A Month in my Life: IPPE Hospital Rotation

Hey y’all! It’s been an amazing month in my Hospital IPPE rotation. I’m writing this blog post as an update about what I’ve been up to the past month! Enjoy.

Week 1: Learning about the medication dispensing/ order verifying process in a hospital pharmacy.

This week I learned a lot about how the typical hospital pharmacy might run on a day-to-day basis.

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday: I spent these days shadowing a pharmacy technician to see what they did on a typical day. We filled orders using the automatic medication carousels, which are basically rotating carousels with bins of medications in them. When you scan an order’s label, the carousel moves to the place the medication should be located in and you just have to pick out how many tablets/capsules that you need and scan the barcode on the medication. Medications in the carousel are all already pre-packaged in unit-doses so that you can just pull out the exact amount of tablets/capsules that you need for a patient’s dose. We also spent some time delivering medications to the different nurses’ stations to put in patients’ bins and also replinished the “pyxis” on each floor. A pyxis is a computerized medication holding device that holdsthe nurses’ floor stock of medications. This allows the nurse to get medications that are used often more quickly than waiting for delivery from the pharmacy.

Thursday/Friday Morning: I spent these days learning about hospital pharmacy inventory. I spent time with the medication buyer, learning from how she ran things. We unpacked and checked in all of the totes that were delivered in the morning on both days. This took quite a bit of time. Our pharmacy is also the delivery site for some of the other departments of the hospital so we went and delivered those totes to the appropriate departments. We took calls from providers trying to get medications that were not on formulary and tried to see if it would be possible for us to purchase the medications. We also prepared the order at the end of each day and made sure that it was complete and ready to be delivered to us the next day.

Friday Afternoon: I spent a lot of this time watching my preceptor (the lead pharmacist and clinical coordinator) verify orders in the main pharmacy and check that IV preparations were made according to their order.

Week 2: Learning about IV preparation in a hospital pharmacy.

Monday/Tuesday: These days were not the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, but they needed to happen for me to be prepared enough to start making IV preparations. On these days, I garbed up in the appropriate PPE and watched the technician draw up and compound IVs.

Wednesday: We spent this day cleaning all of the clean room areas. We spent 4 hours cleaning the clean room, ante room, and chemotherapy room with the appropriate solution and then again with alcohol. When I say clean… I mean CLEAN. We cleaned the walls, floors, ceiling, chairs, etc. Anything that was in the room got cleaned. After I did that, I was actually able to help put “vial-mates” together. Those are devices that allow the IV bag and the medication vial to be attached so that the nurse can wait to mix it all together right before they are about to give the dose. They can be made in advance and we keep a stock of pre-made vial-mates in the pharmacy.

Thursday/Friday: On these days I was actually able to compound IV preparations. I actually drew up volumes of liquid and injected them into IV bags. This was actually really fun. I am super happy that I was able to actually have this experience during my rotation.

Week 3: Learning about medication reconciliation and taking medication histories from a patient (in the Emergency Department) and more IVs (YAY).

Monday/Tuesday: I spent these days learning how to take an appropriate medication history from a patient and how to follow up with the patient’s pharmacy or family members if I had any discrepencies. I had a lot of fun interacting with the patients and actually being able to talk to them about their medications. I probably saw about 15-20 patients on both days in the emergency department. I didn’t see anything crazy come through though like I was expecting when I heard that I would be in the ED.

Wednesday: I spent this day back in the IV room preparing IV preparations.

Thursday: July 4th! I didn’t have to go into the hospital this day… I spent it by the pool 🙂

Friday: I presented a presentation to the pharmacy staff on how to take an effective medication history. I also spent some time shadowing my preceptor on her rounds and how she looks at patient charts with a “clinical eye”. I was able to help her counsel a patient on a new diagnosis of heart failure and I was able to change a patient from an IV medication to an oral form by looking at the patient’s chart and seeing that they were already taking all of their other medications by mouth.

Week 4: Learning about clinical pharmacists and their roles in the hospital pharmacy setting.

Monday: On this day, I shadowed another pharmacist on his rounds and helped him prepare for a presentation that he had to present to a group of senior citizens on opioids for osteoarthritis and dependance on opioids.

Tuesday: On Tuesday, I shadowed the pharmacist that I shadowed on Monday. We looked through patient charts to see if there was anything that we could change. For example, there was a patient on IV azithromycin, but they were taking drugs by mouth… we changed their azithromycin to PO (by mouth).

Wednesday: On this day, I shadowed another pharmacist and focused on cardiac patients. I looked in patient charts and determined if they were on the correct anticoagulants and checked INRs, etc. I also gave a presentation on hospital formularies and P&T committees.

Thursday: I shadowed my preceptor, went with her on her rounds, and helped her counsel patients. We had 2 sets of patients to run through this day, so there wasn’t much free time.

Friday: My preceptor and I sat in the ED and verified orders that had been received from the ED. We also looked at culture results for recent ED patients to see if the antibiotics that they were discharged on were actually active against the colonies that grew in their cultures. I also had my evaluation on this day since it was my last day there.

I am truly going to miss the people that work at the pharmacy. I enjoyed my rotation a lot. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to learn from all of those people.

I hope you all enjoy your rotations if you have some left, if not… I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and learning about some of the things that pharmacists might do in the hospital setting.

Stay golden,

Emily

A Simple Girl Living in a Complex World

Okay, y’all, this is going to be a really rant-y blog post, but it really needs to be said.

I’m just a simple girl trying to live in this complex world around me. I know what I want. In life, in love, etc. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for other people to be honest with themselves and others about what it is they truly want.

Here’s a run-down of what I truly want.

Career wise:

I want to graduate with HONORS from High Point University with my PharmD degree.

I want to work in an independent pharmacy and eventually save up enough money to take over and own it myself.

Then, I want to pursue my passion for helping people by making appointments with patients to help them consolidate their medications and manage their disease states.

Family wise:

I want to find the love of my life.

I want to find a passionate love that I know I want for the rest of my life.

I want to be treated well, but have a true partnership.

I want to get married and have kids.

I want a small house, preferably on a little bit of land.

I want a dog or two.

I want to live close enough to see my parents/brother pretty often. I love them very much.

I want to focus on my relationship with God and have Him in my marriage.

Financial wise:

I want to live within my means but make sure to travel when I can.

I want to save money when I can.

I want to be able to be generous with my money.

It wasn’t that hard for me to say all of that, but I know other people have a harder time with it. Although I wonder why things have to be so complex, why we have to be so wishy-washy and confused all the time, I know that it’s just the world that we live in.

My hopes are that this generation learn to be true to themselves and what they want out of life. It is important for the future.

One thing is for sure though, even when I finally get to the point that I have reached all of these goals, I will not stop to make myself a better person.

All I want is to be happy and to truly be the best person that I can be.

So here’s to that.

Stay Golden,

Emily

Being Alone But Not Lonely

It’s Autumn, and that means that it is “cuffing season.” Being single can be hard.

It’s hard when everyone around you is getting engaged, getting married, or starting a family. Heck most of my friends will be starting their careers in 2019 or have already done it.

It’s harder still because social media makes you feel like EVERYONE around you is doing these things. “So and so just got engaged”… *insert cute wedding pictures from another couple’s wedding*

Your brain (if you’re anything like me) is constantly nagging at you: “what’s wrong with you?”…”why are you still single?”… “you’re going to be alone forever.”

It’s hard to deal with these emotions, but it’s not impossible. It doesn’t have to be depressing, sad, or stressful to be single.

Here are my tips on how to be alone but not lonely, and how to remind yourself that you still have plenty of time to find that great love:

1. Spend time with other single people. This one is probably rather obvious, but it helps a lot. When you’re constantly hanging around couples all of the time, it’s no wonder you feel terrible. They’re great friends and you should spend time with them, but don’t forget the friends you have that are single. Hang out with them as a group to feel less lonely…and maybe even one of them will be interested in you without you realizing!

2. Spend time with family. This is probably another obvious one. For me, this meant moving back home, but for others this could just mean visiting every now and again or calling them on the phone. Your family is always going to be there, and talking to them is a great way to feel less lonely.

3. Date yourself. This one is the most crucial to me. Take yourself on dates, spoil yourself with attention and “me time.” You won’t regret giving your extra attention to your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

4. Save that money. One of the perks of being single is that you don’t have to spend money on a significant other. Save your extra money for something you’ve really been wanting or start a travel fund.

5. Keep a journal. Every day, write down 3 things that you like about yourself or your life, 2 things that you would like to improve, and 1 thing that you’re thankful for. Work on the things that you need to improve and always think about the things that you like about yourself. Most of the time, if you feel confident about yourself, it’ll show through your attitude and will be attractive.

6. Don’t worry, don’t put yourself down. One of the biggest mistakes we make when we are single is complaining about how much we wish we had someone, how we don’t think we will ever find someone, or how we don’t understand why nobody likes us. First of all, someone does like you! You just don’t know it yet. You have to keep up faith that you will find someone because it’s that lack of faith that leads to the loneliness of being single. The feeling that you’ll never find someone.

7. Remember it comes when you least expect it. Live your life for you. Focus on you and bettering yourself. It will come when it’s supposed to, but until then, enjoy your life and cherish the extra time you get to spend with friends and family.

Stay Golden,

Emily

A Day in the Life of a Student Pharmacist (Pharmacy Student)

Generally, it’s expected that pharmacy students will never have it ‘easy.’ Some of us even work in a pharmacy or otherwise during what little free time we have. But for me, it’s stressful enough to just study and go to class all the time.

Here’s a glimpse into what a day in my life currently consists of:

Hit snooze on the alarm for the 3rd time. It’s 6:30 AM; you always set your alarms for 5:00 AM with high hopes that you’ll wake up and do something productive, but you never do.

A feeling of fatigue comes over you as you open your eyes and blink at the alarm on your bedside table a few times. Wow. Is that really the time? You feel as if you have only slept for 2 hours (even if it has been more). You rub your eyes and beg your body to get out of bed because you can’t afford to miss a class.

When you finally get the energy to get up and sluggishly walk into the kitchen to fix your coffee, you try to recall why you’re feeling so tired. You were up late every day this weekend studying for your exams. This is going to be rough. You try to shake the feeling that it’s going to be a long day when you hear your coffee finish brewing.

You finish fixing your coffee, and you start getting ready for the day. Again, you think that today is going to be a long day. It’s Tuesday. You have a Physiology exam at 7:45 and then you are stuck in that same class for 2 hours. Then after that, you have a brief lunch break and then it’s off to Case Recitation. It’s hard to imagine a world where your day doesn’t start at 7:45 AM and end at 4:00 PM, but it seems to be nowhere in sight.

After finishing off your cup of coffee, you try to make sense of the mess that is your hair. You run a brush through it and hope it will look decent enough. If you have time, you fix your makeup, and you’re on your way.

You make it to your exam with a few minutes to spare, but then you realize that you didn’t eat breakfast. You start digging around in your bag in hopes that you packed something that will hold you over. You pull out something totally unhealthy and nibble on it until your professor comes in to begin the exam.

After your exam is over, you walk down the hall and set your stuff out to begin studying for whatever exam is next on the agenda before class starts. It is a neverending cycle. Study for one exam, take it, study for another.

Finally, it’s time to start class. You pack up your things and head back into the room, where someone has taken the seat you’ve been sitting in since the beginning of the year. Go figure. You plant yourself in a seat closer to the back of the room and prepare yourself for the longest 2 hours of your life.

After class, you heat up your lunch and eat it with your friends. Lunch goes by so fast (as it always does) and it’s time to start the last class of the day. You try to pay attention, but all you can think about is the nap you so desperately need but cannot afford to take after class.

You get out of class and head back to your apartment. There, one of two things happens. You either start studying again, or you lay down in hopes of taking a quick nap and it turns into a 2-hour nap which you instantly regret.

After your nap, you try to study some more, but you get distracted by the hunger in your belly. Time to go get dinner. You meet some friends for dinner, but you have to rush off because you have to actually be productive and study.

You tell yourself you’re going to get to bed early, but it rarely happens. You either find yourself studying into the wee hours of the night, or you find that this is the only free time you have, so you have to use it to relax and spend some time on yourself.

Finally, you shower, pack up your bag for the next day, and pick out your outfit. You brush your teeth. You lay down in bed.

And finally, you set your alarm for 5:30 again…knowing it’s already 12AM or 2AM… knowing you won’t wake up that early, but still hoping you can get an early start.

You shut your eyes and dream of the days when you are an active pharmacist… happy, healthy, free.

You’re always trying to thrive, but honestly, it’s okay as long as you just survive.

Try to Stay Golden,

Emily

A Day In The Life: Summer 2017

Now let me tell you, my Summer has been extremely, extremely long and boring. However, I’ve been doing pretty well focusing on my health and making sure I complete my to-do list for starting pharmacy school. So here’s a little insight into what my Summer life consists of.

Wake Up. I have been waking up between 8 AM and 10 AM every day this Summer, and let me tell you, it has been the best decision. I’m able to get so much done just waking up before lunch.

Work Out. I haven’t been doing a super strenuous workout, but I have been doing a 30-day Ab and Squat challenge, and riding my bike around my neighborhood for cardio.

Breakfast. I’ve been going back and forth between a bunch of different breakfasts. Lately though, I’ve been eating oatmeal pancakes and a fruit smoothie with ItWorks Greens blended in (these are my GO-TO for a healthy smoothie).

Plan The Day. I had so much that I was supposed to get done before Pharmacy School, so I’ve been planning my days to make sure I get everything done. (PS: I have! Except for the summer work I haven’t been given yet).

Lunch. So, my lunch hasn’t really been the most healthy, but it’s to die for. I’ve been toasting some bread and smoothing on some peanut butter and some marshmallow fluff. I pair this with some water and some fruit of some sort.

Whatever I Have Planned For The Day. Most days, this consists of dogsitting/babysitting and watching Netflix for forever, but on certain days I’ve been going to the doctor to get my necessary vaccinations for Grad School and doing other things for school. Also, I sometimes go hang out by my pool.

Dinner. Now, my dinners vary so much, but most of the time it’s some form of chicken b/c chicken is the G.O.A.T.

Family. After dinner, I’ve been watching tv or movies with my parents because these are the things I’m going to miss when I move out next Summer.

That’s about all I’ve been up to, and I can’t wait for school to start so I can have even more structure to my day.

Stay Golden,

Emily