My adventure so far!! 7/2/12
I have been working at the Claremore Indian Hospital for over four weeks. I honestly had no expectations of what I would be doing when I arrived. I knew that I would be experiencing a different area of pharmacy, and I was definitely right!
One of the best aspects of this experience is that no two days are the same. I have had the opportunity to spend the afternoons with fourth year students on rotation from OU. With them I was able to listen to their various talks on subjects like kidney disease, infectious disease, and acid/base issues. These talks were very informative, and I think will prove helpful in my upcoming semester. Other afternoons, I have been able to participate actively in the Congestive Heart Failure Clinic, Smoking Cessation Clinic, and Anticoagulation Clinic. All of these clinics are facilitated by pharmacists and have been great learning experiences for me. I have been able to practice my motivational interviewing, blood pressure measurements, and learn a great deal about the various conditions. Most mornings I am doing research for the hospital. I have done several drug utilization evaluations for high risk and high cost medications, clinic reviews, and formulary/inventory management. I have also been able to participate in the Infection Control Meetings, Medication Misadventure Group, Med Rec with Surgeons, and Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee meetings. I have even been able to watch a surgery!! So there is not a typical day here at Claremore Indian Hospital.
I first learned about the Indian Health Service (IHS) through pharmacy skills labs with Dr. Nevile and Dr. Perri using the “three prime questions” for patient counseling. I researched the IHS further and discovered that it was a unique practice environment for pharmacists that encompassed much more than just patient counseling techniques. With the HIS, I could travel outside of Georgia for the summer, gain clinical pharmacy experience, and get paid! So I decided to apply for a summer internship, filled out the application, interviewed with the COSTEP coordinator, and was selected to be the JR COSTEP Intern for the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, OK.
Before leaving for my internship, my JR COSTEP Coordinator sent me an email entailing my summer duties. It stated that during my rotations I would spend equal time between inpatient, outpatient, and research. I would participate in clinic visits, staffing, administrative meetings, and projects. Clinic visits include spending time in the CHF, Hepatitis C, Anticoagulant Clinic, and Smoking Cessation outpatient clinics. Staffing includes working in the outpatient pharmacy and familiarizing the use of dispensing automation in pharmacy practice. I would also be asked to research and complete several products throughout the summer including Drug Utilization Evaluations and Clinic Evaluations to be presented at local hospital committees and possibly national committees for IHS.
The IHS JR COSTEP is a federally sponsored internship and requires official orders to travel to my official site. This required coordination from IHS headquarters and my local site to attain the documentation necessary for me to become a Commissioned Core Officer with IHS. The documentation required included starting travel dates and dates of active duty. I also had to provide numerous documents to attain security clearance to work in this facility such as fingerprints, background checks, and credit checks. Even though the program requires a lot of documentation and time for orders to be finalized, which was quite stressful at times, the COSTEP program is definitely worth pursuing if interested in stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new over the summer.
[For more information about the IHS JR COSTEP program, visit http://www.ihs.gov/pharmacy/index.cfm?module=opportunities]