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Medwatch: What is a Clinical Pharmacist?

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:43 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:44 AM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - National Pharmacist Day was recently celebrated on January 12th. It’s a day where pharmacists are celebrated across the country for everything they do. We talked with Tara DeLonais, who is a pharmacist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, about what she does as a Clinical Pharmacist.

She started working at CCMH following her graduation around 5-years-ago.

“I just love all the different parts of it,” she said. “So, you can really impact a patient in improving their quality of life, as well as their length of life, and it’s really neat to see how these different medications can help with that and help make their daily life better.”

Her day as a Clinical Pharmacist is a little different than what people might think because many think of a Retail Pharmacist when they think of a pharmacist.

“I look at labs,” she said. “I look at the lab work. I look at cultures, so if you have an infection, maybe it’s in your blood, they’ll take a blood culture, your urine culture, your wound culture. I actually look at those daily, and if they grow a bug, then I can go through and see what kind of antibiotics they’re currently on and see if that’s the best choice or if we can go and choose a better one.”

She said if she thinks there is a better medication for that bug for that patient, she then makes a recommendation to the doctor. DeLonais said she also helps with COVID medications.

“There are a lot of parameters that have to be met in order to get one,” DeLonais said. “And I go help go through and make sure we’re following those and that the patient meets that...and once it’s put on if we go ahead and monitor that. We monitor the labs to make sure that everything is going well. It does, but it’s because someone is in the background watching it.”

She’s just one of many pharmacists on CCMH’s staff.

“Every pharmacist here kinda has their little niche,” she said. “There’s IT. You don’t think about IT. They’re building order sets to make it easier for the doctor to prescribe the medications, and we have a pharmacist that helps work on the pumps, so your pump library, when you’re getting a medication, needs to be correct. It needs to have the right med at the right dose and have correct maxes.” DeLonais said that allows the pump to run correctly and safely. The hospital also has pharmacists that go out on the floors and talk to patients about the medications they’re taking before they leave.

“There’s a huge team,” DeLonais said. “I don’t think many people realize how many people are caring for them. We have several technicians on every shift, and they do a lot of the work and the care to make sure the patient is getting the medicine on time, and it’s made correctly, and it’s pulled correctly.”

So, the next time you see your pharmacist, don’t forget to thank them for everything they do.

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