Medicine on Main Street – How Pharmacists Change Lives in Rural WIsconsin


[relaxing instrumental music] – Main Street is the lifeblood
of a rural community. That’s where you’ll find
a place to get a cup of coffee, a grocery store, the post office, and drug store. In some small towns, where a doctor or nurse,
hospital, clinic may be miles away, the pharmacist is the only health care
professional in town. – Hi, good morning, everyone. Welcome to the morning huddle. – Bobbi Freitag
is a staff pharmacist at Lakeview Medical Center and a relief pharmacist at
Marshfield Clinic in Rice Lake, a community of 8,500
in northwest Wisconsin. – Bobbi Freitag:
I grew up in Thorp. My parents are actually from the Rice Lake
and Turtle Lake area. And I had an uncle
that was a pharmacist up in Duluth, Minnesota
and I liked chemistry. I knew I didn’t want
to be a doctor or a nurse. Bit never really
occurred to me to stay in
the bigger city. I knew there was lots of
opportunities and lots of need. – Ed Portillo:
If you are a rural
health pharmacist, you’re a jack of all trades, meaning that you’re that person that their patients
are going to go to and ask
any health-related question. – Any questions for you? – No, not at this time.
– Bobbi Freitag: Okay. We tend to be generalists… a lot of different hats. You’re the administrator. So, you’re handling the
contracts and the purchasing. You’re also doing
the clinical part. The distribution, and that’s physically getting
the medication into the pharmacy, and then,
from the pharmacy to the nurse to give to the patient. And there’s the education piece: whether we’re teaching
about Warfarin, the new generic bio-similar
wdrugs that are coming out.t A lot of times it’s supporting,
again, behind the scenes. – David Mott:
There’s been a huge expansion in the role of pharmacists. Pharmacies are not just the places where patients go
and have medications dispensed in rural areas, pharmacists are actually providing
medication information. They play a big role
in providing
vaccinations. They’re providing
medication therapy management to keep patients healthier,
keep them out of the hospitals. And they’re also
very complementary to other health care providers
in rural areas. – The expanded role
of a rural pharmacist and the appeal
of a small-town lifestyle are the reasons why Mike Laird
chose to enter the profession. – Mike Laird: When I was
a student at Madison, I had the opportunity
to do some rotations, actually, in Rice Lake. At that time,
the hospital was
right on the lake and I was
sitting in the
director’s office, staring out over the lake, watching the eagle flying over. [birds chirping] [bicycle gear clicking] Basically, I’m living
where people want to vacation. That’s a big part of why I
want to be in rural health care. [bicycle gear clicking] You know every doctor here. I know every nurse here. I had the same doctor deliver
all three of our children and that sort of relationships where you can’t quite get
in a big city. – Have a great weekend!
– All right, see you. – Mike is an oncology pharmacist with the Hayward Area
Memorial Hospital. For Mike,
it’s all about the people. – Mike Laird:
I like to personally deliver
meds to the patient. That gives me an opportunity
to talk to the patient, especially on their first cycle of what we call
their chemotherapy. – Did ya have any questions
at all with your infusion today? – Uh, not right now, no. – They get a lot of information when they go
in that doctor’s office. they may have
some emotions going. They’re getting good news/
bad news, that sort of thing. When they come to us, it gives
us an opportunity to one ask them what they do
understand? what they did take away from what the physician
may have told them, identify what they need to know. – One of those patients
who appreciates that open and honest communication
is Barbara Williamson. – Barbara Williamson:
Mike’s a sweetheart here. He brings me my poison
every time. He comes in, I say, “Ah,
you got my poison.” [chuckles] – Feeling better from last week?
– Yes. – I know we’re going to be
checking your labs today. He is always warm,
always said ‘hi.’ You know, would take
the time to answer a question. He always asks
if you have any questions. I think any time
you can deepen
a relationship with more facets
to it it becomes a more meaningful
relationship on both sides. ♪ ♪ – There is an increased need
for pharmacists in rural areas
because of an aging population and the expanding roles
that pharmacists face in clinics and hospitals. Two other factors
play a major role, as well. – David Mott: There’s
a disproportionate number of pharmacists
and pharmacy students that are going into rural areas. We have about
14 percent of our graduates end up going into rural areas. The Wisconsin population
is about 27 percent rural. We have a lot
of older male pharmacists who are owning independent
pharmacies in rural areas. And as time goes on and
they get closer retirement age, there are not pharmacists that are coming out
to those environments to buy the pharmacies from them. And those critical access
points, those pharmacies then close
and never open again. – The University of Wisconsin-
Madison School of Pharmacy recognizes these challenges
and is building a curriculum to face the changing needs
of Wisconsin. – Ed Portillo:
Many of the pharmacists practicing
in rural and urban settings come from our school. And so, we are
uniquely positioned to develop programming using our alums, using the
communities that we’ve formed to help our students currently train as excellent
rural health practitioners. We have
over 60 clerkship rotations where students spend six weeks as part of a community practicing and being mentored
by a rural health pharmacist in rural settings and that is an invaluable
experience for students. So, it’s taking that combination
of community engagement, student engagement, and that
actual hands-on experience. That’s our recipe
for this program to get students out
and making a difference. We’ll see you next week. – Being a pharmacist
in a rural community can offer advantages
for the practitioner. For the patients,
too. Robert O’ Donnell’s
treatment plan for his rare type
of pancreatic cancer requires an
imposing medication regiment– several different medications
in different doses. For Robert, having
a knowledgeable and trusted local pharmacist available
is essential. – Hi, Bob, how are you doing?
– Good. – Bobbi Freitag: Are you here
to pick up prescriptions today? – Robert O’Donnell: Yeah.
– Bobbi Freitag: Okay. – What I need
from the pharmacies are continuing drugs for the rest of my life. That’s a lot of drugs and a lot of communication
has to happen between me and the pharmacy. Bobbi helps out a lot. I’m really happy that she’s here in this system to help me and help many people daily. – So, we’re all okay?
– Yes. – Okay. – After a while,
you get to be family. you get to know each other
really well. It establishes a relationship that you can trust. – Bobbi Freitag: That’s where
the trust and the confidence in the advice… When you’ve known somebody
that long, even if
it’s at the pharmacy counter. But over time,
you get to know them well enough that when the subjects
do come up… Some new pain medication today
you’re going to try? …It’s pretty easy
to dive in quickly because you’ve already
established that trust. Community. Responsibility. It’s those things that motivate
Bobbi and other pharmacists in small towns across this state to go to work every day
and develop strong partnerships with their patients. – Bobbi Freitag: I think
for most of us that’s why we’re
in the profession. Those are the days
that you go home and say, “This was a great day!” No matter how busy it was, no matter how much the phone
was ringing or anything else, those are the days
you get home and think, “That one,
I really made a difference.” Here you go.
– Thank you.
– Thank you.
– See You later.
– You bet.