National Pharmacy Week
Know your pharmacist, know your medication'
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE Staff pharmacists Jimmy Doolittle, left, and Sid Yates, and Director of Pharmacy Dirk Hicks are three of the five Riley Hospital pharmacists saluted during National Pharmacy Week. Debra Garrett, pharmacy technician, is shown working in the background. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 26, 2002
Pharmacists say people should get to know the person who dispenses their medication and stick with one pharmacist.
At Riley Hospital, Dirk Hicks, director of pharmacy, said doing business with the same pharmacist is better for both patients and their physicians.
More automated techniques for dispensing medications are also freeing up pharmacists' time, allowing them to interact more with patients.
Hicks also said the educational background of entry-level pharmacists has changed from a five-year bachelor of pharmacy program to a six-year pharmacy doctorate program.
And, he said, "Experience is an excellent teacher."
The five staff pharmacists at Riley have more than 115 years of experience among them, most of it in the same place and three have been directors of other pharmacy institutions at one time or another.
Hicks has been a hospital pharmacist for 15 years; Sid Yates has 23 years experience, all at Riley; Jimmy Doolittle has been at Riley for 22 years; Mike Jones has 24 years experience, 21 of them at Riley; and Frank Boone has 32 years experience, 11 of them at Riley.
In observance of National Pharmacy Week, Riley's pharmacy staff was treated to a luncheon this week.
At Rush Foundation Hospital, several events were held, including medication safety sessions and opportunities for the public to talk to pharmacists.
On Friday, Joy P. Alonzo, staff pharmacist with Rush Foundation Hospital, made presentations about medication safety for students at Northcrest Baptist Preschool and Lamar Elementary School.
Pharmacy is practiced in a wide range of settings including community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, mail service, managed care and government. A survey has identified 112,000 pharmacists in community pharmacy, 40,000 in hospitals, and 21,000 in consulting, government, academic, industry and other settings.
Alonzo says people should give as much thought to choosing a pharmacist as they would to choosing a doctor. She recommends visiting several pharmacies, asking about services and experience in disease management, payment options and insurance coverage and the pharmacist's accessibility.
The observance of National Pharmacy Week was established in 1925 by the American Pharmaceutical Association.