National Pharmacy Week highlights Pharmaceutical professionals: Pharmacy is the last line of defense before the patient leaves the hospital

By Greg Mitchell, USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan – National Pharmacy Week (Oct. 16-22) was observed by staff members of U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka, culminating in a cake cutting ceremony, Oct. 21.

Pharmacy Week acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other healthcare settings. It is an ideal time for pharmacists to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements in ensuring safe and effective medication use and to share those accomplishments with patients, other health professionals, and the community.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 27, 2016) – U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka's Pharmacy Department Leading Petty Officer, Petty Officer 1st Class Annaliza Nilo, performs inventory of medication, Oct. 27.  (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Mitchell/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 27, 2016) – U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka’s Pharmacy Department Leading Petty Officer, Petty Officer 1st Class Annaliza Nilo, performs inventory of medication, Oct. 27. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Mitchell/Released)

The week constitutes National Pharmacy Technician Day, a day that gives leadership the opportunity to recognize their staff members for their work.

“We celebrate National Pharmacy Week to recognize all the invaluable contributions that our pharmacists and technicians make 24 hours a day/7 days a week to ensure that safe and effective medications are dispensed to our beneficiaries,” said USNH Yokosuka Department Head, Lt. Cmdr. Linh Quach. “Our pharmacy staff gives their best because it is “The Right Thing to Do” and we understand we are the “Last Line of Defense” before any medication administration.

The Pharmacy is a complex cycle of services provided which constitutes two separate processes of supplying medication; one for out-patients – patients who are not residing within the hospital and in-patients – those who are currently staying within the hospital. A nightshift provides support to patients who receive treatment in the emergency room, solidifying the fact that the pharmacy is in actuality a 24-hour service.

“When Navy Medicine talks about patient safety, the pharmacy is definitely a place that requires extreme attention to detail,” said USNH Yokosuka Pharmacy Leading Petty Officer 1st Class Annaliza Nilo. “Giving a patient the wrong kind of prescription medication would be unthinkable on our part so, we go that extra length to ensure patients are taken care of. There has to be a certain level of accountability and pride that we have in what we do for all patients and it should not be taken for granted.”

Quach elaborated more on the level of professional expertise needed to succeed in the field.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 21, 2016) – U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka's Commanding Officer Rosemary C. Malone (right) and USNH Yokosuka Pharmacy Department Head, Lt. Cmdr. Linh Quach cut a ceremonial cake in celebration of National Pharmacy Week at the pharmacy department, Oct. 21. (U.S. Navy photo by USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 21, 2016) – U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka’s Commanding Officer Rosemary C. Malone (right) and USNH Yokosuka Pharmacy Department Head, Lt. Cmdr. Linh Quach cut a ceremonial cake in celebration of National Pharmacy Week at the pharmacy department, Oct. 21. (U.S. Navy photo by USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

“We are more than just “Pour and Count”,” said Quach. “Our technicians spent almost a year in school learning the pharmacy skill and are certified. Our pharmacists obtained both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree for a combined total of eight years altogether. This level of education is the same for pharmacists and technicians at USNH Yokosuka and at the Branch Health Clinics (BHC).”

The future of Pharmacy lies within the up and coming workforce of Sailors and civilians asked to challenge continuing forward to do their part to support healthcare providers by assisting in patient medication distribution.

“At times, it is very challenging and stressful,” said Quach. “However, the respect and the trust you gain from the medical staff and patients are priceless.”

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