Keeping the mission going, one prescription at a time
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — When you think of what a pharmacist does, you somehow envision them sitting on a chair, systematically counting out little white pills, until they have reached the correct amount to fill the bottle.
Following is the meet and greet at the customer service window and a briefing on your medication.
Might not seem too exciting, right?
If you were talking about your normal pharmacy, this may be true, but the pharmacist and pharmacist technicians of the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group hold responsibilities that make them anything but normal.
“We kind of do everything,” said Air Force Capt. John Bouchard, 455th EMDG pharmacy services officer in charge. “[Here], it’s like every pharmacy profession built into one. We have to take on all of them.”
Pharmacists usually veer into an in-patient or out-patient pharmacy. Bagram technicians, however, take on both functions while also fulfilling clinical pharmacist roles.
They consult with providers to come up with the right medication regimen for not only personnel stationed at Bagram but local nationals that are treated at the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital.
“One of the unique things about this setting, is there is a lot of bacterial resistance,” said Bouchard. “Most of the drugs that work back home, doesn’t really work here because the bug you may acquire is resistant to all of our antibiotics."
Picture a room full of doctors and pharmacists draped in the normal long white jackets, white boards filled with mathematical notations and equations, different liquids being poured into test tubes and then.. VOILA, we have the antibiotic.
Sounds like an intense movie scene, but that’s not quite how the pharmacy team gets it done.
"We lean on each other to figure out what concoction could be made or what specific medication we can acquire from our main hub to treat the patient,” said Bouchard.
The pharmacy team at the 455th EMDG is very much a hands-on team, not only will you find them behind the counter; they will also be at bedsides during emergencies.
“We respond to all traumas,” said Air Force Senior Airman Latoya Kirven, 455th EMDG pharmacy technician. “We mix IV’s and draw syringes with medication to help save lives.”
Medical providers are usually the people who pop into your mind when you think of healthcare.
Although doctors are depended upon to diagnose and relieve alignments, the dedicated pharmaceutical professionals are a centerpiece to the healthcare environment and a staple to its success.
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