Walking into your community pharmacy what do you expect from your visit? Maybe you are getting a refill on a medication you’ve been taking for years or getting a new medication filled for the first time? Is it late on a Saturday night when your doctor’s office is closed and you are in desperate need of a recommendation for an allergy medication or help to manage a headache? Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health professionals. Pharmacies are open morning to night and weekends to ensure continuous care and no appointments are needed.
We, as pharmacy students, have great hopes for the future of our practice. Drawn to the profession because of the opportunities to help people maintain or improve their health; we look forward to the relationships we will build with our future patients. Beginning with the interview, the pharmacy college admissions process is designed to admit applicants who show strong academic qualities along with the communication skills needed to interact positively with patients. Our 4 years of university courses are centered around all the major disease states with a focus on the best current evidence for drug therapy. In our ideal practice, there would be more time to spend sitting down with patients; discussing their medications, disease states and their goals for treatment. In school, we dedicate a great deal of time to identifying and resolving drug related problems and ensuring patients are on the best therapies for the best health outcomes. Two-thirds of seniors are on 5 medications or more. They represent a population who could benefit greatly from medication reviews. Studies show that 1 out of 9 hospital visits are related to adverse drug events. Medication reviews can prevent hospital visits and improve quality of life for New Brunswickers. One of the recent advances in pharmacy practice has been the opportunity for pharmacists to administer vaccinations. Since this opportunity arose, pharmacists have become a valuable member of the vaccination team, providing flu shots to thousands of New Brunswickers this past year alone. Pharmacists are also available to discuss which vaccinations are recommended for travel and can administer those vaccines to you. As the practice of pharmacy evolves, we envision ourselves having a much larger role in evaluating and providing treatment options for minor ailments such as seasonal allergies, gastric reflux, or common colds. We keep up to date with current evidence for therapy and can verify if certain products will be safe to use with your current medications and medical conditions. We are also aware of potential red flags that would require further evaluation from another healthcare professional such as a physician, optometrist, or physiotherapist. These are the types of patient interactions that we have been trained to provide. Being a year away from practicing as licensed pharmacists, we look forward to the rewards and challenges of the profession. If you have any questions about your medications or what your pharmacist can do for you call or drop by your local pharmacy. Remember, your health is our number one priority! Jessie Dorcas and Brett Jackson, Pharmacy Students