Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award Winner: Mathews Ampatu

Pharmacy Times, July 2016 Digestive Health, Volume 82, Issue 7

Recognized by his peers for his commitment to his patients' health, Mathews Ampatu has been named the winner of the 2016 Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award.

Recognized by his peers for his commitment to his patients’ health, Mathews Ampatu has been named the winner of the 2016 Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award.

Ampatu’s initial inspirations for entering the health care field were his parents, both of whom were nurses. However, his perspective on patient care was significantly shaped during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which forced Ampatu and his family to immigrate to India. “The challenges my family faced changed my approach to health care and opened my eyes to humanity and suffering,” Ampatu told Pharmacy Times.

After choosing to pursue a career in pharmacy, Ampatu attended the Manipal University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, earning his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1996 and completing his master’s in industrial pharmacy and production management in 1998. He then worked as a lecturer and administrator for Fathima College of Pharmacy before using his knowledge and skills to serve patients as a pharmacist in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Ampatu moved to the United States in April 2006 after securing a position as a pharmacist for Kroger. He worked for 2 of the company’s stores over a 7-year period, during which he was recognized as the Best Clinical Pharmacist in his division for 2011. Most recently, he joined a Walmart pharmacy in Plano, Texas, where he manages a team consisting of another pharmacist and 7 technicians.

In addition to being a licensed pharmacist in Tennessee and Texas, Ampatu has earned certificates for pharmaceutical care for patients with diabetes, anticoagulation therapy management, medication therapy management (MTM) delivery, pharmacy- based immunization delivery, pharmaceutical compounding, and hypertension disorders therapy. He is also a fellow of the Academy of General Education at Manipal University and serves as an affiliate faculty member at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and Belmont University College of Pharmacy.

Despite his successes, Ampatu considers the most important aspect of his career to be the everyday consultations with patients, interactions that give him the opportunity to help patients improve their own health. “As a pharmacist, I strive to give attention to each patient with individualized care, taking time to explain and help them make the right choices on medication and lifestyle changes,” Ampatu said. “The glow in their eyes, their smiles, and their expression of gratitude are very rewarding.”

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: Most important are respect for each patient and empathy to treat patients as if they are our own family. Additionally, we must provide the highest standard of pharmaceutical care and build personal relationships with our patients. Efficiency and patient care go hand in hand.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: Pharmacists gaining provider status is more important than ever, as this could make health care affordable. Working with patients and physicians can be very challenging, but it is also very rewarding. Pharmacists are already providing a vast array of clinical services, including MTM, immunizations, disease state management, and personalized medicine through compounding and biometric screening. With provider status, pharmacists could also work to reduce drug abuse, which is a major concern today.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring pharmacists?A: Keep patient care as your top priority and create a personal relationship with each patient. Additionally, never be afraid to ask for help and try to learn from every pharmacist you come across.