Pharmacist plays role in improving patient safety

The UIW Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists (UIW-SSHP) celebrates National Hospital & Health-System Pharmacy Week, Oct. 17-23, to recognize the vital roles clinical pharmacists now play in patient care.

The scope of a pharmacist has evolved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to serving as integral members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.

The practice of health-system pharmacy includes hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, academic health centers, governmental health facilities, and home- and long-term care facilities. Within each field, the health-system pharmacist is involved in direct patient care and participates in collaborative medication management. Specifically, the pharmacist recommends safe and effective therapy, advises physicians and health care providers, aids in the prevention of medication errors, counsels patients on proper medication use, along with a variety of other duties.

Pharmacists are kindly referred to as the “medication experts,” and rightly so. Today, health-system pharmacists complete a minimum of six years of education focused on medication therapy and often continue to receive post-graduate residency training. Residencies allow health-system pharmacists to specialize in one of the 19 practice specialties. Examples include infectious disease, psychiatry, cardiology and emergency medicine.  Pharmacists become experts on the numerous medications available, the mechanism through which each one works, and how to use them safely and effectively.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is a national organization focused on supporting and advocating on behalf of clinical pharmacists. Currently, ASHP consists of more than 35,000 members including pharmacists, pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians. The mission of ASHP is to “advance and support the professional practice of pharmacists in hospitals and health-systems and serve as their collective voice on issues related to medication use and public health.”

Below the national level, ASHP is subdivided into individual state chapters. The Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists (TSHP) provides continuing education and innovative programming to Texas health-system pharmacists in addition to advocating the advancement of Texas pharmacy through legislation and regulation. TSHP is further subdivided into Texas pharmacy school student chapters. UIW-SSHP serves as the Feik School of Pharmacy student chapter encouraging UIW pharmacy students to seek challenging and fulfilling careers in clinical pharmacy.

As this is our role on campus, UIW-SSHP will use National Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Week to promote interest in this expanding field and to educate the community about how clinical pharmacists can help them achieve the greatest benefit from their medicine. Please join UIW-SSHP in acknowledging the dedicated work and unquestionable value of health-system pharmacists throughout the week of Oct, 17-23.

E-mail Nichols, president of the UIW Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists, at  tanichol@student.uiwtx.edu

Taylor Nichols

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