Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going: My Rotation Journey
I had no idea what to expect from my APPE experiences going into this year; uncertain of where I would be, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more importantly, what my experiences with patients would look like. I have always been someone who looks forward to patient interactions because I love sharing my knowledge with patients in a way that will help improve their health and overall experience with healthcare.
Going into my first APPE, earlier this year, at Goodrich Pharmacy in Anoka, I expected to have minimal patient contact. This is where I first learned about Flip the Pharmacy. As many know, it encourages pharmacists to take the extra step when offering care to their patients, which is really encouraging to see especially during this pandemic. Goodrich Pharmacy was just beginning to increase their number of opioid-related interventions under the guidance of the program, but I was more involved in taking blood pressure measurements and educating patients on cardiovascular health. I began to see the importance of Flip the Pharmacy as I was encouraged to spend more time with patients than what I was accustomed to at my community pharmacy internships. This experience demonstrated to me that it is very possible to offer more in-depth care in a community setting.
My next APPE was at Iverson Corner Drug in Bemidji, MN. When I arrived, I was excited to see that Iverson Corner Drug, like Goodrich Pharmacy, was also participating in Flip the Pharmacy. Iverson Corner Drug similarly placed emphasis on patient education. I continued taking blood pressure measurements and educating patients, but I became more involved with opioid-related interventions, since this was the focus of Flip the Pharmacy at the time. Branching out beyond cardiovascular health-based patient education helped me become more familiar with opioid medication safety processes, such as checking the patient’s daily morphine milliequivalents and checking the PMP database. It was here that I began to have a better understanding of the clinical services community pharmacists can strive to offer their patients.
Once I entered my 3rd APPE site at City Drug in International Falls, MN, I was very excited they were also participating in Flip the Pharmacy. I was able to share my previous experiences with opioid medication safety while I was there, which allowed me to help improve their patient intervention process. I continued to spend time with patients and developed a stronger understanding on how to educate on safe opioid use. We explained naloxone to patients who could benefit from having some on hand, so much so that we had a provider call and ask why more patients were inquiring about it. Being from International Falls originally, it was extremely rewarding for me to assist in improving the health of my home community.
Through these experiences, I have improved many aspects of my own pharmaceutical process, including:
· The importance of slowing down & spending as much time as I need with the patient.
· Building my own confidence while offering MTM services for patients.
· Ensuring the safety of the patient while on opioid medications
· Continue to encourage other practitioners and students to offer the same support to their patients.
By providing the care that Flip the Pharmacy has recommended, we are setting ourselves up to have more support as pharmacists, which will allow us to offer more patient care services and improved care for each patient in the community setting. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to work with so many pharmacists on improving pharmaceutical care, and I am excited to improve patient health at my future sites and in my own career after graduation.
I believe that Flip the Pharmacy is important because it is helping us reach the future of community pharmacy, where pharmacists play a more clinical role in helping their patients.
Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, Class of 2021
University of Minnesota-Duluth, School of Pharmacy