Celebrating Pharmacists: The Rise of Pharmacists in the Community Setting

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Amber Bush, PharmD, RPh, BCPS, BCCCP, pharmacy research coordinator for Mayo Clinic discusses the future of pharmacy through her role within research clinical trials

In this conversation, Amber Bush, PharmD, RPh, BCPS, BCCCP, pharmacy research coordinator for Mayo Clinic discusses her driving passion for pharmacy, along with the changes she has seen since the start of her career. Bush emphasizes the idea that pharmacists are being seen as an accessible health care member and how that will evolve in the future.

Pharmacy Times

Can you introduce yourself?

Pharmacists checking inventory at hospital pharmacy- Image credit: Jacob Lund | stock.adobe.com

Image credit: Jacob Lund | stock.adobe.com

Amber Bush

Hi. My name is Amber bush. I'm the inpatient Pharmacy Research Coordinator at Mayo Clinic, Florida. I handle the implementation of clinical trials on our site. Everything from phase one cancer studies, and stroke studies, to emergency medicine, transplant critical care studies at the site. I work with drug companies to get the trials up and running. Then also with our pharmacy team to make sure we have everything we need to successfully execute the clinical trial.

Pharmacy Times

How did you get into pharmacy?

Amber Bush

I was first interested in pharmacy in middle school. My mother was diagnosed with late onset type 1 diabetes. She was well in her 40s, and got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and as a middle school girl, it was really scary seeing that— she actually was in a coma and that's how we found out. She had to go on insulin, and it was amazing to me to see the turnaround of her with insulin. I became really interested in medicine and helping people. Then when I went to high school, I really loved chemistry, I thought chemistry was so cool. I went the other direction and thought I might want to be a chemist, and then started out as a chemistry major. Then I went to college and heard about pharmacy, and I thought that was such a great mix of the chemistry that I loved, but also helping people and being around medicines. That's what interested me in the pharmacy profession.

Pharmacy Times

How have you seen the role of the pharmacist change and evolve throughout your career?

Amber Bush

I think it's changed quite a bit. I think originally, when I first started as a pharmacist — pharmacists were almost accessory or passive to the rest of the health care team. We were there, we would help here and there, maybe get some questions from patients to now being a true resource. Doctors are really being taught in inter collaborative medicine, as part of their training. I think they come out of school and really want to embrace that, really being a valued member of the healthcare team in the hospital. Then likewise, with the rise of vaccinations with pharmacists in the community setting, they're really seen as an accessible health care team member.

Pharmacy Times

What does the value of the pharmacist mean to you?

Amber Bush

The value of the pharmacist to me is really all about the patients. I got into pharmacy for the patient care aspect, and I think that's where a lot of the value lies. We have a unique expertise in drugs, mechanisms of action, dosing, contraindications, interactions, that is unique to our profession to where we can really make a difference for our patients and really help support the patient in their health care journey.

Pharmacy Times

How do you see the future of pharmacy evolving?

Amber Bush

As pharmacy continues to evolve, I see it turning really into a personalized medicine domain. I work in research clinical trials, so I get a preview of what's coming, but I get to see a lot of specific tumor markers for patients. So, really drilling down to a patient's individual disease states and targeting drugs specifically for that patient, not just as a general population. Another area that I think is going to start to become of interest is the use of AI in pharmacy. So, how can we use AI to further our profession? How can we become more efficient with things that only pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can do? Then lastly, I would say is the use of technology for homebound medicine. With COVID we realize everything shut down and how hard it was for some of our patients to get to health care. So how can we bring health care to our patients? Whether that be via technology or decentralized systems? I think we're going to start to see that a lot more in the future.

Pharmacy Times

How are you celebrating this American Pharmacists Month?

Amber Bush

This month, I am celebrating with my team at the hospital. We have a bunch of goodies and giveaways and raffles every day. We're also doing a bunch of volunteer work in our community. We had a trunk or treat this past weekend to kick off the pharmacy week. We have a couple events going on volunteer wise this week and I'm just looking forward to celebrating with our whole team all the work that we do every day.

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