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New Practitioners Network
by Natalie R. Tucker, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP; Chair, New Practitioners Network; Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Antimicrobial Stewardship, HSHS St. John's Hospital
It’s not new information that our world is facing a new pandemic due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for causing coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As our fellow nurses and providers are preparing for an influx of patients, you might be wondering – what more can we do as pharmacists to help our colleagues and patients during this time?
After the attacks on September 11, 2001, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) published a statement on the role of health-system pharmacists in emergency preparedness.1 While this document is geared towards responding to natural, industrial, and biological disasters, the same principles can be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacists play key roles in many aspects of emergency and disaster care including:
- Obtaining medications
- Storing, labeling, and dispensing medications
- Developing guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of affected patients
- Consulting with providers on treatment for individual patients
- Advising the public on the appropriate use of medications in response to disasters
These recommendations may seem like part of your normal daily tasks, and in fact they are! One key fact to remember is that we already have the necessary skills to perform these duties. During pharmacy school, residency training, and in our daily work, we use these skills every day whether we realize it or not.
Want to do more? Here is what else you can do to prepare.
- Educate yourself on your local and institutional plans for emergency preparedness
- Share evidence-based recommendations for treatments with colleagues
- Act assertively to prevent panic and irrational responses to disasters
- Obtain basic cardiac life support (BCLS) certification through the American Heart Association
- Obtain Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certification through the American Pharmacists Association
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP statement on the role of health-system pharmacists in emergency preparedness. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2003;60:1993-1995.
- Narayann N, Lacy CR, Cruz JE, et al. Disaster preparedness: biological threats and treatment options. Pharmacotherapy. 2018;38(2):217-234.