Did you know that every medicine that’s prescribed to you in the hospital is double checked against other medications you are taking by the hospital pharmacist? Of course your doctor checks, too, but this second look provides peace of mind. The hospital pharmacy works side-by-side with your provider to ensure your safety when it comes to medications.
“We have access to patient charts electronically, so when a prescription comes in we review it against the patient’s vitals, labs and drug information for dosing appropriateness, indications and drug interactions,” said Robin Thacker, PharmD, BCPS, clinical pharmacist and pharmacy manager at PMC.
That care doesn’t stop during the night. An overnight pharmacy service is available for nurses to contact with questions on medications prescribed to their patients. Nurses also use barcode scanning at the bedside—a gold standard for making sure the right drug is prescribed at the right time.
“We complete double, even triple checks, for patient safety. Anytime a medication is ordered there are at least two eyes on it,” Thacker said.
While the pharmacist spends much of her time ensuring the hospital is meeting strict rules and regulations on medication safety and reviewing patient charts, she also prepares chemotherapy and other outpatient infusions offered through Infusion Services at PMC. She has two certified pharmacy technicians—Katie Kurtz and Kaitlei Salgado—who complete several vital duties.
Pharmacy technicians make sure that every department’s personal medicine cabinet, if you will, is stocked with everything they need at all times. They also maintain crash carts, stock the pharmacy, handle invoicing, work on drug shortages and find alternatives when needed, participate in hospital committees, maintain barcode scanning for nurses, complete medication and safety inspections, and more.
“Pharmacy technicians are crucial to how the PMC Pharmacy operates. We’re a great team of three,” Thacker said.
The pharmacy plays an important role in helping the hospital avoid infections by making sure preparations of medications are sterile and by enacting many rules and regulations on how medicines are handled and administered. Patient safety is their number one concern.
“We are a crucial, behind-the-scenes player in providing quality care to our patients,” Thacker said.
Hospital pharmacies supply medicines for people staying in the hospital only, and do not act as a retail pharmacy. While they can’t fill a prescription you receive from your doctor’s office, they can give you the utmost care while you are staying in the hospital. The efforts they take to keep patients safe truly makes them unsung heroes.