Pharmacists, especially in hospital settings, have been advised to rise above professional rivalry with other members of the healthcare team and instead focus on building capacity in pharmaceutical care for patients’ best outcomes.
Prof. Tony Waka Udezi, from the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Benin, Edo State, gave the charge, while also urging the drug experts to be proactive and leverage the weaknesses of their opponents to their own advantage, through the advancement of pharmaceutical care.
Udezi explained that, in being proactive, pharmacists should always be on the lookout to fulfill the objectives of newly initiated pharmacy units and related matters, saying this places them in a better position against their rivals.
“Do not hesitate to execute once a decision is made to initiate pharmaceutical practice in a new ward. Reduce the time your opposition has to rethink his position and regroup against you,” he advised.
Dr Titilayo Onedo, chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Lagos State, also threw her weight behind Udezi on the promotion of patient care, noting that this is one of the essential roles of pharmacists. She therefore charged them to shun all distractions to this objective.
In her paper, titled, “Hospital Pharmacists Consultancy: Improving Patient Care”, Onedo highlighted the impacts of consultant pharmacists on patients’ health to include reduction in morbidity and mortality, medicine-related adverse effects, preventable medicine-related hospital admission and re-admission, waste of medicines, cost of healthcare; as well as improvement of patients’ quality of life.
The clinician also dwelt on justification for hospital consultant pharmacists, especially in the era of the global pandemic of COVID-19 and other diseases, saying they are needed now more than ever to have a healthy nation.
She stated that consultant pharmacists are specifically needed in hospitals for proper management of medicines, as medicines are essential and critical in healthcare services, as well as being useful in the prevention and treatment of diseases.
She added: “More than 84 per cent visit to primary care physicians involve medication therapy. Management of diseases is complex. There is a high number of medications in circulation, and medicines are not cheap. There are gaps between clinical trials and practice efficacy, as well as morbidity and mortality with medicine use. Also, integration of pharmacists in the healthcare team has reduced.
The UNIBEN don, Udezi, however counselled hospital pharmacists against dissipating useful resources on unfruitful warfare, noting that it is better for them to choose their battles, as well as knowing the right time to fight which cause and which enemies. He also stressed the need for them to be creative and always bring their professionalism to bear in any professional rivalry issue.
He said: “Be innovative, be creative. That way, you do not have to compete with anyone. Carve a niche. Look for how other professions need help in patient care and fill the role in your setting. This will breed trust and more role expansion towards implementing pharmaceutical care.
“In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity. The best way to prepare for change is to be the driving force behind that change so that you are the creator of opportunities, rather than just sitting back and passively waiting for the chance to implement pharmaceutical care”.
Udezi, who was the lead panel discussant on the topic: “Implementing AHAPN document on standardised pharmaceutical care practice in Nigeria”, at one of the sessions of the last AHAPN Annual National Conference, held in Ilorin, Kwara State, put forward some areas of the practice that require urgent attention by stakeholders.
He saddled pharmacy departments/units and facilitators with the responsibility of piloting research with specific patient populations, in the areas of hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS etc., in order to generate site-specific evidence for the value of pharmaceutical care to improve clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes.
“They also have the obligation to expand pharmaceutical care practice to more patient populations and the entire setting,” he said.
The panel also tasked the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, on quarterly and annual national review of progress made towards pharmaceutical care implementation, “while site-self appraisal should be done on monthly basis by the regulator.”
Udezi and his team members agreed and urged the PCN to make the establishment of pharmaceutical care a requirement for inspection/accreditation of hospital pharmacies, community pharmacies and faculties of pharmacy.