Our Hospital Pharmacy Team Supports Exceptional Care
March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month in Canada, an annual campaign highlighting the growing role pharmacy professionals play in our healthcare system and a time to thank them for their extraordinary efforts.
Hospitals including Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) have pharmacy departments responsible for overseeing all pharmaceutical operations, which includes preparing, compounding, stocking, and dispensing medications for patients. The Pharmacy Team at CCH includes 7 hospital pharmacists, 16 pharmacy technicians and one pharmacy assistant.
Hospital pharmacists are hands-on members of inpatient care teams, attending ward rounds and working closely alongside physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitians, social workers, and others. They consult on diagnosis, examine patient charts, conduct patient evaluations to recommend a course of treatment, and choose the appropriate dosing of medications and evaluate their effectiveness.
They also play a key role in what we call medication reconciliation, which is critical to patient safety. What this means is they ensure proper communication of medication information to patients/clients, families and other healthcare providers on admission, transfer, and discharge. This is done to prevent accidental disruption of important medications, drug dose errors, and hospital readmission as the patient moves to and from various care settings.
Pharmacy requires a team effort to deliver exceptional and safe patient-centered care. Working closely with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians are regulated health professionals who play a central role in all aspects of drug distribution, restocking medication in patient care areas, compounding sterile and non-sterile preparations, and interacting with all admitted patients to document medication histories.
Not only do our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians support the treatment needs of our inpatients, but they also prepare complex chemotherapies and various other treatments and infusions for a variety of outpatients.
Procurement of medication in the hospital is an important task. This requires continuous and proactive sourcing by our pharmacy team to acquire drug supplies and provide uninterrupted treatment. Despite various drug supply shortages these past few years, our pharmacy team continues to ensure that we have what we need for our patients.
Like many others, hospital pharmacy teams have played a largely silent but urgently important role during the COVID-19 pandemic and now recovery. For example, our pharmacy department was responsible for preparing the vaccine doses which were administered by nurses at our COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. The clinic closed in 2021 after having administered 17,000 doses to people in our community. The team continues to supply specialized medicines used to treat COVID-19.
It’s clear that the contributions of our pharmacy department over the past few years have been remarkable. From supporting our community through the pandemic, providing lifesaving treatment, and managing drug shortages, our pharmacy professionals have been an immense force. Please join me in recognizing not only the pharmacy team at CCH, but all pharmacy teams across the region, for their incredible contributions to patient care and recovery.