I-a. Setting up the MedsCheck elective at UW
How did I end up here? I decided that it was important to gain experience providing the MedsCheck service. Originally, I wanted to work part-time in a pharmacy, but there was no time. How would I make time in my last year of pharmacy studies? The answer was to develop a course that involved MedsCheck.
I knew the idea could work since the University of Waterloo’s pharmacy curriculum includes an independent study electives, which involves working on a research project with a supervisor in the school of pharmacy. My idea was different since it involved working for a pharmacist outside the faculty. Fortunately, the administrators accepted my idea. Then I invited other students into the elective; I suspected most students would welcome the opportunity to develop their MedsCheck skills. In addition, I searched for an internal supervisor at the School of Pharmacy, and was rewarded with Dr. (PharmD) Kelly Grindrod’s participation. Without her involvement, we wouldn’t have blogged about our experience; and she also facilitated our weekly group discussions.
I-b. Setting up the MedsCheck in a Pharmacy
To arrange the placement in a community pharmacy, I contacted a number of pharmacies. Each pharmacy that I contacted was willing to accept a 4th year pharmacy student on a volunteer basis. However, I ended up choosing to volunteer in an independent community pharmacy who promised to schedule 3-5 Diabetes MedsCheck appointments each Wednesday for 8 weeks. Prior to the start date, I visited the pharmacy a couple times in order to become accustomed with the environment. In addition, I met with the pharmacist owner in advance to discuss our expectations, and he showed me a free documentation package about Diabetes from the Ontario government. Based on this package, I designed a checklist-tracking tool to ensure that I have a systematic approach. It included:
- Reviewing medications,
- Asking the patient for consent to share info, and
- Educating the patient on various topics related to Diabetes (hypoglycemia, hyper, diet, smoking cessation, hypertension, foot care, eye care, etc.).
- Identifying any patient-specific concerns
- Make a note of topics that were not discussed within the appointment or should be re-assessed in a MedsCheck follow-up.
Using the documentation was challenging, but I got in the habit of using it. Later, this demonstrated its importance – when I was preparing for a MedsCheck follow-up. The rest is history: I provided MedsChecks once a week over an 8 week period with patients who have Diabetes.
Next week, I’ll post part II of this review.
Mike (Twitter name: @M_TRITTer)