“Name an area, and there’s a pharmacist who is responsible for helping the people who work in that area.”
Today’s hospital pharmacists are often specialists in such practice areas as oncology, critical care, infectious diseases, and perioperative and emergency medicine. For instance, Michele F. Hebda, PharmD, BCPS, is a clinical pharmacist specializing in family medicine. Her first role is collaborating with the inpatient family medicine team to provide outstanding care for patients of the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center while they are in the hospital.
“Medication therapy requires so many decisions,” says Dr. Hebda. “Is this the appropriate medication selection for what is going on with the patient? Does it interact with any other medications the patient is taking? Does the patient have allergies? Is the medication dosed appropriately for the patient’s kidney function? Does the patient have a clear understanding about how to take their medications? Is the patient going to be able to afford the medication? Do they have insurance? If not, what could be an alternative therapy?
“Furthermore, when a patient is ready to leave the hospital, I encourage patient medication education and use of our UPMC Rx Express™ retail pharmacy program. This service delivers the patient’s medications to their bedside before discharge so that they don’t have to make another stop at the pharmacy,” says Dr. Hebda.
“I like to think that we’re really putting a nice big bow on the package of their discharge.”
Dr. Hebda is also an educator. She directs a postgraduate pharmacy residency, training pharmacists for an array of practice and educational settings. In addition, she is faculty for the Family Medicine Residency, teaching about pharmacy-related content and issues.
“I love the variety of my work. It keeps me really busy and on my toes,” laughs the former professional ballet dancer.