Firsts as a pharmacist

The last few months have been a whirlwind of inductions,covering wards for the first time and learning the importance of timelydischarges. I can honestly say I have learnt more in the last few months as apharmacist than I did through the whole year of pre-reg and I have learned first-handthat experience truly is the key to building clinical knowledge.

I have now been working for my new Trust for just over threemonths, which therefore means that I have completed my first band 6 three monthrotation. This rotation was more like an introduction into dispensary and thedischarge team and was based at a smaller hospital within my Trust. My currentnew rotation is also with the discharge team but is based at a much larger andmuch busier hospital.

As a new Pharmacist at a new job, I have had many things toget used to. I have slowly built myself up from covering one ten bedded ward,to a 24 bedded ward and now to a very fast paced admissions ward where nearlyevery patient is new most days of the week. Just imagine how busy Mondays are!

One of the things I found hardest was being on call for thefirst time. I was imagining all sorts of nightmare scenarios and was so worriedI would have no clue what to do due to my limited experience. My first on callwas over the Christmas period in early January for one night. I literally hadno idea of what to expect and prepared myself for the worst! I rushed home fromwork and ensured I went through the on call bag straight away. By around 9.30 pmwhen I was just wondering if my bleep was even working, it went off and, to myhorror, another bleep went off a few minutes after! The first call was a TDMquery regarding phenytoin levels, but instead of panicking, I made use of theon call guidance, worked my way through calculations and even called anotherpharmacist for advice on what to suggest to do based on the levels.

Since then, I have successfully completed one full week ofbeing on call and one whole weekend. I have learnt to appreciate that being oncall definitely builds on your problem solving skills and clinical knowledgeand is something all junior pharmacists have to go through! The other on callsI experienced were mainly supply issues where I would either issue medicationfrom the robot, ask nurses to borrow from another ward, or use the emergencydrug cupboard’s supply.

As I am now at a bigger and busier hospital, I will becompleting on calls from this hospital. Unfortunately, this hospital does nothave a robot which means medication can’t be issued from home using the on calllaptop and therefore means I would probably have to go in to work to make asupply, which I am nervous about. However, I am extremely grateful that the oncall bag is well prepared as they come in very useful. With stock lists, ward numbers, pharmacy staff numbers and important policies there iseverything an on call pharmacist will need. And not to mention that the on calldoctor can also be called to change any prescribed medication if one iscompletely unavailable.

I am working extremely hard to keep learning and am wonderingwhen I will ever stop experiencing ‘firsts’ as a pharmacist. Even seniorpharmacists tell me that they still learn something new every day! The nextstepping stone for me is to start my diploma, with my induction being thisweek. I am sure this will provide me with many more things to learn and will keep me even more busy than I already am!


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