Life LASHed out at me



Life at the LA Surge Hospital (LASH) has settled in for the Pharmacy Department. The technicians have their daily routine. The daily order gets checked in efficiently and barcodes are verified for scanning. The Pyxis refill gets done with minimal to no stock outs because inventory numbers have been optimized. Pharmacists have their protocols and have worked out the basic details with the physicians as to what we can work around when it comes to modifying the order sets within the system we were given. We have the staff coverage that allows pharmacists to attend rounds and they are participating daily in a meaningful way. The lab was able to get what they need for anti Xa monitoring and have also perfected their system of reporting labs when results are in. Central Supply knows what we need and the ordering/delivery system is working for both departments. EVS has given us a stellar housekeeper and he is in a routine and has trained backups to clean on his days off. The staff are now taking the time to get to know each other. We may not recognize each other on the street when this is over because we spend our day in masks, but we are learning about each other’s families and life experiences!

At this stage, it would be so easy to forget how it felt in the first couple of weeks. The amount of work and the feelings of being utterly overwhelmed. After 12-16 hour days (my record was 16.5 hours) I would return to my hotel feeling defeated. I had spent the whole day working so hard and yet, what did I have to show for it. What could I check off my list as accomplished? Nothing! When I come to that conclusion, I had to take the next step and ask myself “What the heck did I do all day then?” During those couple of weeks it really did not feel like progress. I felt scattered and pulled in multiple different directions and felt I did not do anything well. What helped was having a pharmacy leadership team that was right there with me. With the help of a good friend and colleague I brought with me and a Director of Pharmacy from a nearby hospital, the three of us worked together on site and supported each other through the decisions and workload. The Dignity team provided support at the corporate level and that made all the difference. Those partially done items started to come together and bear fruit and I began to see the beginnings of a real pharmacy department. It was such a satisfying moment when I saw it for the first time. A glimpse that made me realize, this is going to be alright and we got this. Each day after that I saw it clearer and clearer and, in about the third week, I finally felt we were there. We weren’t perfect, but we were going to be alright, and more importantly, we were ready to serve our patients.

Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. –C.S. Lewis

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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