Pharmacists have an opportunity to reinforce their role as the community’s medication experts during Be Medicinewise Week, says Webstercare head
This year, NPS MedicineWise has chosen to focus on the theme: ‘Get to know the language of medicines’ for Be Medicinewise Week (19-25 August).
It is in the interest of every pharmacist to take advantage of this national health promotion, says Webstercare managing director and founder Gerard Stevens AM.
In doing so they reinforce their role as the community’s medication experts by translating medication information into practical, helpful knowledge for the consumer, he says.
“Every year we are reminded of the very high levels of trust that the public place in us. At the heart of this trust is our knowledge of medicines and our ability to help consumers make the most of the medicines they have been prescribed,” says Mr Stevens, a pharmacist who has run Webstercare for nearly four decades.
Be Medicinewise Week provides pharmacists with an opportunity to reinforce their role as the community’s primary ‘learned intermediary’ for medication information, he says.
“The community relies on us to translate complex information about medications. This is the role of the learned intermediary. We spend more time and effort than members of any other profession to understand medicines and we need to proudly proclaim that.
“This is the impact of our role in the community. And with local pharmacies highly accessible in every community, people look to us as an important health hub for healthcare information and advice. If we take it for granted – and don’t reinforce this at every opportunity – we run the risk of eroding the privilege of that trust.”
With local pharmacies highly accessible in every community, people look to us as an important health hub for healthcare information and advice.—Gerard Stevens
Mr Stevens says there are many obstacles to this goal, for example, customers may not have English as their first language or there might be other impediments to their comprehension such as confusion.
Pharmacists are also very busy, especially when there’s a backlog in the dispensary.
“But we must remember to take the time necessary to understand the needs and motivations of the individual in front of us,” he says.
“We are at our best when face-to-face with someone in need of our medication knowledge and fully invested in what we have to say. That’s when our knowledge can make a real difference in the lives of the people and the communities we serve.”
Mr Stevens also reminded pharmacists to take advantage of the range of resources available to them to deal with the many situations they confront every day.
“For instance, Webstercare offers resource support in 25 languages. We also provide resources for people who are blind or who have low vision. So there are many resources available to pharmacists confronted by customers with difficulties in communicating and understanding. It’s simply a matter of using them,” said Mr Stevens.
“These clinical resources are supported by promotional resources that help to shine a light on what you and your pharmacy stands for. Whether you take advantage of the many Webstercare promotional resources to proclaim your expertise in medication management, or download the resources made available for the Be Medicinewise Week campaign, the point is to make use of them.”
Find out more about Be Medicinewise Week here