EASTERN NIAGARA HEALTHLINES: Celebrating the role of pharmacists

Kaitlyn Reinhardt


National Pharmacy Week, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, is a great opportunity to acknowledge the pharmacy profession and all that they do for happy, healthy patients.

Pharmacists are required to have a PharmD. (Doctor of Pharmacy degree) to practice, which requires six years of schooling. In New York state, pharmacists have to take three board exams in order to obtain their license and attend continuing education to keep their license active.

Pharmacists often play an active role in your healthcare without you even realizing it. Did you know that pharmacists can work in a multitude of career fields? You can find pharmacists in retail pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, doctor offices, manufacturing plants, insurance companies, et cetera.

At Eastern Niagara Hospital, pharmacists make sure all medications are safe for patients before they even get administered by nurses. Pharmacists work side by side with physicians to make the best medication decisions for patients, which include dosing high risk medications, checking for unforeseen drug interactions, and suggesting safer alternatives. Pharmacists also counsel inpatients on the drugs they are taking, possible side effects, and concerns surrounding their new medications so that their transition out of the hospital is worry-free.

Here are some helpful tips from your pharmacist.

— Always keep a list with you of all of the medications you are currently taking.

— Use a weekly pill organizer to keep track of any missed doses or days.

— If you have a hard time remembering when to take your medication, there are pill bottle alarms you can use to alert you when it is time to take your medication.

— Make sure your pharmacist knows of any over-the-counter or herbal medications you are taking. These drugs can have serious side effects and interactions with your prescribed medications.

You can receive seven CDC-recommended vaccinations at your community pharmacy including pneumonia, tetanus, whooping cough, pertussis, meningitis, shingles and flu. The pharmacy has all types of flu vaccines, including high-dose formulations.

If you have any questions about prescriptions or the medications you are taking, don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist. He/she is always willing to assist and provide you with additional information when you need it.

Kaitlyn Reinhardt, PharmaD, is the director of pharmacy for Eastern Niagara Hospital. Eastern Niagara Healthlines is a special feature by Eastern Niagara Health System staff members. For more information, call ENHS Community Relations at 514-5505.

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