The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and so are the roles of healthcare professionals. One such profession is that of an ambulatory care pharmacist, who works in outpatient clinics to provide medication therapy management to patients.
This article takes a closer look at the daily life of Laura Challen, an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at the Mercy JFK Clinic in St. Louis, and explores the challenges and rewards that come with this profession.
Laura’s journey to becoming a clinical pharmacist began with a career aptitude test in high school, which highlighted her passion for helping people and her desire to avoid exposure to blood and guts. Her decision to pursue pharmacy was based on the opportunity to help patients improve their health and quality of life through medication management.
Through this article, we will learn about the various aspects of Laura’s role as a clinical pharmacist in an outpatient clinic, including patient care, teaching, and education. We will also delve into the rewards of the job, such as the satisfaction of helping patients, and the challenges faced, such as the resistance of patients to make necessary lifestyle changes.
Career Path and Education
The article discusses the career path and education required for a career as an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist.
Pharmacy school is the starting point for those interested in pursuing this career path. It offers the chance to explore different career paths within the profession, including long-term care, oncology, pediatrics, inpatient/outpatient care, nuclear pharmacy, insurance, and more.
Pharmacists who specialize in ambulatory care work in outpatient clinics and assist with chronic disease state management.
To succeed in this field, it is important for pharmacy students to commit to setting aside time to study gradually and to gain experience through working or shadowing. This will help them to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to provide quality patient care.
Furthermore, there are many job opportunities within the pharmacy profession, and ambulatory care clinical pharmacy is only one of them. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy should explore the different career options available to them and choose the one that best aligns with their interests and skills.
Role as Clinical Pharmacist
As a member of the patient care team in outpatient clinics, clinical pharmacists play a crucial role in evaluating medication therapy and making recommendations to optimize treatment outcomes. They collaborate with physicians to ensure that patients receive the appropriate medication and dosage, in accordance with their medical condition, age, and other individual factors.
Clinical pharmacists are responsible for medication therapy management, which involves assessing patients’ medication history, identifying any potential drug interactions or adverse effects, and making recommendations to optimize efficacy and minimize risks. They also educate patients on proper medication use, potential side effects, and the importance of adhering to the prescribed treatment plan.
Clinical pharmacists use their expertise to provide individualized care, taking into account each patient’s unique needs and circumstances. They work closely with physicians to develop treatment plans that are tailored to the patient’s medical condition, goals, and preferences.
Through ongoing monitoring and assessment, they ensure that patients receive the most effective medication therapy possible and that any issues or concerns are promptly addressed. By collaborating with other members of the patient care team, clinical pharmacists play an important role in improving the quality of care and helping patients achieve better health outcomes.
Patient Care in Clinic
Clinical pharmacists provide individualized patient care in outpatient clinics by collaborating with physicians to develop treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s unique needs and circumstances. They work with patients with long-term and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, to manage their medications and improve their overall health outcomes.
The pharmacist’s role in patient care involves evaluating medication regimens, monitoring for potential drug interactions, and educating patients on proper medication use and potential side effects.
Effective patient communication is essential in the clinical pharmacist’s role as a member of the healthcare team. Pharmacists must listen to patient concerns, provide clear explanations of medication regimens, and address any questions or issues the patient may have.
In addition to providing medication education, clinical pharmacists also assist in chronic disease management by helping patients make necessary lifestyle changes, such as improving diet and exercise habits.
By working collaboratively with physicians and other healthcare providers, clinical pharmacists ensure that patients receive the best possible care and are able to effectively manage their conditions.
Teaching and Education
Teaching and education are important components of the role of ambulatory care clinical pharmacists. As a clinical pharmacist, Laura Challen spends half of her time working at the clinic and the other half educating the next generation of pharmacists. She conducts lectures and handles course coordination in the afternoons, imparting her knowledge and skills to aspiring pharmacists. Her role as a teacher is not limited to the classroom as she also serves as a role model to her students in the clinic, demonstrating how to provide quality patient care.
Student engagement is vital in the field of pharmacy as it helps students develop the necessary skills and competencies needed to become successful pharmacists. Laura Challen finds joy in watching her students have their ‘aha!’ moment, where they finally understand a difficult concept or apply a new skill. As a clinical pharmacist, she is also responsible for mentoring and guiding her students in their clinical rotations, helping them become competent and compassionate healthcare providers.
By sharing her experiences and knowledge, she is helping to shape the future of the pharmacy profession.
Rewards of the Job
One significant aspect of the pharmacy profession is the satisfaction of positively impacting a patient’s health and well-being through medication management. Ambulatory care clinical pharmacists have the opportunity to work with patients on a regular basis and can see the positive impact of their interventions over time. This can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, as pharmacists are able to make a significant difference in the lives of their patients.
To evoke an emotional response in the audience, consider the following bullet points:
- Seeing a patient make a 180-degree turn with their health
- Helping patients manage chronic conditions and improve their quality of life
- Being part of a patient’s journey to better health
These rewards of the job can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for pharmacists, as they are able to make a meaningful impact on the lives of their patients. The ability to positively impact patient outcomes is a significant driver of job satisfaction for ambulatory care clinical pharmacists.
The pharmacy profession presents various obstacles that practitioners encounter while striving to deliver quality care to patients. One of the biggest challenges faced by ambulatory care pharmacists is getting patients to make necessary lifestyle changes. Many chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia can be managed with medication, but often require accompanying lifestyle changes such as diet modifications, exercise, and smoking cessation. Unfortunately, patients may be resistant to making these changes, which can hinder their progress and ultimately lead to poor health outcomes.
To address this challenge, ambulatory care pharmacists must prioritize patient education. This involves not only educating patients on the importance of medication adherence, but also on the impact of lifestyle changes on their health. Pharmacists can work with patients to develop personalized plans for making these changes and provide ongoing support and encouragement. By taking a patient-centered approach and emphasizing the importance of lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication management, ambulatory care pharmacists can help patients achieve better health outcomes and improve their overall quality of life.
|Resistance to making necessary lifestyle changes
|Prioritize patient education and work with patients to develop personalized plans for making changes
|Limited access to healthcare and medication
|Partner with community resources and provide medication assistance programs
|Adverse drug reactions and medication errors
|Implement medication therapy management services and engage in ongoing training and education
|Lack of patient adherence to medication regimens
|Utilize medication adherence tools and techniques such as reminder apps, pill organizers, and patient education.
Advice for Future Pharmacists
To prepare for a successful career in pharmacy, students should commit to setting aside time for gradual study and gaining experience through working or shadowing. Time management is crucial in pharmacy school, as there is a vast amount of information to learn and retain. It is essential for students to create a study schedule that works for them and commit to it consistently.
Additionally, gaining experience through working or shadowing in a pharmacy setting can provide valuable insight into the profession and help students determine which career path they want to pursue.
Networking opportunities are also crucial for future pharmacists. It is essential to build connections with other professionals in the field, such as pharmacy professors, clinical pharmacists, and pharmacy managers. These connections can provide students with valuable information and advice about their future career paths. Networking can also lead to job opportunities and help students stand out in the job market.
Overall, committing to time management and networking opportunities can help students prepare for a successful career in pharmacy.
Summary and Conclusion
Bryan Schuessler is an Ambulatory Care Pharmacist and his career path is unique because he focuses on developing people and processes to take care of patients. He described his typical workday as consisting of making critical decisions, analyzing a budget, coaching employees, and developing people, among other things. In terms of his most rewarding day, he mentioned opening a specialty and home infusion pharmacy facility and having his daughter born that same week. On the other hand, his most challenging day was when his manager, who recruited him, was let go.
Schuessler was attracted to pharmacy because of the business and patient interaction standpoint. He believes pharmacists have the unique ability to provide care to patients without sending them a bill, which sets them apart from other healthcare professions. He pursued his specific career path by taking a Health System Pharmacy Administration residency after pharmacy school.
To students entering pharmacy school, Schuessler advises them to read a lot, build relationships by getting involved in professional organizations, learn to fail and be better because of it, and focus on building character.
In conclusion, being an Ambulatory Care Pharmacist is a challenging yet rewarding career path. It involves making critical decisions, analyzing budgets, coaching employees, and developing people to ensure the best possible care for patients. Pursuing a career in pharmacy requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for patient care. Students entering pharmacy school should focus on building their knowledge and character, as well as getting involved in professional organizations to build relationships and gain experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the job outlook for ambulatory care clinical pharmacists?
The job market for ambulatory care clinical pharmacists is expected to grow, with a focus on chronic disease management and preventative care. Salary trends vary depending on location and experience, with potential for higher salaries in urban areas.
How does the role of a clinical pharmacist differ from that of a retail pharmacist?
Clinical pharmacists focus on patient care and medication management, working as part of the healthcare team to make recommendations on prescribed medications. This differs from retail pharmacists, who primarily dispense medications and provide basic counseling.
What are some common misconceptions about the pharmacy profession?
Pharmacy stereotypes include beliefs that pharmacists only count pills and lack patient care involvement. Common misconceptions about the pharmacy profession are being challenged as the public gains understanding of pharmacists’ roles in patient care.
How does technology impact the work of ambulatory care clinical pharmacists?
Ambulatory care clinical pharmacists utilize remote consultations and telepharmacy solutions to enhance patient care. Technology allows for increased communication and medication management, improving outcomes for patients with chronic conditions.
What are some of the ethical considerations that ambulatory care clinical pharmacists may face in their work?
Ambulatory care clinical pharmacists may face ethical considerations related to confidentiality concerns and patient autonomy. It is important for pharmacists to balance the need for patient privacy with the responsibility to provide quality care and respect patient autonomy in decision-making.