A day in the life of a Practice Pharmacist

Posted by: Flora - Posted on:

I work part time for the practice 2 long days and 2 short days to work around family home life.

On a typical day starting at 7am has its perks of missing the mad morning rush of getting 3 children up and at school on time; however a busy long shift lies ahead.

I start my looking at any urgent query’s from the day before – this can be a huge variety of queries from the district nursing team, palliative care nurses, practice nurses, GP’s, reception, community pharmacy and the prescription team. Variety is the spice of life and makes the day more interesting!

Next I process my blood results this can be anything from 10-30 and then I process bloods assigned to me this include cholesterol, thyroid medications, iron, B12 and folate levels, vitamin D, dexa scans. I assess the results, check the records, symptoms why they had the bloods and generate letters to patients with results, medication, actions and advice, adding patient to my call list that need to be spoken to. We as a practice try to give patient enough detail to given them options to be able to make an informed choice about the future of their health and information about what they can do to help keep themselves healthy. Some bloods are dealt with by letters other need a phone call.

I will work through my task tray which will include discharges or letter brought in from patient with hospital treatment advice notes, changes to patient medications or asking us to starting medication which often leads to a phone call to confirm patients are happy with this and also to discuss potential side effects or what to expect.

Today I have dealt with medication alternatives  for out of stock items or items with a medicine shortage, queries regarding the Covid vaccinations, side-effect to medication, medication requests for item not on patients repeat, queries from staff about guidelines, creating reduction dose schedules for controlled drugs. A worried family member whose relative is not coping with medications. A concerned pharmacist who cannot get hold of a patient assessing the risk – causing a police wellbeing visit. A patient chasing results of a fungal nail sample sent for testing. Sent letters to consultant for further advice and guidance. Each patient is often on the phone for more than 10mins and wants to ask another question it’s so hard to say no so you give that patient more time and attention because that’s I want them to leave knowing I have done what I can. 

My call list usually starts at 8 calls but by the time I have added all the calls I need to make often ends with 20 calls per day, today my calls have consisted of blood results, counselling patients and starting cholesterol medication, Medication follow up, titration of doses of medication for many conditions from BP to steroids for rheumatoid conditions, interpretation of bones scans and counselling. I mainly work in the office to support the prescription team so I am constantly responding to their queries while they are processing repeat requests which can be on average 400-600 requests per day.

Next I work between processing medication reviews, reauthorising medications and processing correspondence from the consultants. I can get anything between 20 – 60 letters a day. My role is a constant cycle of working through the different work streams, with all the additional pressures from the pandemic we have had to adapt and change the way we work some of these changes have definitely been for the better and we will continue this. In other areas we have picked up additional work from the hospitals to try to prevent patients having to go there to source treatment. These areas often require more monitoring and checks which all take more time to process.  

I have realised by inbox will never be empty and I just have to prioritise my work as best I can. We are constantly looking to ways we can improve and make efficiencies to help with the workload. In addition to day to day work we have training to provide to the rest of the clinicians, reps to talk to, safety audits, weekly clinical meetings, process updated guidance.

I final finish the day frazzled at 6.30pm often working through lunch and break in the attempt to get in front if not it’s a nip into Morley to get shopping, a birthday present or whatever Home bargains has to tempt me!

I get home around 7.10pm and it all starts again, with football practice, homework reading, spellings and trying to get dinner and bath time completed without losing my temper and giving the children and my dog some quality time, my poor husband is last on the list and on days like this doesn’t get the best of me as often too tired to watch anything and have to be up at start the next day at 7am again. Luckily I only do 2 long days!   

Hopefully this will give you a slight insight into my day!

What can you do to help

Register for online access, this is available for ordering your own prescription items, checking blood results and booking some appointments. Please phone the main number or pop into the surgery and ask at the main reception desk.

If you order this way it’s much quicker and safer for the prescription clerk to process without having to handle numerous pieces of paper covers in various stains. It’s also traceable so if something was missed we have a record of what was ordered without having to check through prescription bundles. You can check back to see if this has been processed rather than phoning the surgery and blocking the lines.

Order your prescriptions in good time as a practice we allow prescriptions to order 10 days prior to when this is needed.

Attend annual reviews and blood monitoring this allows medications to be reauthorized and updated so the prescription team and process your request more efficiently.

Last, of all be kind and patient we are all working as hard as we can to safely provide your healthcare.