Written by Jaimee Green, NEMHS
When the first person expressed juice from a succulent leaf to apply to a wound thousands of years ago, the art of pharmacy was being practiced. Luckily, today, the art of medicinal remedies is a bit more scientific than that.
Pharmacy staff members for Northeast Montana Health Services will use National Pharmacy Month to underscore the many new and vital roles they now play in patient care.
The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.
“Many consumers are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices, and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively,” said Rosanne Erickson, pharmacist for NEMHS. “Pharmacy Month is a great way to educate the public about how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine,” she added.
On Oct. 11, an open house will take place at both the Poplar and Wolf Point pharmacy campuses. Community members are encouraged to come in and enjoy fresh cookies and hot coffee while talking to their local prescriptions providers about any questions they have pertaining to their medications.
Far from being just a clerk behind a counter, pharmacists and technicians also play a role in disease management and evaluation of test results. In hospitals, pharmacists are often in the role of interpreting chemical signatures in complex test results and advising physicians on treatment options as well as making doctors aware of new and possibly more effective drugs.
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today, how each one works in the body and the ways to use each one safely and effectively.
Today’s pharmacist has received six years of education focused on medication therapy and many complete post-graduate residency programs. They advise doctors and nurses on the best medications and monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions and mistakes.
While NEMHS does have a pharmacist that splits her time between the two pharmacy sites, they also utilize telepharmacy technology to ensure patients and consumers receive the best care.
With telepharmacy, staff members can communicate in real time with audio and visual capabilities that allow them to be in constant contact with a licensed pharmacist. While the technician goes on with the business of filling a prescription, they are followed by a pharmacist miles away. This enables NEMHS to always have a pharmacist on duty, even when their on-site pharmacist is away.
The internal hospital pharmacy is managed by La Rae Davis at both Trinity and Poplar hospital campuses.
At the retail pharmacies for the Poplar and Wolf Point campuses, employees include Jordon Nelson, Sam Hentges, Louise Rensvold, Marlene Turner, Dolly Tattoo, Benita Neumiller and Rosanne Erickson.