists across the state a platform to reach out to their patients and communities. It also gives us a chance to showcase the vital services and care that pharmacists provide on a daily basis to improve the well-being and health of our patients.
At the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, our pharmacists have many different roles. Pharmacist specialists provide direct patient care services by attending rounds with physicians, fellows and residents; adjusting medication dosages; providing counseling regarding medications and chemotherapy; and resolving medication problems. Clinical pharmacists verify correctness and appropriateness of all medication orders; adjust antibiotics and anticoagulation medications for patients; validate chemotherapy regimens for all patients; and check chemotherapy and IV preparation.
Certified pharmacy technicians assist our pharmacists by performing various support duties. Their responsibilities include filling prescription medication orders; preparing IV solutions and chemotherapy; delivering medications to patient care areas; and medication replenishment in the stock room. All pharmacy technicians at Karmanos have passed a national certification examination. These technicians possess the advanced drug knowledge and skill set needed to help the pharmacist provide optimal drug therapy to our cancer patients. National pharmacy technician day is October 25, 2011.
Pharmacy week is also an opportunity for Karmanos pharmacists to interact directly with patients, family members and employees with a “Brown Bag” event. As part of Michigan Pharmacy Week at Karmanos, we will host an “Ask the Pharmacist” information session for patients, from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, October 19, in the Patient Education Room in the Wertz Clinic. Patients and employees are encouraged to bring in their medications and have the pharmacist review the purpose of the medication, proper monitoring and management of any side effects they may encounter.
Celebrating Pharmacy Week allows us to appreciate pharmacists and technicians who are part of the team of healthcare professionals promoting the safe and effective use of all medications.