Armed with a green pen and transcription sheets I walked up to my assigned ward both excited and terrified. I set myself up at my computer to get a hand over and a nurse came over clutching a bundle of charts. She asked if I was the pharmacist, to which I had a moment of elation before I answered, ‘yes I am indeed’. To my dismay she demanded I order medication which never arrived up to the ward and why pharmacy were so incapable of sending the medications that were needed.
As the week went on, I can only say that I was pleasantly surprised and unbelievably pleased with the scope that a registration number had given me. I got to know all the doctors and by the end of the week left them lists of queries and changes for them to come back to after lunch and the nurses knew exactly where to pounce on me. Was it a scary week? Most definitely. I completed my checking and screening logs quickly to realise although it was great to have them out of the way, the reality was no one was second checking me, my signature released whatever drug it was put. As a pre-reg, I can admit that I found the constant checking of drug charts that hadn’t changed boring. As a newly qualified, I calculated every creatinine clearance and platelets while screening VTE prophylaxis, if I couldn’t understand a drug’s indication I would go through years worth of notes to see exactly why we were continuing Omeprazole 40mg and occasionally without warning I would run from my desk to flick back through a chart I just finished with. Take away message from the first week, there is a lot more to the profession I thought I knew. My bedtime for my first week was on average 9:30pm as my brain was struggling to hold the information gained each day without losing consciousness. I was knackered, flustered and at times intimidated. But, I literally could not have asked for a better introduction to clinical pharmacy as a junior. It’s hard work, stressful and at times frustrating but our input boosts patient safety extensively without the patient’s themselves knowing. It used to bother me that pharmacists never got a shout out on thank you cards, but knowing my input has drastically improves care has a personal satisfaction that is greater than a card.
Clinical pharmacist, U.K