Walmart Essay Winner: A Community Pharmacist's Impact Can Go a Long Way

Pharmacy Times, November 2019, Volume 85, Issue 11

"The total time that I spent with this man was less than 20 minutes, but the impact that I had on his life when he thought he was all alone will last a lifetime."

A discharge from a hospital stay can be an overwhelming experience for a patient—especially when the hospital stay was due to an unexpected event like a stroke. A patient presented to my pharmacy on a Wednesday evening just prior to closing with a bag full of prescription bottles. He had slurred speech, an unsteady gait and a pale appearance. He revealed that he had had a stroke the previous weekend while playing with his grandchildren who were visiting from out-of-state, and his daughter rushed him to the emergency department. Unfortunately, she had to return to her job, so this left him alone to navigate this post-stroke life while caring for his elderly mother who had severe dementia.

I sat down with him, went over each medication, both new and old, and we made a schedule that he could follow, since he admitted to having trouble remembering things all of a sudden. In this 15-minute interaction, I expressed that I was genuinely concerned about his safety and needs and asked about his follow-up care. He admitted that he assumed he was supposed to already have scheduled an appointment with a neurologist, but he kept forgetting to call. I offered to call him the following morning to remind him, tears welled up in his eyes as he said that he didn’t expect that from me. The next morning, I gave him a call. He said he still wasn’t feeling well, but he had remembered to make an appointment for the following day. He expressed sincere gratitude for taking the time to follow up with him. Turns out, that at his appointment, he was sent back into the hospital for a few days. Upon discharge, he stopped by the pharmacy and once again, looking much better, thanked us for taking the time to help him. The total time that I spent with this man was less than 20 minutes, but the impact that I had on his life when he thought he was all alone will last a lifetime.

This is why I went into community pharmacy, and this is why I am still happy to help.

Mischa Pesicek, PharmD, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a pharmacist with Walmart for 3 years. She is currently a staff RPh at Walmart Supercenter #4564 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.