Are You Working Your First Overnight Shift? Here Are Some Tips ::

Working your first time as a night pharmacist-on-call can be daunting. If you are not quite sure about the best way to handle it, here are a few tips to help.

Set up your EMR settings

If you do this the right way, it will save you a lot of time and effort. This is where you will get all of your patients’ clinical data.

The first thing is to set up your verification worklist with the units you’re covering so that you can see all of the orders that need to be verified. If you can, put stat orders at the top so that you know which are urgent.

Arrange the rest of the orders by the time-ordered or the time next administered. Some pharmacists also recommend including the drug name in the worklist to know right away what lab parameters need to be reviewed before verifying the order.

Also, know where you can find the information you may need about patients in the EMR — admission medical notes for patient background, lab results, vital signs, and other test results to determine a drug’s safety for a particular patient.

Establish priorities

When you have so many things to do, you need to set priorities to get to the important things first. One way to do this is using a priority grid called the Eisenhower matrix. It divides tasks into four quadrants– one for important and urgent tasks, two for tasks that are important but not urgent, three for tasks that are not important but urgent, and four for tasks that are neither important nor urgent.

Important and urgent tasks should be done as soon as possible because they could have life or death implications for patients. Tasks that are important but not urgent or time-sensitive should be done by the end of the shift. Find ways to work around tasks that are urgent but not important. And for tasks not considered urgent or important, do them some other time.

Have reference materials on hand

No one knows everything, and so you may occasionally need to refer to resource materials about disease states and medication. Know what resources are available or where you can find them. This includes drug references, such as Lexicomp, Micromedex, Facts and Comparisons, and the British National Formulary. Other resources include clinical decision support databases, treatment guidelines from national organizations, and information about internal policies and protocols. There’s also Pub Med if you need it.

Watch out for problems

Sometimes an order may not look correct. If that’s the case, look at it more closely. You might find something that needs to be corrected and could actually save a patient. There are other drug therapy problems to be aware of, such as dosing issues that may arise. For example, something ordered in mg instead of mcg.

Check what medication the system is selecting to dispense. Other problems to look out for include checking that the route of administration makes sense with the drug formulation, looking for therapeutic duplications, and checking to see if short-term medications are no longer required.

If you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician looking for work, Cameron and Company can help you. We provide temporary pharmacy professionals to healthcare organizations nationwide. With more than 45 years of experience, we have the expertise and knowledge to help you find a job that is right for you. Give Cameron and Company a call today.

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