Nursing and pharmacy go hand in hand, and sometimes the relationship can be strained. Often, nurses want their patients’ medications now, and pharmacy doesn’t send them quickly enough.
Dealing with pharmacy, like dealing with any colleague, is much easier when you are prepared with everything they will need. This means doing your homework and looking over what you are asking of the pharmacist.
Although pharmacy may be a constant stressor for nurses, there are ways to deal with the department that can make the interaction go more smoothly. Here are three ways you can make the interaction less stressful.
Have a complete and correct order
Most facilities are now using electronic means to send orders to the pharmacy, and this means that the likelihood of an error is greatly reduced. However, it doesn’t mean that errors can’t happen.
You need to look at the order and determine if it is right for the patient. Is it the right medication?
Did the doctor write it for the right dose and the right interval? Are all of the necessary elements of an order included, such as dosage and frequency? If any are missing, it may mean a delay by pharmacy.
Have background on the patient
When calling pharmacy, be sure to have all the relevant information at hand. It is remarkably similar to calling a doctor in that you should have all of the patient’s records pulled up.
Allergies are the number one concern of the pharmacy, but knowing what other medications the patient is on is important, as well. This will help the pharmacist determine if there are any interactions that may be dangerous.
They may need to know the patient’s diagnosis to help them analyze whether the medication would be contraindicated for that condition. Finally, they may need to know blood work results to ensure the patient doesn’t have a result that would affect the medicine they are prescribed.
Like nurses, pharmacists and their assistants are usually swamped, overworked, and stressed. Although you may feel this way, too, it helps to have some patience with the person on the other end of the phone.
Your patient’s safety may be in question, but you will not get anywhere by screaming at pharmacy to send you the medications. They have checks they have to do on patients, too, and this can take time.
Be sure to send your orders STAT if the patient is in danger. These are usually filled much more quickly, but they still may take some time.
In the end, remember that pharmacy is trying hard to meet your needs, and you need to be as understanding with them as with any colleague. Try not to overreact when they don’t fill your orders immediately, and maintain your professionalism when you call to enquire about them.
You wouldn’t want someone yelling at you, and it is often the same for pharmacists who are moving as fast as humanly possible while keeping the patient safe.