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Creating Pharmacy Support Staff Roles: An Interview with Renee Hicks, BSN, RN

With the launch of the Pharmacy Services Support Staff (PS3) Program next month, CPESN pharmacies will receive access to programming geared towards enhancing current staff roles as well as attracting new personnel to innovative community pharmacy settings. Some pharmacies have already began employing new staff, such as Paul’s Pharmacy in Evansville, IN where they have had a Registered Nurse on staff for more than 20 years now. I had a chance to chat with Renee Hicks, BSN, RN about what her role looks like at Paul’s and how other pharmacies could benefit from having a nurse on staff.

How did you get started with your role at Paul’s Pharmacy? How long have you been here?

I have been with Paul’s a little over a year now. Before working at Paul’s, I was a hospice nurse at a hospice agency in town that Paul’s provides infusions for. There was a patient I was managing that was going through their infusions quickly, and I was on the phone with the infusion nurse at Paul’s daily. She was looking to retire soon and I was looking for a new opportunity! I transitioned into her role shortly after, primarily to manage infusions in the nursing homes and hospice agencies in our area.

Can you explain your current role at Paul’s Pharmacy?

Sure! As I said before, I was hired primarily to manage infusions in our nursing homes and hospice agencies. I am on call 24/7 to help with IV starts, troubleshooting issues with IV pumps/infusion, and medication administration. I also teach an infusion course, medication administration courses and am a certified TB instructor. My role has evolved over my time here and I also serve as the Flip the Pharmacy site champion for our pharmacy, coordinate our COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for both our retail pharmacies and LTC pharmacy and manage the monoclonal antibodies we provide for our local nursing homes. I perform medication cart audits and medication administration audits at our facilities as well. Additionally, I am working on a Home Health partnership program in our community.

What does your Home Health partnership entail? Can you tell me more about what you are working on?

Right now, we at Paul’s Pharmacy feel like there is a void in pharmacy in the home health setting- there is a lot of opportunity here! We first wanted to see if we could build a relationship or partnership to serve as a resource to the home health agencies in our area. We asked them what their needs are and what they would be looking for from a pharmacy in a program like this. Requests ranged from: more pharmacy interaction with patients over the phone for medication counseling to more frequent touch points with homebound patients. Additionally, we want to explore expanding delivery out to more rural parts of our community and expanding compliance packaging. We are also providing pamphlets of our services for the home health agencies to include in their patient admission packets. We also created gift bags with this same pamphlet and little gifts with our logo and contact information for the home health agencies to provide to patients they feel could benefit from our services.

What is your favorite part about working for a pharmacy?

I am learning so much! There is so much about pharmacy that I did not know and opportunity to work on lots of projects, like the Home Health partnership program. Additionally, I enjoy helping the pharmacy team incorporate more clinical services into their practice through Flip the Pharmacy.

Do you have any advice or ideas for other pharmacies wanting to add a nurse to their staff?

Yes! Be creative- there is so much benefit a nurse can bring to a pharmacy such as nursing and hands-on patient care knowledge. My role has evolved so much during my time here so far and I am looking forward to the additional projects I can help with to expand services in our community.

Does your pharmacy employ non-technician support staff? What does their role look like? Comment below!

Katie Hettinger, PharmD

Community Practice Research Fellow | Purdue University

Team Lead for Team Indiana FtP Cohort 2

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