What do A&E pharmacists do?


Emergency departments have been in the news
for the last 2/3 years. Many people have wondered if pharmacists could have an impact.
In the West Midlands a pilot was set up first in an adult hospital and then it
was decided to see if this could be replicated in the children’s hospital
and that’s how Birmingham Children’s Hospital came to be part of this
project. On a day-to-day basis I’ve managed to work two days in a
clinical area so when I’m working in ED I’ll see minor injuries minor illness, it’s not really separated
in our emergency department. When I’m working with the general pediatric team, the
medical team, I’m working on my ward as a pharmacist, so the pediatric assessment
unit. I form part of the multi disciplinary team, part of the ward round. I’ll be prepping the notes in the morning just
seeing what’s been going on, seeing any management and then I’m presenting that back to the consultant and deciding what to do with the patient. It’s been interesting seeing her go from
a complete and utter novice when it came to examining patients to now being quite
confident and really being very keen to expand her skill set so she can do a lot of things now that any of us can do. We really really struggle sometimes having adequate numbers of staff on a day-to-day basis so we’re always looking
at ways of filling that shortfall where the junior doctors used to be. We’ve done that extending the roles of nursing staff very commonly, so in a way doing it with pharmacists makes a lot of sense as well. Where we were twenty years ago saying nurses can do this and people were saying ‘oh I don’t think so’ and now we’re saying let’s try pharmacists and people are saying ‘oh I’m not sure about that’. Well we’ll watch and wait but I think the proof’s in the pudding and so now other clinical teams are thinking I can see the possibility and the potential for that role. This is extremely positive for the patient experience with advanced clinical practitioner pharmacists working as part of the consultant teams they will be able to manage the medicines aspects of patient care. The biggest impact I’ve had on patient care is I’ve
been able to use the new skills that I’ve acquired whilst training alongside the knowledge that I
already have as a pharmacist. This has been really useful and I’ve been able to incorporate this when taking the patient’s history to understand why they’ve actually come into the department. Having extra bodies around to do the day-today clinical assessment is very helpful for us, and obviously having an extended role- a pharmacist who can prescribe- is also very useful because it means that’s another step in the chain that’s not there. Having done this is now it’s something I never thought I’d never actually be doing I’ve surprised myself being able to do this new role and seeing the patient in the capacity I’m seeing,
coming up with those diagnoses and making management plans for patients and actually being able to provide better patient care and being accepted by
the patient, it’s been a really positive thing.