Early Hospital Experience Reflection Already having been working at a community pharmacy for more than a year and hearing a lot about how hospital pharmacy is different, I decided to enroll in PHM233 in order to first hand experience all the aspects related to hospital pharmacy practice. I always wanted to work at a hospital and see how much of a difference there is in the setting between community and hospital, and through PHM233 I got the opportunity to do so.
My experience in the hospital pharmacy exceeded all my expectations, as it was a wonderful and very useful experience. The first wonderful thing about being enrolled in PHM233 was that I got to work at Trillium Health Centre at Mississauga which is one of the busiest and great hospitals in the GTA. This gave me an opportunity to work with highly trained and experienced professionals which would give me the perfect opportunity to enhance my skills as a pharmacy student and as a pharmacist.
I got an opportunity to go through what a pharmacist normally goes through in a day at the hospital and realized that it has a more clinical side to it than community pharmacy which is more of a retail business. This impressed me a lot and I really liked it. One thing that really made the visit at the hospital worthwhile was that my pharmacist preceptor was very helpful and nice and explained things really well. I got the opportunity to observe how the medication order is processed in a hospital pharmacy, starting from the entry station all the way to how it is delivered up to the patients by the technicians.
It was quite fascinating to see how the medication order processing procedure it totally opposite to that of a community pharmacy, since at the hospital it is the pharmacist who enters the order and it is the technician who checks it. Normally at a community pharmacy, it is the assistant’s or technician’s job to enter in the prescription and then forward it to the pharmacist for checking before it is given to the patient. Although there were a lot of positive things about this experience, I was thought that there was no enough time in order to completely gel into the hospital pharmacy frame.
Twelve hours seemed to be a really short time in which there were a number of tasks that needed to be completed and most importantly to really understand the role of a pharmacist at the pharmacy. Another problem that came up was the time management with the preceptor. Due to some emergency the preceptor was out of the country due to which the dates had to be constantly changed which was kind of hard to keep track of. Also, due to conflicting schedules between school and the preceptor’s work, it was hard to determine a set time to be at the hospital and it at times the length between 2 successive sessions was about 2 weeks.
This created problems for me as it was hard to keep track of and focus at the whole hospital pharmacy aspect. The most enjoyable aspect of the experience was the whole notion of hospital pharmacy which I found to be very nice and effective and it really brings out the clinical side of pharmacy studies. A hospital pharmacist is more engaged in the health and well being of the patient and can directly talk to the patient as well as see lab results and other tests in order to monitor the condition of the patient.
For me personally, being a pharmacist is more about helping the patient with his/her condition and making sure the patient gets better and I feel that at the hospital these aspects are well taken care of. This is why I liked the hospital pharmacy experience and if given the chance I would surely go back and experience it again. The least enjoyable aspect of the experience was that it was only 12 hours that I had to attend.
Since I enjoyed the experience a lot, I wished there was a little bit more time so that I was able to really understand and learn how a pharmacist goes about doing their job at the pharmacy. Also in the hospital, some patients are in serious conditions and are on medications such as warfarin which are needed to be monitored regularly because of their small therapeutic window. In such a case, the pharmacist plays a critical role in checking levels and observing whether the levels of the medications are correct for a patient or not.
An example at the hospital was when the pharmacist was checking the levels of a patient and saw that the WBC count of the patient was constantly increasing for the past few days. This gave her the warning that the antibiotic wasn’t working and then she collaborated with other health care professionals and they changed the medication that helped the patient. If given an opportunity I would definitely work at a hospital pharmacy over a community pharmacy in the future, because it has more clinical application and I have a chance to really help a patient with their needs.