January 12, 2016

specialty pharmacyNational Pharmacist Day, January 12th, is dedicated to celebrating the medical professionals who play a crucial role in today’s healthcare world. Pharmacists may practice in a variety of settings:  ambulatory, clinical, community/retail, government, home care, hospital, industrial, managed care, nuclear, and radiopharmacy.  Most people will not encounter a pharmacist in their professional practice, aside from the community/retail or hospital pharmacist.

As an Epic/Medco pharmacist, my practice is what most individuals are familiar with: retail pharmacy. We are a specialty pharmacy for special patients. Our pharmacy supervises and dispenses medicine via mail and at a “walk-in” location, allowing us to be quite accessible to patients. We work closely with patients’ doctors to deliver the appropriate outpatient care. We discuss medications, their side effects, specials storage requirements, pricing issues, and lost medicine with each patient. Retail pharmacists can offer help with the best method to take a medicine, in accordance with a patient’s daily routine, meals, and possible interaction with other medications.

While pharmacists, like myself, work to provide helpful and accurate medical information, we also strive to enhance the quality of life for patients. I have supplied patients with walkers including seats to help with mobility and helped locate a “pretty” cane for a patient looking to differentiate hers from the standard black model of her friends.

Like most providers in direct patient care, as a retail pharmacist, the patients I have the opportunity to meet are a wonderful reward.  I have befriended a Polish woman who escaped Auschwitz by jumping from a train and running off into the cold night. I have sent supplies to a businessman in Europe for a product he had trouble purchasing locally. They each had medical challenges I could help with, and I learned history and different cultures while in their company.

From these friends, I learned the best way to service patients and their families is to listen and understand their particular challenges. With that knowledge, I can begin to form a solution. I encourage families to let me know if they are looking for a solution to their medication needs. While I may not be able to solve every challenge, the opportunity to help many is incredibly fulfilling.

Susan J. Curtis
Medco Medical Supply
An Epic Health Services company

Graduate of University of Houston, 1992, with a BS in Pharmacy.  Licensed in July, 1992. Previously certified in Compounding (sterile and non-sterile) and in Immunizations.