I really enjoy receiving questions from other pharmacists and students. On LinkedIn, I recently received the question, “What’s it like being a consultant pharmacist? First, I do want to mention that there may be many different interpretations of what a consultant pharmacist is. From my perspective, I’m going to consider this as a pharmacist who does drug regimen review for long term care and assisted living.
Every Patient is a Puzzle
A very enjoyable part of being a consultant pharmacist for me is the ability to clinically follow so many patients. Every patient is a puzzle. The more patients/cases you see, the more you are going to learn. Helping to solve the puzzle of those very difficult patients and what medication regimen works for them can be so rewarding.
Consultant Pharmacist Nirvana – Stopping Polypharmacy
If you have followed the blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I like to try to simplify things. A patient’s medication regimen is no different. I get great satisfaction in attempting to reduce pill burden, simplify medication regimens, and eliminate dangerous or unnecessary medications.
Folks who work in long term care aren’t there to become millionaires. They genuinely care about taking care of the elderly. Nurses and nursing assistants who work in LTC or Assisted Living put up with a lot of challenges. The majority handle these challenges with grace and kindness. I recently had a grandmother in long term care, and it helped me remember the unsung heroes that work within our geriatric community. I’ve never felt disrespected from a nurse or nurse’s assistant within a long term care facility. When I feel appreciated and respected, it is a lot easier to want to give my all in trying to help them as best as I can.
The ability to follow and work with other geriatric providers and understand how they would handle a situation is also incredibly rewarding. Being able to do this has been so valuable for me in helping my confidence as a clinician.
I remember being asked by a student who did not enjoy consulting “Don’t you find the work of reviewing charts monotonous”? I can understand this perspective, but much like anything in life, you need to recognize the subtleties within the work. Every patient is different. Every medication regimen is different. One drug may be appropriate in a certain situation while it may be totally inappropriate in another situation. Figuring this out and trying to help patients, nurses, aides, and providers brings me a lot of joy in my work as a consultant pharmacist. The unknown and mystery of what I might see next keeps me motivated to help the next patient.
The Freedom of Being a Consultant Pharmacist
From a personal perspective, I’m a box checker. I’m not geared toward punching a clock. Give me a task and I will get it done on my schedule and do the best possible job I can do. This is my mentality. When you are a consultant pharmacist, you have a lot of work to get done, but you have a significant amount of freedom to get it done when you want to. As a parent with two young kids, this is a big advantage of this type of work.
If you are a new pharmacist wanting to become consultant pharmacist or have ever considered a career shift, I share all my secrets in this unique training (Insider’s Guide to Long Term Care Consulting).