VA Aims High for Clinical Practice

The Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) has decided it’s critical that pharmacists work directly with patients.


A June 1 article at the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists reports that reading the job descriptions of the VA’s clinical pharmacy specialist duties shows that the VA wants its pharmacists to have more direct patient contact.


According to the article, the job descriptions include such phrases as “will manage patient medication therapy by initiating, modifying and discontinuing medication therapy in an ambulatory care setting.”


The article then goes on to quote the pharmacy executive of the VA Sierra Pacific Network, who said the VA “believe[s] that pharmacists are a practitioner that patients are going to want to see” just as they see a physician or nurse practitioner.


In other words, the VA wants to accommodate patients who believe that working with a pharmacist as they receive treatment at a VA facility is just as important as working with/seeing a physician, NP or other healthcare professional who has detailed knowledge about their condition and care plan.


The Sierra Pacific Network pharmacy executive said that veterans who schedule an appointment for pharmaceutical care at a VA center are automatically scheduled to see a pharmacist.


In addition, the VA is moving toward advanced practice roles for pharmacists in a clinical setting. According to the article, about 95 percent of pharmacists at six VA medical centers in one region have an advanced scope of practice.


The article also stated that up to72 percent of all of the VA’s pharmacists with an advanced scope of practice are also residency trained, are board certified, or both.


What’s more, according to the article, almost 3,000 of the 7,000 pharmacists who work at the VA have the type of advanced scope of practice that gives them prescribing privileges in various areas of practice. There’s also a “movement” for those pharmacists with a scope of practice to change from one that’s disease-based to one that’s more area-based.


When looking for experienced pharmacists or pharmacy technicians for your pharmacy or hospital, contact the pharmacy recruiting experts at Rx relief®. We look forward to hearing from you and learning how we may help you grow your pharmacy staff.