Posted 21 Jun 2014 by Leisa
I recently undertook a week placement at St Georges Hospital in Tooting. I have also previously completed placements in community pharmacy. One thing that is clear is that a hospital pharmacy is not as accessible as community pharmacies, which are never more than twenty minutes drive away from anyone. I always wondered what the big differences were between working in a hospital pharmacy compared to a community pharmacy. As a 3rd year pharmacy student my role was to shadow and observe pharmacists - although I was able to dispense medication. This is a reflection on my experiences of both.
The most obvious difference between the two is that in a hospital pharmacists come face to face with a wider variety of diseases and conditions than in the community. Patients are usually admitted with acute conditions, as well as possibly having a chronic condition too. Most of these conditions are very severe and usually lead to a variety of medicines used which are not sold in community pharmacies. This inevitably means hospital pharmacists develop broader clinical knowledge on a daily basis.
I guess you could say it is this clinical knowledge that makes pharmacists an important part of the healthcare team. Pharmacists are responsible for individual wards and regularly need to liaise and work alongside doctors, nurses, dietitians, psychologists as well as others pharmacists. All these staff are around to ask for advice. In the community there is usually one pharmacist working with a healthcare assistant, pharmacy technician and pharmacy assistant, (unless the pharmacy is based in a walk in center.) The healthcare team is smaller and the pharmacists would probably only liaise with the GP and perhaps a patients care facility. Usually this would be when speaking on behalf of a patient.
No two days are the same in the constantly busy pharmacy. There are always demanding customers with unexpected questions. In the community, the public are free to walk in and talk to the pharmacist. People usually have questions or queries regarding minor ailments such as skin conditions, allergies, coughs and colds. One thing that is clear is that the in the community it is all about the customers and you quickly build relationships with those that regularly visit. Most pharmacies offer health check screening for diabetes and high blood pressure. There are also many health campaigns such as smoking cessation and sexual health advice which also draw the public into the pharmacy. Taking part in these opens up the opportunity to talk to patients about other concerns they may have.
Rapport with patients is important in both settings. In the hospital it is especially important when trying to retrieve a drug, social, family and past medical history which are all important when for treating and managing conditions.
After experiencing both types of pharmacy I can conclude that in the hospital pharmacists use greater application of clinical knowledge, and a wider range of drugs. In the community there is a huge emphasis on promoting health and well being, and supplying medications for patients who can manage conditions at home. Both settings give the chance to have more of an impact on patient care.
As I mentioned above I have undergone pharmacy placements previously - three hospitals and three community pharmacies so far. I start my final year in September and this summer is when applications for pre-registration year begin. The experience I have had in both types of pharmacy have really helped me gain an insight into different employment routes... but unfortunately I am completely lost as to where to apply, which is why I am going to apply to both communities and hospitals.
Wish me luck! And I hope for anyone considering Pharmacy I hope this review gives you a little information on the placements we undergo during the course.
1) Bowling in the Rotunda in Kingston - great deals on a Tuesday and this place is so much fun. It also has a bar so get some friends together for an evening of fun socialising and see who has the best lane-skills!
2) Roller disco at Vauxhall - You have to do this at some point during your time at Kingston, because it's so close and SO much fun. Get all dressed up and go have some laughs. I must warn you though, it gets harder the drunker you get. I came out bruised and battered, but my spirits were high!!
3) Taking in the sights like a tourist through Westminster on the bus - a very affluent area, with some insane shops to browse! Get on the 9 bus from Trafalgar square and sit up on the top deck to take in the sights. Check out the luxury yacht shop on Pall Mall where you can choose the sails and the decking of your future boat!
4) Breakfast at The Blues Kitchen in Camden - one word: pancakes. What isn't to love about this place? Breakfast can be at any time of day, and this place even doubles as a terrific night spot for all you jazz and blues fans who like getting' down and sippin' whisky.
5) The Shard in London Bridge - Take the lift up the tallest building in Western Europe for a glass of champagne and some spectacular pics. At a height of 1000 feet, you will get the best views of the London lights below. I was a little afraid to be honest, which explains my rather odd facial expression!
6) Another small list of things I have enjoyed doing in London: a day out at Kew Gardens, a day at Hampton Court Palace, a show at the Royal Court Theatre in Chelsea, Japanese food at the Hare and Tortoise in Putney, an interesting lecture at Somerset House, a tour of the Houses of Parliament, rum cocktails at The Cuban Bar in Camden, a night out to Funky Buddha in Mayfair and finally a terrifying venture to East London to tour the gruesome spots where Jack the Ripper murdered his victims. Nice! I realise most of these excursions are very SW, but I plan to venture over to the arty side more in third year, I promise!
Exams are over for this year! I cannot explain how happy I feel waking up and not having to study.
I don't want to discuss how difficult they were, how time consuming revision was or how worried I am about the results... but I do want to tell you a few of my plans for the next few weeks and maybe I can inspire you all to do the same - after all we have at least a couple of months where nothing is standing in our way!
The list is in no particular order, but something tells me sleeping in will definitely be the first thing I do !
Summer 2014 is on its way! I hope the weather stays warm and bright because I think we all need a really hot summer to make up for the stress and lack of sleep.
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