6 Things Your Pharmacist Wishes You Knew
October 21, 2015
The following post is a compilation of responses from pharmacists in specialty interviewed for Whole Health.
A pharmacist in specialty is a caregiver. Not in the traditional sense, where you see our face regularly or know us by name. But just as your nurse or doctor cares about your whole being, your pharmacist is genuinely interested in your health.
Specialty pharmacies have the unique ability to provide very specific guidance to patients with complicated, chronic and rare conditions. Pharmacists who work in a specialty pharmacy are trained just like the pharmacists from your corner store, and then trained a little more on the complicated therapies that come with complicated conditions.
But what some patients don’t realize is that our job is dedicated to you: the patient. Here are some things your pharmacist in specialty wishes you knew.
1. We can translate.
Sometimes you think of a question that you forgot to ask your doctor. Or maybe you thought you understood the instructions, but now you’re totally lost. Think of us as the Great Translator. Because we work with so many different medications, we realize there are some complicated therapies that might confuse you. If you’re not able to make it back to your doctor to clarify some things, we can still offer insight over the phone.
2. Call anytime, for as long as you need.
To patients, it may seem ridiculous to call your doctor at 2 a.m. when you find a rash on your arm or to ask why you can’t sleep. But we will be awake to take your call. We aren’t inconvenienced by your questions. In fact, we’re happy to be able to help you. You can call us at any time, on any day—even holidays.
3. Don’t be embarrassed.
No question is too simple or too complicated for us. Pharmacists in specialty are able to provide clinical advice when it comes to your medication—how it works, why it works and any other question you can think of.
We’re not bothered by concerns you might think are less important, either. If it concerns you at all, it’s important to us. Anything from trying to figure out how to open the medication to asking about how it will affect your body; we’d rather you ask us than be stuck in the dark.
4. We’re not sales, insurance or shipping.
We are invested in your health. With that said, we do not have control over the cost of your medication or amount of your copay. Your prescription must go through a series of checkpoints before it arrives on your doorstep. Different people in the specialty pharmacy handle those checkpoints carefully, each one making sure the medicine gets to you smoothly and quickly. Although we may not be the ones personally handling the shipping or insurance claims, we can connect you with the right person to answer your questions.
5. Knowledge is power.
Fear often sprouts from the unknown. We encourage you to combat that fear through learning as much as you can about your diagnosis and treatment. Ask questions. Do your research. Learn more so you can move forward with a sense of understanding. There are tons of resources online and at your doctor’s office to arm you with knowledge. As your pharmacist, we can be another resource.
6. But not all knowledge is accurate.
With unlimited access to the Internet comes risk of inaccuracy. Anyone can go online and write in a forum about their strange ways of dealing with side effects. But their good intentions may not offer clinically sound advice. The same goes for extraordinary health claims coming from unregulated or uneducated sources. Be careful where you find your information, as it may be biased or unreliable. Instead, go to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist first.
We have your health and best interest in mind.
But most of all, we care. We celebrate the successes of your treatment and we mourn with you when things don’t go as hoped.
Our happiest days are when we feel like we’ve helped a patient in need. With the stress that can come with a diagnosis and its treatment, our goal is to help relieve the burden—if only just a little—so that you can rest in confidence that your health is in capable hands.
The information herein may not be construed as medical advice. The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. It is best to obtain medical recommendations from your physician.
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