Pharmacy Perspectives - Winter/Spring 2015 - (Page 7)
PR ECEP TOR PERSPEC T I V E S
Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs
in rural practice
As healthcare and the economy continue to change,
the demand for rural practitioners is likely to increase.
rom the Western Slope
to mountain towns like
Steamboat Springs, rural
practice offers a wide
array of opportunities for
pharmacists. "Those looking for a challenging and meaningful
practice should consider rural opportunities as a place to build a career," says
John Breitnauer, PharmD, and owner of
"I love the texture of small town life.
I get to know my patients and their
families," says Breitnauer. As an independent business owner, he is an integral
part of the community. "The perspective
of rural pharmacy is very different than
an urban practice facility."
Located in Cedaredge, Colo., just
outside of Delta and 60 miles southeast
of Grand Junction, the pharmacy serves
a community of approximately 5,000
residents in Delta County.
Even though Cedaredge is a small
town - only 2,000 residents - it boasts
three dentists and two primary care
practices. For fourth-year pharmacy
student Felecia Hart, her rotation in
Cedaredge allows her to live among her
patients and really see the outcomes
associated with the care she provides.
Both Hart and Breitnauer agree that a
rural rotation offers a unique experience to work with other providers. In
addition to measuring blood pressure
and testing A1C and cholesterol levels,
pharmacy students work with local
physicians. Twice a week, the students
are on rotation in the local physicians'
offices, accompanying the doctors
during scheduled patient appointments. "There are not as many resources
here, so you manage all disease states.
I've had the opportunity to develop
relationships with practitioners and
guide therapy. That's exciting," says Hart.
Breitnauer precepts eight students
a year and loves it. "I treat my students
as if they are pharmacists. My job is to
help develop and enhance their skills."
Planning to go into rural practice upon
graduation, Hart says she likes being
some place where she recognizes faces
and knows names.
For Wes Hunter, director of Pharmacy
at Yampa Valley Medical Center in
Steamboat Springs, "There's nothing
like smaller town living. When there's a
big powder day, one of us will cover the
pharmacy and the rest will go skiing for
an hour or two."
A mountain man at heart, Hunter
graduated from The Ohio State
University in '89 with a BS in Pharmacy,
took his Boards and headed West.
And except for five years at Children's
Hospital in Denver, he's made a career of
practicing pharmacy in ski towns.
According to Hunter, the real
advantage of working in a smaller town
is, "You know the nuts and bolts of
the hospital and get to see everything
that goes on in the day, and don't see
the same things over and over again."
Hunter has an extremely varied schedule, which includes everything from
dealing with dispensing problems to
working with internists to housekeeping. An average day for students is spent
learning the patient and their individual
cases, going on rounds, completing
medication reconciliations and later in
the day meeting with patients in the
anticoagulation clinic. "There's never a
dull moment," says Hunter.
One reason he takes students is to
see settings like his. "I don't think I saw
anything like this when I was in school." He
says, "The average student is exponentially
better prepared than 20 years ago."
Because Hunter has a Master's degree
in organizational management his career
has focused on the administrative side
and was even the director of support
services at Summit Medical Center in
Frisco where he oversaw pharmacy,
process improvement, imaging, laboratory, environmental services and patient
safety departments - which is unusual
for a pharmacist. "The market right now
allows us to do a lot of things traditionally we wouldn't do - MTM, anticoagulation clinic, etc." In fact, Hunter opened an
outpatient pharmacy this year and will
offer Medication Therapy Management
in the near future. "If you want to excel
you can do it in smaller market. It's easier
to do as part of a team."
His advice to students interested
in working in a rural hospital is to get
experience somewhere else. "Go to a big,
good hospital and work there for a while.
Then transition to a rural hospital. Learn
to think on your feet and take the best
practices with you to a small hospital."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmacy Perspectives - Winter/Spring 2015
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Pharmacy Perspectives - Winter/Spring 2015
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