On January 12th the nation recognizes the importance of pharmacists and it honors how much they impact the health and well-being of the nation.
According to the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, ancient man learned from instinct, from observation of birds and beasts. Cool water, a leaf, dirt, or mud was his first soothing application. By trial, he learned which served him best. Eventually, he applied his knowledge for the benefit of others. Though the cavemen’s methods were crude, many of today’s medicines originate from sources as simple and elementary as those which were within reach of early man.
The earliest known record of practice of the art of the apothecary comes from Babylon. Practitioners of healing of this era (about 2600 B.C.) were priest, pharmacist and physician, all in one.
Today, many individuals may think that a pharmacist is a health care professional who wears a white lab coat and dispenses pills; this is where a pharmacist’s role only begins.
According to Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, editor-in-chief of Pharmacy Times®, “Pharmacists are the last line of defense for safe dispensing of medications, and often the first line of opportunity to make the most of them.”
Pharmacists undergo university-level education to understand biochemical mechanisms of action of drugs, drug uses, and therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions, and monitoring parameters. This is connected to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. Pharmacists interpret and communicate this specialized knowledge to patients, physicians, and other health care providers.
At OakBend Medical Center, Nancy Helfrick, Director of Pharmacy, oversees 19 pharmacists covering the hospital’s three campuses. If asked, Nancy will tell you that she was born a pharmacist. She has worked at OakBend for 16 years and it was her strong interest in chemistry and medicine that helped her choose her career as a pharmacist.
Working as a pharmacist in a hospital has different challenges and job duties than working for a pharmacy in a store or independent agency. Each day OakBend’s pharmacists:
• Evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the patient’s medications with the ultimate goal of providing quality care during an inpatient stay, and ensuring safe, effective medication use.
• Collaborate with physicians and other health care providers to develop and implement a medication plan that can meet the overall goals of patient care established by the health care team.
• Apply specialized knowledge of the scientific and clinical use of medications; including medication action, dosing, adverse effects, and drug interactions, in performing their patient care activities,
• Call on their clinical experience to solve health problems through the rational use of medications.
“I love my work,” said Helfrick, “our team makes a difference every day for our patients and for the hospital. We are dedicated to helping our patients have the best possible outcome from their stay while at OakBend and we are here to assist in any way possible.” OakBend has a pharmacist covering the three hospitals 24/7.