As I completed my hospital placement at Lakeridge Health in Whitby/Oshawa, I gained some valuable experience. I found it significant to learn how hospital pharmacy is run both at a smaller hospital in Whitby, and on a larger scale in Oshawa. In Whitby, two Registered Pharmacy Technicians (RPhTs) were responsible for all aspects of pharmacy, from filling refill lists and orders of traditional stock, to compounding, restocking, computer entry of orders, and restocking MedSelect machines. In Oshawa, there were as many as 20 RPhTs working in the pharmacy, and all had an assigned area with specific tasks to complete that shift. I realized that not every shift at a bigger hospital do you get to be hands on with dispensing meds, or filling the MedSelect machines, however every job that must be completed is an important part of a whole team that works together to provide patients with much needed treatment.
While working at both hospitals, there were many similarities to the theory taught in class at Fleming College. For example, as discussed in class, I saw the use of unit dose packaging, picking stations, and the need for prepackaging meds into smaller quantities. I witnessed the use of automated systems, such as MedSelect, as well as traditional systems, as with refills and orders for stock not carried in MedSelect machines, and the use of ward stock in medication rooms on the hospital floors. I also noticed the use of only generic names in the pharmacy, and not the use of Drug Identification Numbers (DIN) when selecting or checking drugs, which means extra care must be taken when picking a drug to fill a prescription, as some medications have many different strengths, and durations.
I feel that I was able to gain more practice filling prescriptions, as I filled many refill lists and orders for traditional stock items. I also became more familiar with medication names used in hospital pharmacy. I found the use of automated systems fascinating, and I’m pleased to now have the skills to restock MedSelect machines, and become familiar with the use of unit dose packaging. I thoroughly enjoyed observing sterile compounding, especially at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre, and hope to gain more experience in aseptic techniques. I also enjoyed having the chance to do non-sterile compounding, practicing the skills I learned in class.
I am grateful for the experience I had at Lakeridge Health. I found it rewarding to have a hand in patient care for so many people on a daily basis, which in some instances could have been life saving. I am excited to take the next steps to becoming a RPhT, and I see hospital pharmacy as where I would like to pursue my future career.