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What Does a NURSE Do in the Pharmacy?


A nurse working in Pharmacy, you ask? What does a nurse do in the pharmacy? Good question. In October of 2007, RN Mary Dinos accepted a position as the Nurse/Pharmacy Liaison. It is a position that has piqued the curiosity of not only the pharmacists, but other nurses and doctors alike. Like any newly created position, it takes awhile to delineate and formulate the specific duties that can be done by a Registered Nurse in the Pharmacy.

Initially Mary spent a great deal of her time in the Pharmacy observing the pharmacists during their shifts, on days and evenings, to get an idea of the routine in the pharmacy. She talked with the staff as to what would help make the process run smoother and more efficiently. Mary began answering phones in Pharmacy and respond to the questions or concerns of the nurses.

This was a real eye opener for Mary. She was incredulous at the number of times the pharmacists had to stop processing the orders to answer the phones, which of course, leads to interrupted 'train of thought' and increased risk of error. Mary thought about the times that she was just as bad, if not worse, when she was working as a staff nurse on the floors. She never realized just what the pharmacists did or how busy they were, trying to get the orders processed, and would frequently just pick up the phone to
ask 'quick question' about a drug.

One of Mary's goals for 2008 is to educate all of the floor nurses in the Micromedex tool.
TIP: Micromedix is an incredible resource for drug information and is available on the main menu of the hospital intranet. She has been reaching out to the nurses and showing them how to 'pull-up' Micromedex and just minimize the screen so it is always at their fingertips while they are working with the BMV. Nurses using Micromedix as a tool can easily look up the generic or brand name of a drug, or information on an acceptable dose, or even if they were just not sure what a drug was used for. The job of Liaison also entails education and support for the nurses on the BMV units. Bergen A3 went live in November of this year and Mary was up on the unit and down in the Pharmacy working both days and evening shifts and weekends to help the nurses and pharmacists through the transition. That will also be her duty as more of the units "Go Live".

Currently eight nursing units are using BMV to assure safe delivery of medications. Just before administration of a medication to a patient, a nurse uses automation and barcodes on a patients wristband, the medication itself and their ID badge to assure the right drug at the right dose is given to the right patient at the right time. Valley believes in this automation and it ability to make patients safer by reducing medication errors. Coming in at number 4 is Medication Order Management Systems. Valley implemented this technology to all inpatient units in December of 2001 and was one of the first in the state of NJ to do so. By scanning orders to the pharmacy, orders are received in a clearer media and workflow can be adjusted for quicker turn around. Coming in at 5 on our list is. Is Smart Pump technology. Valley uses smart pump technology, where drugs are entered into the pumps automation. This technology is safer for patients. What is in our future?? As Valley’s commitment to Renewal advances, so is our commitment for a safer medication management system that improves the way medications help patients. Using automation in a medication management system allows hospital’s to gain advances by investing in hardware and software. While these are generally expensive ‘looking’ the real bargain is the avoidance of medication related errors. In addition, as hard to fill nurse and pharmacist positions are utilized to provide care to patients, automation used to help with workload is always welcome. Part of Valley’s renewal includes plans for a new pharmacy and plans for additional pharmacy automation. As pharmacy automation is changing all the time as the void is great, we plan to stay current to assure the new pharmacy will be state of the art.
She is also trying to address recurring issues on the units that have already been
using the BMV system for the past couple of years. Even though Mary has worked for valley at The Luckow Pavilion in the Infusion Center for the past five years, she is a new face here in the Main Hospital. She has been making rounds daily on the units, meeting the nurses and nurse managers, and trying to make herself known as someone the
staff can go to when there is a pharmacy related issue that needs to be addressed. Medication drawers can be filled with old drugs because the patient has been discharged. The nurse needs to return a discharged patient's meds to the "Pharmacy OUT" bin. The “Pharmacy IN” bins in the medication rooms on many of the units are overflowing with meds, which are not brought to the patient's individual

source: Valley Health

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