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What happens in a day in the life of a pharmacist?

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To mark World Pharmacist Day on 25 September, pharmacist Katie Crowe explains what a typical day looks like for her.

“My role as an advanced clinical pharmacist is varied. At the moment, I am the lead pharmacist for the Trust’s forensic services.  This means that I am the ward pharmacist for five medium secure inpatient wards and work with staff within the service to ensure all aspects relating to medicines optimisation (getting the best outcomes for service users) is safe and of good quality.

“Most of my time is either based on the wards or in the pharmacy department at Fieldhead.  I will usually have medicines information queries from medical or nursing staff to respond to each day. Some patients’ medication regimes on my wards are very complex and having a pharmacist involved is crucial to ensure they are individualised for each service user to achieve the best outcomes.

“Each time I visit a ward I will screen all the service user’s medication charts and speak to staff and service users.  Pharmacists will always write in green (or purple), so that staff can easily identify endorsements from our profession. I will often have to use my professional judgement to assess the benefits and potential risks of medicines.

“It is very important to be aware of and monitor for adverse drug reactions (otherwise known as side effects), drug interactions (compatibility between 2 or more medicines) and the effects that medication can have on other illnesses. Pharmacists have great expertise in this area, and I spend much of my time advising prescribers and teams on our wards to ensure that medication regimes are optimal. I also meet with our service users to discuss medication options and queries they may have about their medicines.

“Currently, I am in the process of handing over my ward roles to other pharmacists, as I am moving to a new role within the CAMHS team.  I will be the first pharmacist in this role for the Trust where I will have opportunities to use the skills from my non-medical prescribing qualification.

“The restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic are challenging for our team.  Owing to how pharmacy operate, it was not possible for many of the team to work remotely.  We utilised new online technology for meetings, interviews etc. and increased remote scanning of medication orders to the dispensary direct from the wards. We also changed the layout of the Fieldhead dispensary to reduce congestion.

“We are just about to introduce a new feature into our patient record system which will allow electronic prescribing and administration of medications (EPMA), which will help us to work more efficiently. In addition to this, our prescription screening and medication ordering processes may be done remotely. This will free up time to enable the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to focus more on working with directly with service users and teams.

“I have also been on-call this week dealing with Trust wide pharmaceutical queries out of hours. After a busy week, I am looking forward to handing over to the next pharmacist and enjoying some downtime.”

What happens in a day in the life of a pharmacist?

time to read: 2 min