Why Pharmacy at UAB

Teamwork is an integral part of daily patient care activities, and the pharmacist is a vital member of the team. The teaching environment at UAB Medicine fosters learning and active participation in the process. We do not have a division distinction between "clinical" and "non-clinical" pharmacists.

All pharmacists perform clinical roles whether direct or indirect to provide high quality patient care. Teamwork in the Department of Pharmacy doesn't just exist between pharmacy practitioners, teamwork is expected and present among pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals. It takes a team to heal a patient.

In our Pharmacy Practice Model, central, decentral, and ambulatory practitioners work collaboratively across the continuum of care and utilize their clinical skills in a multi-disciplinary atmosphere. Within the UAB Department of Pharmacy, all pharmacists and technicians have a "hands on" approach to patient care and are an integral part of the team. Our comprehensive practice promotes the sharing of information among all disciplines to enhance the quality of patient care. Through this all-encompassing teamwork approach, all areas of pharmacy rely on each other and are responsible for caring for our patients.

Central Pharmacy   

Practitioners in Central Pharmacy are focused on the compounding and distribution aspects of practice. They also work closely with their Decentral colleagues to ensure patients receive the correct medication and dose at the right time.

Decentral Pharmacy   

Decentral practice enables pharmacists to be involved at the point of patient care and interact one on one with physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals, families and patients.

Ambulatory Care Pharmacy   

Ambulatory practice is a patient focused model providing continuity of care to UAB Medicine patients.

Pharmacy Technician Role   

Pharmacy technicians are essential team members in every setting and assist the pharmacists in providing patient care. In each area, technicians work collaboratively with pharmacists and support them in their daily activities.

Welcome to the Department of Pharmacy at UAB Hospital! We are glad you took the time to learn more about us. We hope you will like what you see.

We have a very dynamic department with a host of highly-skilled practitioners and technicians providing excellence in pharmaceutical care. Our core purpose is taking personal responsibility for identifying, resolving and preventing drug-related problems in the patients we serve. Our inpatient practitioners are unit-based and patient-focused, practicing in a variety of subspecialties. Ambulatory practice is anchored by three outpatient pharmacies and several pharmacy managed clinics. Support for inpatient and outpatient practice is provided through our Divisions of Therapeutic Policy Management and Education and Development.

Training of new pharmacists is another important role our department plays. Our practitioners serve as preceptors for our ASHP-accredited residency programs, and provide clerkship training for Doctor of Pharmacy students at Samford University's McWhorter School of Pharmacy and Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy.

Our Health System, like most, is undergoing tremendous change at a rapid pace. However, we are discovering that this provides us with continuous opportunity to enhance our patient care responsibilities, take on greater educational roles and demonstrate value like never before.

I hope you will take a few moments to browse our web site.

If you have any questions about our programs, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Mark W. Todd, Pharm.D., FASHP
Chief Pharmacy Officer
UAB Hospital

Flexible Scheduling

Several different scheduling options are available for pharmacists at UAB. Leadership in the department recognizes the importance of family time and other activities away from work. Options may include:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Day shift
  • Evening shift
  • Night shift
  • 7 on/7 off
  • Swing shifts

 

Training and Support

 

Orientation

All UAB employees attend a 1-1/2 day general orientation, which includes the following:

  • Benefits
  • Parking
  • General UAB Hospital policies
  • Broad orientation to the Hospital and surrounding campus
  • Issue of employee identification badge

The Pharmacy orientation program provides the newly hired employee with a comprehensive introduction to pharmacy practice at UAB. A newly hired pharmacy employee will have approximately six weeks of orientation both in a didactic setting as well as in patient care areas. Orientation continues in the assigned area of practice under the guidance and leadership of a supervising Pharmacist. Topics include:

  • Anticoagulation
  • Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC)
  • BLS/ Code Blue Response and MET Response
  • Compounding (Sterile, Non-Sterile and Hazardous)
  • CPOE Training 
  • Formulary Management 
  • Infection Control
  • Inpatient Glycemic Management
  • Medication Error and ADR Reporting
  • Medication History
  • Medication Safety
  • Medication Security and Storage
  • Patient Education
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Work Area Specific Competency Validations

Peer Support

Peer support is essential to the success of UAB's pharmacy practice. Because we share information, employees utilize each other as resources in an effort to provide the best possible care. Among the pharmacy employees throughout the different areas, there is an implicit understanding of how each area is intricately connected and employees are supported.

Practitioners are recognized for working with particular populations and are contacted by their colleagues to assist in answering area specific questions. The Therapeutic Drug Policy Specialists support the pharmaceutical care efforts of pharmacy practitioners. Central and Decentral pharmacists consult each other with area specific questions. Teamwork and a supportive environment are crucial to our success in providing excellent care to individual patient needs.

Professional Development

The UAB Pharmacist is afforded many professional development opportunities. Pharmacists at UAB are highly respected patient care providers and problem solvers. If a pharmacist is not available for a service you often hear the question, "Where is my pharmacist?"

Throughout their career, pharmacists at UAB have the unique opportunity to hold many different positions with the same degree and license.

Professional Development Opportunities include:

  • Faculty Recognition Program with advancement from Practitioner to Specialty Practitioner to Preceptor
  • Specialized Practice Areas
  • Senior Pharmacist
  • Division Manager
  • Support and funding to professional meetings and programs
  • Teaching Opportunities for advanced Pharm.D. candidates, PGY1 and PGY2 residents

Career Advancement

Advancement within the department begins at the practitioner level. Pharmacists can then begin to develop Specialty Practice skills that will lead to the level of Preceptor. Once a pharmacist becomes a preceptor, he or she can begin to develop a rotation for pharmacy student and pharmacy resident training.

Pharmacists with an interest in management may elect to advance into a Senior Pharmacist role. These pharmacists generally have both direct patient care responsibilities as well as management responsibilities. The next level of advancement within the department would be at the Division Manager level.

Continuing Education

Pharmacists at UAB Hospital are provided with many Continuing Education (CE) opportunities. The Alabama State Board of Pharmacy requires each pharmacist to obtain a minimum of 15 hours of approved CE annually. Three of the hours must be "live" exposure.

At UAB, we offer programs throughout the year which allow pharmacists to obtain live CE hours on-site with no fee. Speakers include pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. Presentations address disease states and treatment options, pharmacotherapy updates, new drugs, Joint Commission issues, pharmacy resident research, and a variety of topics of interest to our staff. This forum focuses on better care for our patients and promotes sharing of information among our practitioners and preceptors.

UAB Medicine is always progressing and evolving with advances in technology. We evaluate and utilize new technology which benefits our health care providers and encourages an environment that improves the safety of our patients.

Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC) 

The primary medication distribution system used at UAB, Automated Dispensing Cabinet/Omnicell, which 137 Omnicell Cabinets through the UAB Hospital campus. This system also uses Controlled Substance Management (CSM) as the primary distribution mechanism for controlled substances.

Electronic Medical Record and CPOE

UAB has embraced technology with the goal of creating a complete electronic medical record. One beneficial component is the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) which has greatly enhanced pharmacy’s ability to provide safe and effective drug therapy in a timely fashion.

BarCode Medication Administration (BCMA)

In 2014, UAB Medicine began implementing barcode medication administration to improve patient safety during administration of all medications. The patients’ armbands and medications are scanned against the patients’ orders in the CPOE system to ensure it is the correct patient, correct drug, correct route, correct dose, at the correct time. An alert fires if any of these details do not match the patients’ orders. 

Smart Pumps

In 2010, UAB implemented the use of “smart” infusion pumps to improve patient safety during administration of intravenous medications. Smart pumps contain medication safety software. Pharmacists, physicians, and nurses determined the drug library and safety limits that are built into the software. When programming an infuser, the nurse is alerted if the program falls outside the predetermined safety limits.

USP 797 Compliant Facility

The U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) sets practice standards to help ensure that compounded sterile preparations are of high quality. UAB Hospital has a fully compliant USP 797 Sterile Product Facility within our state-of-the-art Central Pharmacy. The pharmacy department also provides USP 797 personnel training and competency evaluations.

Outpatient Technology Includes:

  • Workflow Management System with bar-coding
  • Scanning of original prescriptions
  • Computerized product identification
  • Automated prescription filling with robot
  • Automated telephone response system
  • Automated storage cabinet
  • Automated signature capture and retrieval

 

UAB Medicine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity, and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans. UAB Medicine is active participant in E-Verify for the I-9 process.