College of Pharmacy highlights vital role in improving patient safety

Pharmacy Week activities offer opportunities to learn about medication safety, pharmacy profession

Tampa, FL (Oct. 18, 2011) – Pharmacists at USF College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical Research will use National Hospital & Health-System Pharmacy Week, October 16-22, to underscore the new and vital roles pharmacists now play in patient care. The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.

“Many consumers are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices, and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively,” said Thea Moore, associate professor of pharmacy. “Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate the public about how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine.”

During Pharmacy Week the USF College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical Research (PCR) will have a Medication Brown Bag session for patients, faculty, staff and the public to receive information and counseling about medications from faculty at the College of Pharmacy.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 11 am to 1 pm the USF College of Pharmacy will host an information session at the Marshall Student Center to spread the word about the profession of pharmacy and provide information about the College of Pharmacy and the its admission process.

“We would like to inform potential future students and others about the integral and varied roles the pharmacist plays on the healthcare team,” Moore said.

Hospital and health-system pharmacists have been able to take on enhanced patient-care roles because of a number of factors, including the deployment of highly trained, certified technicians and new technologies like robotics that dispense medications. As technology evolves—such as the addition of machine-readable codes to medication labels—patients will have greater opportunities to have a pharmacist involved in their care. Graduates of the USF College of Pharmacy will be trained and prepared to excel in the area of health information technology and informatics.

Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today, how each one works in the body, and the ways to use each one safely and effectively. Pharmacy students who graduate will receive years of education focused on medication therapy, and many pharmacists practicing in hospitals and health systems also complete post-graduate residency programs. They advise doctors and nurses on the best medications and monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions, or mistakes.

“The pharmacist is no longer simply a dispenser of drugs, and the pharmacy itself has become a health care center,” said Thomas E. Menighan, CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). “Pharmacists are actively changing their practices to meet the challenges of the health care system and their patient needs and demands.”

The USF College of Pharmacy is training the pharmacists of the future to be leaders and innovators in healthcare.

– USF Health –

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. Ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities by the National Science Foundation, the University of South Florida is a high impact global research university dedicated to student success.