Learning from experience: Pharmacists adapt to improve patient care

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Kristin Wiisanen, PharmD, FAPhA (Editor-in-Chief, Pharmacy Today)


I was talking with a new pharmacy practitioner earlier this week, and she described a recent situation that required her to unexpectedly take on a significant share of another pharmacist’s workload. She told me that although it was challenging, she learned more about communication and documentation in the workplace through this one situation than she had ever learned in pharmacy school. This was a great epiphany for this young pharmacist, but didn’t come as too much of a surprise for me. As most of us who have been in practice for a few years have learned, experience is often the best teacher in life—and we sometimes learn the most when things don’t go as expected!The same can be true for us as pharmacists when we are unexpectedly faced with changing landscapes in technology or patient care needs. In many cases, this drives practice innovation, such as that covered in this month’s Pharmacy Today cover story on the growing need for pharmacogenomic testing in community pharmacies (page 26). In recent months, this growth has been catalyzed by FDA’s approval of a first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer pharmacogenomics test. In other cases, a shifting horizon can spur an awareness of patient needs, such as that described in this month’s CPE article on talking to patients about depression and suicide prevention (page 44). Authors describe the need for a “paradigm shift” in our conversations with patients to universally include mental health as a component of wellness to help address this important need.You can also catch up on the latest in drug therapy trends in this issue of Today, from new drug approvals (page 12) to patient counseling for insomnia treatment (page 15), tips on using coenzyme Q10 (page 16), and recent concerns about the return of Primatene Mist inhalers to OTC shelves (page 20).As frontline clinicians, pharmacists are well equipped to adapt to changes to meet patients’ needs. And just as that young pharmacist is learning, our ability to respond to new challenges in our profession helps us to demonstrate our value as health professionals and improve patient care.Have a great Today!© 2019 American Pharmacists Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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