Medicare Part D provides medication coverage for seniors but it is a very complicated and every changing program that confuses both patients and providers. A team of WesternU student pharmacists have been trained by Drs Hata and Shimomura to give presentations to healthcare professionals and healthcare professional students. On January 28, 2016, second year student pharmacists Alex Poladian, Mane Keshishyan, Natalie Nguyen, Donna Phan and Daniel Tieu gave a Noon presentation to the WesternU Chapter of the American Geriatrics Association (AGS).
Dr Keith Yoshizuka is a pharmacist and a lawyer and teaches forensic toxicology at Touro University in Vallejo. He spoke on "Legal Consulting: How to be an expert witness." A couple of reflections written by students taking the Noon Elective Seminar are posted below:
Alison Lee, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Keith Yoshizuka presented on the job opportunities and on the details involving the field of forensic toxicology. A lot of the presentation centered around pharmacy law. You don’t need to have a law degree in order to testify in court related to pharmacy. There are very few pharmacists with law degrees in the first place. Dr. Yoshizuka said there are about 200 pharmacists with law degrees in the nation. I have never heard of this aspect of pharmacy and am interested in learning more about how this field operates. Forensic pharmacists testify on actions of drugs, mechanisms, side effects, interactions, and standard of practice only for that of a pharmacist. He mentioned that you don’t get to pick which side you represent. You are better off being nonspecific in how you can help a potential client. The chances of getting paid are also better with insurance companies or defendants than plaintiffs. It is better to wait until signing the contract before you start revealing your plans. This seminar was great for tips on how to navigate law in relation to pharmacy.
Jasmine Truong, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Yoshizuka started off by stating how forensic toxicology involves testifying at trial and being an expert witness. He elaborated on how pharmacy involves lifelong learning, how having pharmacy experience right now is important, and how residency is highly recommended. He also explained that forensic toxicology specifically involves testifying about the action of drugs, mechanism of drugs, side effects and drug interactions, the standard of practice, and the meaning of lab test results since pharmacists are the drug experts. He said that it is important to consider how you do not get to choose which side of the trial contacts you, but that may influence you on whether or not you want to take the client. It is also essential that you do not “give away the store before signing the agreement (or contract)”. To prepare for a trial, he explained that all the case materials should be read, the statute of what the prosecution is required to prove should be reviewed for criminal cases, and a thorough literature search of all drugs should be conducted. Furthermore, he named several things that pharmacy schools do not teach us. This includes what happens to the patient after death. Autopsies are not conducted right away when the body is still warm, and this alters the results of the autopsy. In addition, they typically retrieve blood samples from the heart because it is easy, even though it is more accurate to take blood samples from the femoral artery. He then listed the qualifications to be considered as an expert witness (i.e. PharmD, residency, etc.). He also provided various tips for this field of pharmacy including documenting and referencing everything as well as the following statement, “Think clinically, globally, and logically. It is important not to let your emotions cloud your judgment”. This is the keeper idea that I took away from this seminar. I find that I do let my emotions get the best of me in situations that call for a more logical approach. I feel that this piece of advice is important to apply to my practice in the future, since being a pharmacist requires abiding by the law and not letting the emotions of the patient and your own emotions steer you away from this task.
Dr. Guy Ito from Kaiser gave a presentation as part of the Noon Elective Seminar series on January 13, 2016. A couple of students reflections are posted below:
Reflection #1: John Choi, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Guy Ito came to speak about home infusion pharmacy and made it clear that it is more than just dispensing IVs. The main focus is to ensure that it is safe and appropriate therapy and that the patient is able to administer the drugs by themselves when they are released from the hospital. Ensuring they know things like aseptic techniques is important, since they can get an infection otherwise. Pharmacists in home infusion need to keep up with regulations, since you don’t want to get shut down due to violations. Advocating for patients is also important, since there is big pressure to get patients out of the hospital before they are clinically stable. Providing a com-line for patients when they have questions is also important to ensuring directions are followed to avoid complications that can land them back in the hospital. He also spoke of the important of having a life outside of pharmacy, and that choosing your attitude will determine your altitude. That is the keeper I took from the lecture, since being consumed with only work can lead to neglecting other aspects of life that are important. A balance needs to be kept between work and relaxation, since not doing so can lead to stress which can reduce work productivity.
Reflection #2: Nancy Nguyen, PharmD Candidate 2019
Home Infusion Pharmacy is a field of pharmacy that not many new student pharmacists are familiar with. We had the honor of welcoming Dr. Guy Ito as a guest speaker to inform us about Home Infusion Pharmacy and what they do. Home infusion services are provided to patients who are stable enough to live at home, but are still in need of parenteral medications. In terms of monitoring home infusion pharmacy therapy, home infusion pharmacists do more than just dispense IVs. They also do applied pharmaceutics, technology review, and pharmacy regulations. Patient advocacy is also important in monitoring home infusion pharmacy because patient safety is vital.
Show up, do more than expected, and don’t cause any drama. Dr. Ito advised us that if we do those three things, people will notice us. For example, when an opportunity opens, such as a job opening, we will be contacted because those are the qualities that employers look for. I found this tip very helpful and for that reason, this is the “keeper idea” that I took away from this seminar lecture. I will try my very best to keep this advice in mind from now on and be sure to apply it to my life and practice. Personally, I think I do a pretty good job with showing up and not causing any drama, but I need to improve on doing more than expected. I hope that by doing those three things advised by Dr. Ito in my practice, I will be contacted when an opportunity opens up.
Dennis Ancheta, PharmD and Michael Nakamura from Whittier Hospital gave a presentation as part of the Noon Elective Seminar series on January 6, 2016. A couple of student reflections are posted below:
Reflection #1: Diana Tran, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Dennis A. Ancheta and Dr. Nakamura were our guest speakers today. Dr. Ancheta started off his presentation, asking what our interests in the field of pharmacy. Dr. Ancheta gave us a brief history of the evolution of a pharmacist’s role over time. Dr. Ancheta spoke about different pharmacy practice models, which include the drug distribution model, the clinical pharmacist model, and one we should focus on, the patient centered model. He spoke about how we should utilize pharmacy technicians, so that we may focus on the clinical aspect of our profession. Residency programs are continually growing, and as a future pharmacist, we can protect and serve the patient best by joining a residency, which will open doors as well as expand your knowledge, which should also help you do well on the boards. Experience shows competence. Therefore, it is important to volunteer at different practices, as it will show that you are dedicated to learning your profession. A keeper I will take from Dr. Ancheta‘s presentation is his advice to “avoid becoming a shy or passive pharmacist.” He asks us not to be too comfortable in our careers, because pharmacy is a “constantly-change” profession. We should not be afraid of change, but rather, welcome and challenge it. Dr. Nakamura believes that we are more than pharmacists, but clinicians. Dispensing is dead, and automation is taking over. Dr. Nakamura pushes for residencies, as it is what sets us apart from other students.
Reflection #2 Elham Naraghi Sefat, PharmD Candidate 2019
In the begining of this seminar, Dr. Ancheta talks about different types of opportunities in pharmacy field such as out-patient, in-patient, ambulatory care, ect. Then he talks about past pharmacy and its limitation. In the past, the main role of pharmacist was limited to distribution of medication and nothing beyond that. In addition, pharmacists did not have too many interactions with other health care providers. However, in today’s society, there are many evolutions and interactions in pharmacy field.
He also talks about important factors that should be considered for becoming a successful pharmacist such as: avoid being shy and passive, try to become proactive, try to constantly change, do not afraid of making mistakes, treat everyone respectfully, do not burn the bridges, and try to communicate and improve your communications skills.
In the last part of this seminar, Dr. Nakamura also provides students great information and tips of how to find a job right after you become graduate. According to his lecture, pharmacy field is becoming very competitive and students should try to gain more experience by either working at different places or applying to residency programs.
My keeper idea:
I want to improve my communication skills, and beside studying, try to join different internship and club organization to improve my application for applying for residency programs.