A day in the life of a Hospital Pharmacist Prescriber

Posted on Wed, 31/01/2018

The prescribing of medicines is one of the most common healthcare interventions throughout the hospital, with the vast majority of our patients being prescribed medicines for their main course of treatment throughout their stay and as they carry on their recovery at home.

Our hospital pharmacy team are an integral part of the hospital and work throughout the day to ensure our patients receive the correct prescriptions, determine the right dosage and best route of administration for each person. Most importantly they ensure that their treatment is compatible with their existing medication.

The pharmacists are based on the wards to sit down with patients, review their existing treatment, and use admission information and blood results to ensure the medication prescribed is the most suitable for their needs.

For the past year elective orthopaedic patients arriving at the hospital, have been seen by a pharmacist prescriber. These prescribing pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that patients’ regular medications are prescribed correctly in order for them to be continued on the ward. Once an inpatient, our pharmacy team will do ward rounds and electronically monitor each patient’s drug chart to make sure it’s kept up to date. Electronic prescription charts are more efficient and reduce the chance of human errors, which ultimately helps speed up prescription turnaround times and allows electronic transfer of information to GPs on discharge.

Each pharmacist prescriber has a wireless laptop which they use to prescribe medicines face to face with the patient. This also allows them to complete prescriptions immediately and to access all patient information, results and GP records. The scripts can be sent down almost instantly to the pharmacy electronically or through the pneumatic shoot system. They can then be processed as soon as possible to meet the two hour turnaround time in pharmacy.

 

Each ward has an Omnicell Cabinet, which automates medication storage and ordering and can hold up to 700 different items. This means that patients have faster access to medications while the system also makes it easier to manage and monitor medication use and inventory levels. The cabinet connects to a pharmacy information system, so that wards can locate medicines not stored within their cabinet, but stored elsewhere within the hospital, the main benefit to the patient being fewer doses of medicines missed.

The pharmacist prescribing role has now been extended onto other wards within the hospital to help with the pressures of winter. Pharmacist prescribers based on wards have been shown to complete up to 70% of discharge prescriptions rather than relying on doctors alone. The benefit of this is a much more efficient process, with twice the number of prescriptions arriving in the pharmacy before 10am and half the number arriving after 3pm. Patients are then ready to be discharged home a lot earlier in the day. 

When a patient is ready to be discharged, pharmacists are responsible for ensuring a supply of all medication that needs to be taken home with them and counselling the patient so that they know the instructions they need to follow and that they are aware of what medication they have been prescribed. 

 

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