Position/Title: Clinical Pharmacist
Organization: University Medical Center/University of Arizona
Primary Specialty: Emergency Medicine
I received my Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Unfortunately, I did not pursue a residency, however I did spend several years training for my current position. I accepted a staff pharmacist position and then 'volunteered' in the Emergency Department for 40 hours a week. In addition, I spent as much time as possible in didactic lectures furthering my knowledge base. I also received training through completing ACLS, ATLS, ABLS and AHLS.
I work in an academic medical center/level I trauma center's emergency department. The patients that I see represent all levels off care from ambulatory to critical care. On a daily basis, I will see anything from patients with infectious issues to psychiatric issues and whatever may fall in between.
Roles and Responsibilities
My role is not only to facilitate medications to patients, but to actually see the patient's with the medical team and recommend the best therapy at that moment in time. I am also at bedside during all medical/surgical resuscitations to provide prompt and appropriate therapy. This can be anything from getting a patient a warm blanket to providing chest compressions. In the Emergency Department, we do not round as other units do so our time can be varied.
How I Got Where I am Today
I got to where I am in my career through hard work and perseverance. When I started to work in the ED, there was a very small pharmacy presence. Over the years, I have been able to work locally and nationally to recognize the impact that an emergency pharmacist can make in patient care. There was a lot of time where I was very frustrated, but through perseverence, I was able to get to where I am today.
Advice for Students Pursuing this Career Path
For anyone who is truly interested in emergency medicine, I recommend contacting those that work in the field to see if you can shadow them. There are several different styles of practice and you should go to where you feel best suited. I also recommend to train where you will get the broadest exposure. Emergency Medicine is about 10% critical care and 90% everything else. If you are unable to find an emergency medicine program, look at other areas such as pharmacotherapy that consist of a broad patient population.
Professional Organizations/Activities Outside Day-to-Day Job Responsibilities
I am an adjunct faculty member for both the college of pharmacy and school of medicine which allows me the opportunity to educate many different levels of providers. I am also a member of ASHP where I contribute to different educational committees to further the presence of emergency pharmacy. Through ASHP, I have been participating with the Patient Care Impact Program to assist pharmacists interested in working in the Emergency Department. Outside of the hospital, I spend time teaching various EMS providers different aspects of medication use for pre-hospital care.
You can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org