Hello Everyone! My name is Rebekah Thomas, and I am a current P2 at the College of Pharmacy. I completed a rotation in the Emergency Department in the beginning of January, and I would like to share my experience with you. My background in pharmacy is primarily community, with a small amount of hospital in the mix. This was my first intensive experience in a hospital, and it was both different and exciting.
This was a 40 hours intensive rotation held over a period of 4 days. I shared this experience with one of my fellow classmates. We were paired up with a PGY2 emergency medicine resident to show us what life was like in the ED.
Our first day started with a tour of the emergency department. My preceptor showed us the divisions of the emergency room, trauma bays, MRIs/CT scanners, and pharmacy workplace. She showed us how the staff communicates via electronic workflow boards, and how they are assigned to different sections of the ED. My classmate and I met with other pharmacists, and then we began to dive into the day to day activities of an emergency department pharmacist.
Our mornings consisted of patient work ups and medication reconciliations. We sorted through patient profiles with our preceptor to identify the most pertinent information. We would first look at the reason for the patient’s visit and then look through physical exam findings, lab results, past and current conditions, and at home medications to better understand the patient’s medical status. If the patient’s at home medication list was not up to date, I would talk with the patient, update their medication list, and verify the information with their community pharmacy. Next, we would look at the medications given at the hospital and determine if they are appropriate based on the patient’s diagnosis and lab values. This allowed me to apply what I had learned in both class and lab in a real practice setting.
Throughout the rotation, our preceptor would also ask us drug information questions that required us to look through drug information resources and hospital treatment algorithms. Our goal was to assess if the prescribed therapy was appropriate or not for the diagnosis. This was a very important part of the rotation because it gave me a hands-on experience in answering drug information questions. It ultimately helped me better learn where to look for certain information in the resources I was provided.
During this rotation, I attended a trauma in which the patient was brought in by life flight. I watched how doctors, nurses, medics, technicians, and pharmacists work together to quickly asses and care for patients in critical conditions. This was amazing to witness because I was able to see how vital collaboration is to patient care.
I also spent some time with a member of the respiratory therapy (RT) team. While working with the pharmacist, I saw a broad selection of medications dispensed to patients with very different conditions. I really enjoyed spending time with RT because I learned about specific medications involved in their work such as breathing treatment medications and the use of ventilators.
This was one of my favorite experiences so far in school, and I am excited for other opportunities yet to come! I will be sharing those with you as well, so stay tuned! Have a great rest of your day!