Face-to-face pharmacists

Four students recognized nationally for medication reconciliation

By: Matt Splett

An idea to improve medication reconciliation services at UF Health Shands Hospital has earned the Gainesville student chapter of the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists a national award.

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy was presented an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Outstanding Professional Development Project Award on Dec. 3 at the group’s midyear clinical meeting in Las Vegas.

The award recognizes a pilot program developed by four UF College of Pharmacy students to offer medication reconciliation services to newly admitted patients at UF Health Shands Hospital.

For the past year, Emilie Bergsma, Karina Friman, Amit Patel and Rachael Swisher worked with leadership at UF Health to establish a program that allows first- and second-year pharmacy students the opportunity to complete patient medication reconciliation at various points of transitions in care.

Student volunteers will meet with a patient, review his or her existing medications and compare that list to the patient’s drug orders to ensure the patient is receiving the correct medications.

The program will help UF Health increase the number of patients who receive face-to-face interactions with pharmacy personnel — including pharmacists, technicians and student interns — while offering pharmacy students the opportunity to practice patient communication skills early in their education.

“I learned so much interacting with the patient during my first medication reconciliation,” Patel said. “It was an experience that I could not duplicate in the classroom and it was invaluable in helping me learn the communication skills I need to be a successful pharmacist.”
Organizers of the program see an additional benefit for pharmacy students in that they will receive medication reconciliation training before starting their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations. During their fourth year of studies, UF pharmacy students have the option to complete a one-month transition-of-care rotation in which they receive medication reconciliation training.

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