No, this is not a Julie Andrews musical about to begin (although I do love watching the Sound of Music every year) but rather a couple more “walkrounds” where I get to spend a few hours with GRMC team members as they show me what it takes to do their job. Recently, I got the chance to shadow employees in the pharmacy department.
The most impressive thing about watching our pharmacy team perform their jobs is the obvious commitment to safety. Checks and double-checks keep the pharmacists and pharmacy techs busy as they go about their daily duties.
On the day I visited our pharmacy, I got an overview of our chemotherapy program. Obviously, these are some of the most powerful and dangerous drugs we administer and keeping tabs on how our patients are responding to the oncologists’ orders is a top priority. The drugs need to kill the cancer with minimal damage to the rest of the patient. I also got an overview of our competency program as one of our pharmacists demonstrated the procedure to clean and test our chemo drug preparation hood. This is a specially-designed containment area for our pharmacists to prepare the chemo drugs for each individual patient. Keeping our pharmacy and nursing staff safe with their exposure to these chemicals is very important.
I also went along with a pharmacist to visit a patient in the process of being discharged. This patient had an extensive list of medications. The pharmacist spent time reviewing in detail each new medication and their possible side effects. The doctor had also made changes to the patient’s previous medications. The pharmacist explained those changes and answered many questions with a caring attitude. Careful notes and explanations were clearly appreciated by the patient.
Finally, I ended my visit to our pharmacy with an opportunity to be a currier! A Des Moines hospital called while I was visiting the department and asked if we had extra of a very expensive chemo drug. Because of the high cost, hospitals do not keep many of this on hand. As it turned out we did have a few doses left in our inventory. I transported the medication to Des Moines that afternoon since I was headed that way for a meeting. It was great to see the sharing that goes on when a patient needs a medication, even those we only keep in short supply.
There are so many excellent staff members dedicated to the best outcome for the patient. These walkrounds always make me feel proud to be a part of healthcare and GRMC.