Hospital work experience: medicines information

On a hospital summer placement I spent time in the hospital’sMedicines Information Office. This was a regional centre where they had to becareful not to take calls from outside of the region which required a goodknowledge of regional geography. The particular centre I visited receivedapproximately 200 inquiries a month and was open to members of the public, GPs,hospital staff etc. In order to answer these requests they always tried to havetwo pharmacists working in the centre. Queries used to be taken from NHSDirect, however, this was not ideal as they are a non-emergency service. Theyare also involved with education and if multiple inquiries are received aboutthe same issue they will send out a bulletin to the relevant staff members. Oneaspect they need to be careful with is patient confidentiality, for example,they often get requests from parents asking them to identify a tablet they havefound in their son/daughter’s room. They were also having a similar problemwith the police requesting the same service where the same confidentialityissues still applied so the police have now bought the software to usethemselves. Communication skills are extremely important as you need to be ableto listen well to the request and to ask the right questions to extract all ofthe information needed.

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