American Pharmacist’s Month - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital


American Pharmacist’s Month

Know your medicine.  Know your Pharmacist.  American Pharmacists Month

Know your medicine. Know your Pharmacist. American Pharmacists Month

By Ellen Neal, Pharmacy Service
Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Madison VA Hospital Pharmacy Service has over 60 expert pharmacists who work in multiple settings to provide a wide variety of clinical services to Veterans.  Pharmacists work in the inpatient and outpatient pharmacies, as well as in specialty clinics like anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension and many more.

Madison VA Pharmacists are Important Members of the Health Care Team
Pharmacists play an important role as active members of the health care team.  Your VA Pharmacist can:

  • Help you keep track of your medications (prescription and over the counter).
  • Ensure your medications will not interact with each other.
  • Help you use your medications in a safe and effective manner.

What you can do to “Play it Safe” – Tips for Personal Medication Management
Patients also play an important role with regard to receiving and complying with their health care services, including, proper medication management.  The following are some tips on how you can “play it safe” when managing your medications:

  • Keep an updated list of all of the medications you take.  This includes prescription, over the counter and herbal/supplemental products.
  • Include the medication name, dose, frequency and directions for use.
  • Carry your medication list with you and share it with health care providers when you come to the VA for any health care service.
  • Visit My HealtheVet for information about any prescription you may be taking. (Not registered in My HealtheVet? Visit to register).
  • If you have questions about any of your prescription or over the counter medications, Ask Your Pharmacist!

What they are doing while you are waiting at the Pharmacy window...
Ever wonder what the Pharmacy staff are doing while you wait at the window?  In summary, they are making sure your prescription is filled and issued correctly and safely.  After your provider enters your prescription into the computer:

1.  A pharmacist checks your prescription, looking for…

  • Correct patient and medication
  • Age
  • Allergy  to the medication
  • Interacting medications or adverse reactions to the selected medication
  • Correct directions, length of treatment and reason for use or “indication”
  • Correct healthcare provider name on prescription

2.  A pharmacist checks your “order” ensuring that…

  • All prescription bottles are for you
  • Each bottle has the correct medication and instructions
  • Contents of the bottle match the labeled name
  • Recount controlled substances

3.  Your Prescription is Filled

  • A label is processed and printed
  • A list of your current medications is printed
  • The technician and/or the dispensing robot select the appropriate medication(s)
  • The correct number of pills are counted
  • Bottles or packages are labeled

4.  Your prescription is verified

  • A pharmacist electronically verifies the correctness of the prescription
  • Medication list, medication information and refill slips are placed in the bag
  • Bag(s) and sealed and turned in to be called out for pick up

5.  If you have a “controlled substance” prescription…  All of the above is done, PLUS…

  • Each pill is deducted from the electronic inventory
  • Prescription bottles are counted for the correct number of pills, then sealed
  • Stock bottles are re-counted and the balance adjusted
  • Every pill or dose in the inventory is counted every 3 days
  • VA administrators verify the narcotic inventory every month

Please Note: If the pharmacist must contact your provider due to a serious problem with your prescription, a delay may occur until your provider is available for discussion.

For more information about Pharmacy Service at the Madison VA Hospital, please visit their service page at



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