October is American Pharmacists Month! The American Pharmacists Association would like to recognize our pharmacist members for providing outstanding patient care and positively impacting the lives of their patients. Below is a collection of APhA members and some of the contributions that have made to improving medication use and advancing patient care.
Daniel L. Krinsky, MS, RPh
We had a patient using only a rescue inhaler to manage his COPD, and I told him I was going to contact his physician to address this. I left a phone message and sent a detailed fax describing the situation, along with my recommendation. The initial response was that the prescriber felt the patient was being managed fine. However, the patient had a visit with his physician the following week, and I gave him a copy of the fax and told him to discuss it during the visit. Interestingly, the patient came back to the pharmacy after his visit with both a prescription for a maintenance inhaler and an apology from the physician. Apparently, there was a miscommunication at the physician’s office, and when he read the fax and spoke with the patient, he realized there was a gap in therapy. Within 2 weeks of starting this new medication the patient was dramatically improved from a symptom and a quality-of-life standpoint. To this day, each time I see this gentleman he thanks me for my interest and persistence, and reminds me of how good he feels. It’s opportunities like this that present themselves each day that make me feel extremely fortunate to be a pharmacist.
Jenny Bingham, PharmD
When Jenny Bingham, PharmD, learned that her patient was discharged from the hospital 5 months ago without a scheduled follow-up appointment with her provider, she took the initiative to assess for medication errors. Her patient was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and was self-taught on how to take her medications.
"I have been getting chest pain, headaches, heart palpitations, fast heart rates, and lower back pain recently”, the patient reported.
Bingham used teach-back education techniques to learn how the patient was treating chest pain.
"I take an extra flecainide when I get chest pain."
Bingham explained the possible ramifications if she did not seek emergency medical attention for these alarming cardiac symptoms. The patient then confided in her, "I'm too afraid to call my doctor. They told me not to go back to the hospital, no matter what."
After Bingham gained her trust, the patient agreed to call her provider, who advised her to go to the hospital. The next day, Bingham learned that her patient was administered an antiarrhythmic in the emergency department for tachycardia. Bingham contacted her outpatient cardiologist and scheduled an immediate follow-up appointment for her patient.
"Pharmacists are an integral component of the transition of care period 30 days posthospital discharge."
Cortney Mospan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP
I volunteer at Community Health Services of Union County, an interprofessional free clinic for uninsured patients. I was seeing a patient to provide medication education and assess his readiness for smoking cessation following his appointment with the physician. He was struggling with adherence to his medications due to adverse effects and cost, so we were restarting him on hypertension medications. During my session, the patient remarked that he had had a headache at the beginning of his appointment, and after questioning, it initially seemed fairly insignificant. But he soon remarked again about a headache and eye sensations and he was clearly struggling to pay attention. At this point, my student checked his blood pressure and he was in hypertensive urgency. I pulled the physician into the visit and we worked together to get the patient to go to the emergency department, as we did not have any appropriate medications to treat in office with our limited resources. The physician thanked me for my attention to symptoms and pulling him in to make sure we got the patient immediate attention to avoid complications of hypertensive urgency.
Marie Murray, PharmD submitted by Mark Comfort, PharmD
As a preceptor for a community pharmacy residency program, I am constantly learning from the residents. This past year I observed one of my residents go out of her way to make a difference and help a patient in need.
Dr. Marie Murray, PharmD, was a Pharmacy Resident at H-E-B Pharmacy this past year. In November, Marie met with a patient for a comprehensive medication review (CMR). Marie learned that the patient was not taking her blood pressure medication correctly and did not have a blood pressure monitor to check her blood pressure at home. Marie talked to the patient about taking her medication correctly and recommended that she get a blood pressure monitor. In May, Marie followed up with the patient to complete a follow-up CMR, and found that the patient had been unable to obtain a blood pressure monitor because she could not afford one. Marie recognized that the patient had financial and transportation issues, reached into her own pocket, and arranged for the patient to receive a FREE H-E-B blood pressure monitor.
Ashley Lorenzen, PharmD, BCPS
Throughout my short pharmacy career, I have had the opportunity to have an impact on many patients’ lives, but one patient that stands out to me is a gentleman, “Eric,” who I met at the primary care clinic where I practice. I had identified Eric as a patient with an A1C greater than 9% (actually 15.9%) and approached the provider to inquire if he would like me to provide support, medication adjustment, and education to the patient. The provider told me "no, he won’t work with you, they don't have any money and don't really care." Since I was new at the facility and still gaining respect, I didn't argue. About 3 months later, after having many other successful patients and gaining the provider’s respect, Eric was at the clinic when I was working. The provider told me I could try to work my "magic." I met Eric, got a full history, including motivation and financial implications, and through many phone calls, visits, discussions with his insurance, and countless medication adjustments, was able to decrease his A1C to 7.1% in just 3.5 months, all because of the relationship I was able to establish with Eric, earning his trust, and being his cheerleader.
Morgan Payne, PharmD
Over time, I have developed memorable relationships with patients, but one moment in particular left a lasting impression on my current and future pharmacy practice. I work within a federally qualified health center (FQHC) family medicine clinic, which provides comprehensive outpatient services for under-served patients of Colorado. Together with a multi-disciplinary team, I had been providing care to a woman with diabetes for just over 6 months. Through all of her hard work and dedication, she was able to significantly improve her diabetes control. One day, she arrived to clinic with her daughter who had taken off work to accompany her to the appointment. Her daughter told me that she wanted to come in person and thank the woman who had made such an impact on her mother's health and hope for well-being, which in turn positively improved their family dynamic. In that moment, I was immediately taken back to why I chose this profession. As pharmacists, it is usually apparent how you are helping the patient in front of you, but this experience was a great reminder of how your actions can have rippling effects on family members and loved ones of ill-burdened individuals.
Mary Teresi Milavetz, PharmD, FAPhA
During my initial years at the University of Iowa, I taught the Oncology therapeutic courses as well as supervised a Pediatric Oncology clerkship. I heard rumors that my clerkship was “tough” and the preceptor (me) was quite demanding. This is not necessarily the glowing feedback one desires…BUT fast forward several years. The comments I have received from past students are that my rotations may have been tough, but they learned A LOT. Not just about oncology, but a thought process on evaluating drug therapy. The time/turmoil was worth it!
Kristin Morse, PharmD
When Kristin Morse, PharmD realized a little boy was drowning at her daughter’s pre-kindergarten swim party her BLS training kicked in. She helped pull the child out of the pool, instructed someone to call 911, and started chest compressions. The child gained consciousness after a few rounds before the paramedics arrived. “It seemed like the longest few minutes of my life and I was praying the entire time that God would work through me to save this boy.” Though Kristin’s current job position is more managerial in nature and does not “require” BLS certification, she has continued to maintain it. “I never expected I would need to use my BLS training, especially in a social setting. However, I am so thankful for my pharmacy training that supports and encourages pharmacists to become BLS and ACLS trained.”