Why You Must See A Pharmacist

The internship year for young professionals is usually filled with numerous experiences. It is usually a platform for demonstrating classroom knowledge in the real world and developing practical professional skills. It is a period of experiential practical training.

I did my mandatory internship in a reputable teaching hospital in Nigeria. In fact, it’s the only hospital whose name is written in plural “hospitals complex”. As an intern, I was of value to both the patients and medical personnel. It’s a known fact that the hospital pharmacist is one of the overworked medical personnel in healthcare. A normal day for me includes attending to patients, doctors, nurses, lab
scientist etc, doing presentation or attending one. Its either you are providing drug information or dispensing or counseling on appropriate drug use or compounding a drug etc.

One of the experiences I would like to share happened on one of the endocrinology clinic days. I usually tag this experience, “why you must see a pharmacist immediately after collecting your drug prescription”. It is needful to state that apart from dispensing drugs to patients, the pharmacist play other enormous roles in the hospital setting. Some of these roles include, identifying drug – drug interaction, drug-disease
interaction, drug-food interaction, dosages too low to elicit therapeutic response or dosage too high that will be toxic to the body, amongst others. You must also understand that prescribers are often under pressure because of the low manpower in the system and there could be prescribing errors, not deliberately, probably a function of being overworked. Hence, they need the pharmacist to ensure that there is reduction in the incidence of errors in prescription.

Back to my story, remember the title “why you must see a pharmacist immediately after collecting your drug prescription”. On this faithful day, one of the patients being managed for diabetes was seen by a consultant professor Endocrinologist. I must say that the consultant professor is one of the best I have met, he erudite in his discipline. He attended to this patient and gave her a prescription for her medication. The patient then presented the prescription at the pharmacy. On reception of the prescription, screened it as usual. I noticed that the dose of one of the medication was on the high side (above the recommended daily dose). The attention of a senior pharmacist was called, and the prescription was presented. This didn’t call for any serious alarm, as we saw it as part of our job, to ensure patients don’t take medications above
recommended safe dose. We needed to clarify what was written on the prescription. So the prescribing doctor was approached and unfortunately he had just stepped out. So a junior doctor, which I resumed to be a junior resident doctor or an house officer, said in a bold and unpleasant manner, “pharmacist just dispense as such, it was written by a consultant professor” as if to say, the prescriber is above error or whatever he writes is perfect. So I gently said, do you know the implication of what you are saying, knowing
that you are not the prescriber. Alright, just write what you have said on paper and append your signature. Thereafter, we shall attend to the patient. The junior doctor suddenly withdrew, she said, no, I can’t write or sign anything. Please wait for the professor. When she said this, I responded with an okay, went back to the waiting patient, tell her to wait a little while.

After about 20 minutes, the consultant professor came in and a senior colleague approached him. You need to see how gentle and graceful the consultant replied. “Oh, pharmacist, thank you.” This ought to be 2grams not 3 grams. The drug dose was clarified and adjusted; the patient was better for it. I was very happy because an intervention has been made. That drug was capable of shutting down the liver and
kidney of the patient and that would have become another level of health crises for the patient.
The pharmacist plays an important role in the medical team. Everyone must understand that a pharmacist is an important stakeholder in healthcare.

Yes! Stories from the hospital aren’t left out. Share your thoughts in the comment
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-Hospital Story Submitted by Pharm Olukayode T. E.

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