Hi everyone, my name is Victoria Williams and I intern at Riverside Methodist Hospital – a large tertiary care hospital within OhioHealth. I’ve been with Riverside just about a year now and have absolutely loved my time with them! My role and responsibilities vary with every shift and I’ve gotten to learn many pharmacy functions within a hospital setting. OhioHealth’s intern program is fairly robust. Each year your responsibilities evolve to include more and more clinical duties.
The first year of my internship was all about learning the dispensing and distributive processes of the pharmacy. With a pharmacy serving 800 beds, you can imagine how complicated the inner workings of such a process can be! I was first trained to dispense “unit dose” medications, or in other words, to dispense one dose of a medication per patient at a time. For routine, scheduled medications, this is done overnight in an automated process, but for new medication orders or as needed medications, this dispensing is done throughout the day. Riverside has two robots and two medication carousels to help manage inventory. I work with the robots and a barcoding system to ensure that the right dose of the right medication is sent to the right floor for the right patient. The automation involved here is incredible to witness! I could hardly believe my eyes on my first day on the job.
I was then trained to compound our sterile products – think IV bags and injections. Not only did I learn how to master aseptic technique, but I learned about the regulations regarding sterility and stability of making these products in clean rooms. This directly corresponded with the coursework in out Professional Practice Lab class. It was really rewarding to learn about these regulations in class and then see them implemented at work.
From there, I gained experience that benefited my communication skills – both with patients and other healthcare providers. I am trained to perform medication reconciliation in our emergency department with soon-to-be-admitted patients. Here I am tasked with talking to patients about the medications they are taking at home so that during their stay, the physician team can continue their home regimen, as appropriate, make sure any new medications won’t interact with ones they currently take, and identify any drug related problems. This is definitely one of the more rewarding roles I have at the hospital! My other communication-based position is where I staff the phone line and messaging inbox to central pharmacy. I speak with nurses and physicians and try to troubleshoot medication-related questions. When I don’t know the answer, or if the question is beyond my scope, I transfer the call to the pharmacist, but the pharmacists I work with strongly encourage me to answer clinical questions myself if the question relates to something I learned in school and I feel comfortable answering it!
In the second and third years of my internship, we begin to focus on clinical duties. This summer my fellow interns and I will participate in “clinical intern boot camp” where we are taught the OhioHealth-specific processes to answering formal drug information questions. During this year, we will also begin working on our intern research projects. I haven’t picked a topic for mine yet, but I‘m pursuing some questions relating to chemotherapy, antibiotic stewardship, and medication safety. I’ll have to keep you posted with which direction I choose in a future blog post!
I hope that helps to give you a picture of what it’s like to be an intern at Riverside! In case you were wondering, I work about 20 hours a week – generally every other weekend and half of a shift on Wednesdays every other week. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. J
Until next time!