Back to Basics: Who is a Pharmacist?



A pharmacist! 

In this part of the world, it would seem the role of pharmacists are not understood let alone appreciated. Somewhere along the line, things got blurred and now we have people either placing expectations on pharmacists that should not be or not even knowing what to expect of a pharmacist. You see scenarios where pharmacists are carrying out their duties and you hear things like “why would you ask me that?” or “why would you ask for a prescription?”

Who really is a pharmacist? Why do they tend to ask questions when you go to get your prescription filled? Why do they ask to speak with your Doctor sometimes? Aren’t they just supposed to just count drugs? The answers to these questions and many more is what I hope to achieve with this post.

A pharmacist, the medication expert on the healthcare team, is a healthcare professional who is concerned with ensuring the safe and efficacious use of medications, providing information on medicines and medicinal products, and ensuring the overall wellness of the Patient/Client. 

The professional commitment of a pharmacist is Pharmaceutical care! (Not to bore you with medical jargon but this basically means responsibly providing drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve the patient’s quality of life within realistic economic expenditures)

 I have come to recognize and accept my role as a Pharmacist, I therefore solemnly and truthfully pledge MYSELF to devote my life to the service of mankind.”

                                 -excerpts from the Pharmacist’s Oath, PCN ’15

In no particular order, here are some of the responsibilities of a pharmacist, especially as it relates to the patient.

1. Dispensing/Filling prescriptions: This is probably the single most expected duty of pharmacists. It is the responsibility of the pharmacist to ensure prescriptions presented to them are filled accurately as is suited to the patient. The pharmacist has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring the 3 R’s – Right drug, Right patient and Right dose, and assessing a prescription to check for possible interactions and proper dosages. This is essential because all drugs are poisons, it’s only the indication and amount ingested that draws the fine line between it being efficacious and it being flat out lethal to you. The pharmacist is legally obligated to not supply drugs that are likely to be abused or may be detrimental to your health where there is no reason to believe that it is required.

…I do consider the health of the patient or patrons above all and will abstain from whatever may be deleterious to their health.”

                                    -excerpts from the Pharmacist’s Oath, PCN ’15

2. Communicate with Prescribers: As earlier mentioned, the pharmacist is the medication expert on the healthcare team and as such it is the duty of the pharmacist, in whatever setting(hospital or community), to ensure that you are receiving the best medication for your situation. Sometimes this may entail having to liaise with your physician but be rest assured that it will only result in you getting the best care. Anytime a prescription order is unclear or potentially harmful to a patient, it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to confirm dosages, formulations and substitutions, sometimes even make suggestions on what decision and medication is better suited for the patient. 

3. Counsel patients: This role involves more than just informing you on adverse reactions or drug interactions, although those are equally important information the pharmacist passes on to the patient. The counselling session is more of an interactive training session where the patient is involved in his/her own regimen. The patient is educated on how and when to take doses, follow up questions are asked to see if the medication has been helpful to the patient. The pharmacist shares tips on how best to minimize side effects and maximize benefits of a patient’s regimen, and also advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

4. Health Promotion: The pharmacist engages in health promotion campaigns on a wide range of health-related topics and particularly drug-related topics such as antibiotic resistance, rational drug use, alcohol abuse, etc and also disease prevention campaigns like immunizations. Health topics such as Hypertension, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Diabetes and even family planning are examples of issues the pharmacist responsibly educates the community on.
 
These are only a few of the responsibilities of pharmacists as it relates to patients so the next time you come in contact with a pharmacist, whether in the hospital or in a community pharmacy, feel free to ask for whatever medical advice you require. Our professional responsibilities center around you, the client, and we are here to ensure you get the best care.

Till next post,

R.PhNextDoor!😊💊

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Know Your Drugs!!!

Dear Patient Client,

My writing this to you is deemed necessary as a result of some situations I have been privileged to observe in recent times. The average Nigerian does not know anything about whatever medication they’re taking. You hear things like “It’s one yellow and red capsule” or “They gave me this round tablet for the headache last time” or even the absolutely bothersome “it’s my wife that knows the drug” line. I hate to break it to you but these lines (and all the other ones you have up your sleeves) are no longer acceptable, not to your local drug store attendant and most definitely not to your pharmacist. So, this is going to be some sort of Drug Identification Counselling/Sensitization hopefully in a not-so-boring way. I’ll try to state some of the many reasons your excuses are no longer valid and trust me, you’re at the center of it all.

Do you have any idea how incredibly smart and worthy of my respect(as a pharmacist) it is when I ask a patient “are you on any other medication?”, and they give me a list of the drugs they take with the dosing regimen? It’s like *swoon* I’m in love…with your brain. Lol. The truth is, as a patient client, you have come into the pharmacy for my medical assistance. How am I supposed to help you when you won’t give me the tools to? Saying “one white tablet” is like telling me to find a needle in a haystack, we all know that’s never going to happen. So you leave us racking our heads and asking a million and one questions just to try to figure out the drug you’re taking. It’s time consuming and incredibly exhausting for both parties and sometimes you leave without figuring it out.

As for those that have been told countless number of times and their response is “How do you expect me to know these names, I’m not a medical person?” Want to know the truth? That’s another flimsy excuse right there. If you’re a female, when you go to the market and want to buy a particular type of vegetable, you don’t go describing the shape of the leaf to the seller, you expressly say the name of the one you want. Guess what? You’re not a botanist but you know the exact type you want and won’t mix it up, how’s that? If you’re a man, you know the specifications of the good cars around and when you need to buy one, you don’t go there and say “I’d like to buy the red one please”.

You know why? You paid attention to these things, you know the name of the vegetable you want or the car you love or even your favorite shoe designer because you paid attention to these things; you thought of them as being important. How much more the drugs you take to get better? They’re clearly more important but we never think of them. Majority feel it’s the job of the pharmacist to know. Guess what? Your pharmacist is not a psychic! They can’t know what drug you’re referring to when you say “one pink tablet”.

The thing is I know you expect your health professionals to be all-knowing and perfect but the truth is we’re human beings and we make mistakes. How would you know if a mistake has been made or a wrong drug has been given if you can’t even identify what you’re on? So pls the next time you have a prescription to buy medication, take the time to ask for the name of the medication and how to use it, and know them. If you find it hard to memorize the medical jargon name, you can save it as a note on your phone. It goes a long way in determining the type of care you get from your health professional.

As I always say, we only want what’s best for you. Its not that we like to stress you, but to get the quality of healthcare you desire, we need to work hand in hand to make it happen.

Till the next post…

R.Ph next door:)💊

Dysmenorrhea! Oh Dysmenorrhea! 


Dysmenorrhea…

Funny, a large number of people don’t even know what this term means. Let’s try a simpler term.. “Period cramps”??? See… now we’re all on the same page. ‘Dysmenorrhea’ is just a medical term fancier and geeky way to describe Period pain, cramps, etc.

So this is not one of those posts to educate you on the how’s and why’s of dysmenorrhea. This is a post to educate you on how to behave around people with dysmenorrhea. Truth is there’s no adequate way to explain the pain you’re feeling…some people have tried…

“it feels like there’s a fat man sitting on my uterus” 

“it hurts like I’ve laid a million eggs and they’re all hatching” 

“it’s really bad, like someone glued and duct-taped the inner wall of my uterus and then started violently ripping it off. And on top of that, you have diarrhea, and sometimes an upset stomach.”

Trust me people, it’s one of the most inconvenient, intense,  excruciating and exhausting things ever. There really are ‘NO WORDS!’ to explain the feeling and you know what? It differs… you think your case is bad? Wait till you see the lady that gets admitted to the hospital or one that steady passes out! So this is not only about educating the guys because we feel they don’t know half of what we go through (even though I think a vast majority of them have no clue), there are also ladies who downplay other ladies’ cases because a mild Paracetamol solves theirs.

If you’re one of those ‘2 tablets of Paracetamol can solve all my period issues’ ladies or one of those ‘what are cramps’ ladies, God be praised…Lord knows I rejoice with you, in fact I’m doing a little wiggle for you right now BUT remember some other ladies need to take Tramadol (a higher up analgesic) or go to the hospital for injections and all that, so before you go passing comments like “is it not just cramps?” Or “is she the first person to have cramps” or even “Is it because of cramps you are acting like you want to die?” (Ummm…yeah I want to die, leave me! ) remember that she might have it worse than you do OR she could have a lower pain threshold…yup, that’s a thing! You see, what might seem like a little pinch to you can have someone else with a lower pain threshold rolling, wailing uncontrollably and acting seemingly crazy. We can’t all be Incredible Hulk like you.

Yeah, and for those of you ‘know-it-all’s that blame people’s pain on too much ‘ijekuje’ (junk eating)…mbok face your market! To each his own…well her own in this case. I’m not saying it’s not okay to offer help or advice to help ease the pain but no one needs the judgement! Save it for some other time…more like NEVER! If you have nothing nice or helpful to say, please move along quietly. The truth is some ladies have cramps because they have more serious underlying medical situations like Fibroids, PID, endometrosis, etc. Guys, I promise you, if you only had one day to experience the cramps we go through every month (twice a month for some) you’d almost ask God to take you home.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is “BE CONSIDERATE” Do not mock a pain that you haven’t endured. You’re a lady that has cramps doesn’t mean you know what my cramps are like, you’re a guy that…scratch that, guys have no idea! Tolerate other people and the way they handle their pain, and be grateful to God for your life while ensuring you’re not worsening someone else’s. Even if Especially if they’re yelling at everyone and being cranky, don’t contribute to their already difficult and exhausting situation. The world would be a much more better place if we were more considerate and tolerant of others!

 

 

Till the next post…

R.Ph next door😊💊

EPISODE #7-TOLU’S PHARMACY INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE!

Mama we made it! Lol…

My internship experience got featured on thatinternist…Please read, I hope you enjoy it!

thatinternist!

Hello!

This is another episode of the Pharmacy Internship Experience series brought to you from the stables of thatinternist blog. Lol! Why so serious?

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This experience is from darling Tolu (see that beautiful smile up there) day one supporter of this blog, like she deserves an award for real. Tolu shares with us her experience as a Pharmacy Intern at National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi (NOHIL) . Thank you very much sister girl. I am sure you all will enjoy and get something valuable from her experience. Let’s do this.

Tell us about you:

I’m ToluWAlope Adeoya but you could just call me Tolu (as usual) but pls NOT Tolulope…Go short,long or GO HOME!. I attended the University of Lagos and graduated in 2015 with  a B.Pharm degree. There’s a fairly long list of things I love to do but if I had to mention…

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Memoirs of a Young Pharmacist II

Hi!

First, it’d only be right to apologize for not writing for so long… Life got real busy (apparently the grown up life is not child’s play) plus I just kinda got lazy (the whole truth and nothing but the truth). So here I am, up at 1am penning down this very pressing issue.

I have experienced this over and over again at my current place of work and I’m beginning to think it needs to be addressed. Now for some strange reason, an average Nigerian with an appointment at a tertiary medical institution has to be up super early, get to the hospital as early as 7am or 8am (sometimes earlier in other institutions) just so they get to see their Doctors in record time, record time being latest by noon! While this is rather disturbing, there’s only so much we can do about it till a lot of measures are put in place by the Government.

Back to the pressing issue, this same average Nigerian doesn’t have a problem with sitting with their Doctor for however long is necessary even if they are having mini teaching sessions -with their protégés or sometimes students on hospital training programs, making/receiving a phone call, or anything else for that matter and really that couldn’t bother me any less as long as they decide it’s okay. Now what I don’t understand is why said patient after being seen by the Doctor, brings their prescription to the Pharmacy and suddenly is now in a hurry and wants to ‘chop off’ the head of whoever is attending to them.

I’d like you to understand a few basic things,

  • The average pharmacist you meet at the point of presenting your prescription knows what you’re going through and how long you’ve probably had to wait to see a Doctor, and as unbelievable as it may sound to you, that pharmacist is definitely not trying to make your life difficult. If anything, he/she is trying to render the best service possible.
  • It is absolutely, I repeat ABSOLUTELY unfair and impolite to start making side comments and hurtful remarks about someone trying their best to help your situation. Now while I understand that seeing a Doctor is probably one of the most traumatizing things for a number of people especially if the report is not a good one, your pharmacist is only trying to help. Your hurtful comments or insults are not encouraging and quite frankly could bring your pharmacist from 100 to zero real quick.
  • If the pharmacist sends you back to your doctor with your prescription to make some corrections or clarifications, I promise it’s not because they love to send you on fruitless journeys ’cause I promise they don’t. It’s only for your own good. Now based on the nature of our job and because your life and health are our utmost priority, we can’t make assumptions when it comes to your medications. We need to know for sure what the Doctor meant to or didn’t mean to write. We need to make suggestions if we know that what was written isn’t all too suitable for you, and there really are so many  reasons I cannot get through all. The most important thing I need you to know is that as uncomfortable as it seems, it’s for your own good.
  • In a case where the pharmacist decides to go the Doctor and get said clarification, pls don’t nag others about how they’re wasting your time because like I said (and I really can’t say this enough) IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! I promise they’re not trying to keep you in the hospital any longer than you need to be.
  • When you are being counseled on how to use your medication, that really is not the time to start saying things like “Just give it to me and let me go” “I’ve used it before I know everything”. It’s also not the time to hide information required, possibly because you think they will judge you or whatever other reason you give yourself. Now as thorough as your Doctor’s visit might have been, they’re only human, some questions don’t get asked. It’s our job as the final contact to ensure that as you get your medication, you are not taking any other thing that could interact, you make appropriate lifestyle modifications when necessary and a couple of other i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. So pls don’t freak out and make the process seem absolutely unnecessary cz like I said WE ONLY WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU.

Since I can’t get through all the things you do to your pharmacist that’s wrong on so many levels (you know in your heart), I’m imploring you to take a few minutes, be patient, LISTEN, make amends when necessary, and try to be polite at all times…it encourages your pharmacist, and both parties leave happy and satisfied, you getting your medication armed with all the information you need to have the result you and your Doctor desire, and the pharmacist happy that another patient’s health situation has been properly handled.

We really do love you and we want what’s best for you (Its true, that’s why I’ve had to say it over and over again so it’ll sink in). We swore an oath and we take it seriously.

 

Till the next post,
R.Ph next door 😊 💊

Memoirs of a Young Pharmacist!

Heey!

So basically, this is me sharing my experiences with people and the situations I’ve found myself in as a young pharmacist hungry to work and help people.

In this first part, I would like to share my experience with self prescriptions which include buying medications based on recommendations of other people. This is one of the many dangerous things we practice here.
So your friend had a headache, took some Panadol and was relieved. Now you have a headache and that friend says “Oh I had that last week, 2 caplets of Panadol should fix you up”. That’s a minor example but that’s what we all do. A headache could be one of the symptoms of a lot of ailments but you’d rather go with your friend’s advice cos it worked for said friend. This happens with a lot of drugs; antibiotics, supplements, analgesics… you name it! There’s just no end to the things people self prescribe.

So just last week, a man walks into the pharmacy and asks for a well known antibiotic. I had this strong urge to ask him what he wanted it for and to know if there was something else he could use for whatever it was.
And then he says, “I don’t know oh, it’s my sister that told me to help her get it”.
I asked if he knew what she wanted to use it for. Of course he didn’t, so he offered to call her so I could talk to her. That was when I got the greatest shock I had had all week! She wanted to use it for “the fruit of the womb” (her words exactly).

My expression = !&@£?!!!

So I started trying to explain the A to Z of the drug to her but she really wasn’t interested. Someone told her to buy it and use it because it worked for that person and that’s all she cares about. As far as she was concerned, I was yarning…
So I tried explaining to her brother, he listened and I even showed him things she could use if she had a fertility issue (though she already had two children and was looking to get a third one). He finally said he’ll go home and explain to her.
Lo and behold, in comes the same man barely 10 minutes after. Apparently the woman had yelled at him and sent him right back to buy it nonetheless.

Did I sell it to him? Yes, with the dosage written boldly on the dispensing envelope.
Would she use it accordingly? I wouldn’t know seeing as her friend or whoever is her reference point.

What am I trying to bring out here? For all we know the person who told her to buy it might have not been able to conceive because she had a bacterial infection which the antibiotic solved. I know right now you might be thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen to her anyway?” Well, first it won’t do what she wants it to do especially if she doesn’t have an infection; secondly she could develop resistance to said antibiotic.

Please, please and please, if there’s anything wrong with you, my first advice is to pray and trust God to sort you out. Secondly, don’t go about asking people if they have been through what you are going through and what they used, see a certified medical personnel, run tests if need be, because you may be getting the quick answer you want right now and be doing yourself a harmful lot.

R.Ph next door! 😉