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A Day in the Pharmacy

For anyone who is thinking of applying to work as a Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician and is wondering what a day in the life of the Pharmacy is like, here it is.  


A typical day:

There are three pharmacists providing pharmacy services on the ship.  One of those positions may be filled by a Pharmacy Technician.  During this field service, we have had one position that has been filled for 10 months and the other position has been occupied by a new pharmacist every 7 to 8 weeks.    Each day, we supply the OR with the medications they need during surgery and in the PACU (Post Anaesthetic Care Unit).  We also supply each Ward in the hospital with the medications they need for patients before and after surgery, as well as providing pre-packed take-home medications to patients who are being discharged.  A pharmacist attends clinical rounds and reviews patient charts to ensure that there are no drug related problems on each ward as well.  It is a wonderful experience to dance and sing with the patients, translators and caregivers as the chaplaincy team has a worship time on the wards in the morning!  


When a crew member sees the crew physician for medication, we are a community pharmacy for our crew, filling their prescription, counselling and checking drug interactions.  We also provide health information and recommendations for over the counter medications for minor ailments, as well as answer any drug related questions by crew or by hospital staff.  We have a good working relationship with the crew physician, hospital physicians, anaesthesiologists, and nurses and frequently answer drug related questions as they arise in the treatment of our patients, whether they are patients in the hospital or crew working on the ship.  We also supply medication to the off-site dental clinic, the outpatient clinic, the off-site and on-ship eye clinics, and the screening clinic when ordered, supplying the medication in packaging readable by our patients (often French and with a pictogram).

 
Our medications come from all over the world and arrive on the ship via the USA, UK, and the Netherlands.  It can take up to four months to receive an order so we have to carefully manage our inventory.  Some of our medications are received as donations by generous supporters and others are purchased at discounted prices for non-profit organizations in low-income countries.  Like everyone else on the ship, we are challenged for storage space but we do have a temperature regulated container in the cargo hold that holds much of our inventory of medication that does not fit in our small pharmacy space.  This is the challenge of living and working on a ship!


We are currently recruiting for the next field service and welcome your application to serve the people of Cameroon in 2017-18.  Its a really unique place to be a pharmacist or technician, being a wonderful blend of community and hospital pharmacy. I highly recommend it!

Comments

  • AllyJonesAllyJones Posts: 99
    This is fab, thanks Sandy!!
  • This would make an excellent blog post!
  • I agree on the blog post! Would you mind if MSCA shared Sandy? 
  • AndreaSchmidAndreaSchmid Programs Senior Staffing Manager Posts: 159 admin
    Thank you for posting this, Sandy!
  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11

    JoJo Beattie:

    I agree on the blog post! Would you mind if MSCA shared Sandy? 

    Hi JoJo,

    Sure, you can share it!  I put it out there so that more pharmacists would apply to Mercy Ships :)

    Thanks!

    Sandy

     

  • Hi everyone, 


    I'm Shaleeni and I will be serving as a pharmacist in August in Cameroon for 3 months. Thought I'd stop by to say hello! :) It's great to be able to read some of this information, it helps me get my head around what I will need to know/learn. If someone could give me some advice on certain areas of knowledge that I need to brush up on that would be great. At present I serve in a community pharmacy so am currently working on refreshing hospital pharmacy knowledge in preparation for Cameroon. Looking forward to it!


     
  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11
    Hi Shaleeni,

    I was a community pharmacist for many years before coming to the Africa Mercy so don't worry about the transition to Hospital pharmacy.

    We do not have the equipment to prepare sterile products so they are mixed on the wards by the nurses as they are used.  It would be useful to review Malaria & anti-malarials.  We see a lot of drug resistant infections so reviewing IV and oral antibiotics could be useful as well.  Once you have been given a login and password for "Navigator", you will be able to familiarize yourself with our hospital formulary.  

    I am looking forward to working with you in Cameroon!  Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any specific questions.  

    Blessings,

    Sandy
  • HannahRadfordHannahRadford Posts: 9
    Hi all! I have applied, been accepted, and am waiting to be placed for service for the 2019-2020 service! I unfortunately wasn’t able to be scheduled for the Guinea service- at least not yet! 


    I had had a question for the pharmacy staff on the ship- I know it says that Mercy Ship scrubs are provided to those working directly with patients. As a  pharmacy technician, will that count as direct patient care? If not, will we be able to purchase some of our own Mercy Ships scrubs? Thanks in advance! I hope to be onboard soon! 
  • Hi Hannah!


    My name is Shaleeni and a served for a short time in Cameroon
    last year and will be heading to Guinea early next
    year. 



    I had the exact same question when I first got
    accepted. 

    Yes you will wear scrubs so you won't need to pack any
    clothing for "work" per say.

    I found that I packed way too much clothes for my short stint.
    Best advice I can give you is to pack only essentials and pack
    light.. I packed so much and found myself not using most of the
    things I packed. 



    Hope that is helpful. :)


    --


    Regards,

     

    Shaleeni Jayamani

    Pharmacist

    SJ Consultant Pharmacy
    Services

    ABN 43 946 983 525

    T: 0430 507 770






    This email and any files transmitted with it
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  • VincentLoVincentLo Posts: 1
    Thanks for the handy tip Shaleeni,


    I am just in the middle of working out what to pack as I will be serving at Guinea from next week ( Aug - Oct ) as a pharmacist


    Just a quick question, I have been a community pharmacist in Melbourne Australia for about 10 years, is there anything you would suggest me to look out for as a pharmacist in this role onboard the Africa Mercy? i.e.. Do you think out knowledge and practice easily transferable to this new role?


    Many thanks in advance


    Vincent
  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11

    Hi Hannah,

    I am replying to your question on My Mercy on
    August 12.  Sorry I have not had a chance to respond yet as we
    have just arrived in Guinea and are in the midst of unpacking.

    I see that Shaleeni has answered your question
    already as to the scrubs.  The Guinea field service is fully
    staffed already unless there are any cancellations.  We will
    look at staffing for the next field service in the new year. 
    I am hoping to be able to staff a Pharmacy Technician for part of
    the field service at that time so I will look for your
    application.

    I hope to see you on board in the future!

    Thanks and God bless you,

    Sandy

     

     




    Sandy
    Hewitt

    Senior Pharmacist

    Africa Mercy (
    Douala,
    Cameroon)



    [email protected]


    +1 954.538.6110 (international) | +34 644 001 714 (local) | ext
    1733

     

    MercyShipsPO Box 2020, Lindale, TX 75771-2020, USAChemin de la Fauvette 98, 1012 Lausanne,Switzerlandwww.mercyships.org| Bringing hope and healing ...

     

     

  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11

    H Vincent,

    I am looking forward to meeting you this
    weekend when you arrive.  Here is a couple of attachments that
    you can read that might give you a better idea of what to
    expect.

    We have good references on Hospital Ipads with
    Lexicomp, Micromedex and other apps. We have the 2017 Australian
    Medicines Handbook which you would be most familiar with.

    We have a very unique environment and it will
    be busy with setting up the hospital when you arrive but I
    anticipate we will have plenty of time for training.  There is
    another Aussie pharmacist on board right now as well and she has
    served before so between the two of us, we should have you feeling
    at home before long.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to
    email back and see you Sunday!

    Sandy

     

     




    Sandy
    Hewitt

    Senior Pharmacist

    Africa Mercy (
    Douala,
    Cameroon)



    [email protected]


    +1 954.538.6110 (international) | +34 644 001 714 (local) | ext
    1733

     

    MercyShipsPO Box 2020, Lindale, TX 75771-2020, USAChemin de la Fauvette 98, 1012 Lausanne,Switzerlandwww.mercyships.org| Bringing hope and healing ...

     

     

  • Hi Vincent,


    Don't stress, Sandy will teach you everything you need to know
    when you are there.. I didn't know anything either when I arrived
    in Cameroon last year and like you, also was a community based
    pharmacist. 



    Proabably will be most helpful to get familiar with
    antimalarials though.. and just learn and understand Malaria as a
    whole.. we see a fair bit of that in Africa.  I found that
    most helpful.



    All the best and enjoy your time there!


    --


    Regards,

     

    Shaleeni Jayamani

    Pharmacist

    SJ Consultant Pharmacy
    Services

    ABN 43 946 983 525

    T: 0430 507 770






    This email and any files transmitted with it
    are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the
    individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you are not the
    intended recipient be advised that you have received this email in
    error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, priniting or
    copying of this email and any file attachments is strictly
    prohibited. If you have received this email in error please
    immediately notify us by reply email to the sender. You must
    destroy the original transmission and its contents. Your
    co-operation is appreciated.

     




  • linharmonlinharmon Posts: 2

    Hello fellow-pharmacists!

    My name is Lin. I have been offered a pharmacist position aboard Africa Mercy ship/Senegal - 20Oct. to 4Jan. This is pending an official acceptance, which is anticipated in a week or two. I have a hard copy Lexicomp Drug Information Handbook 2018-2019. Would that be helpful or should I leave it at home? It's heavy! And I would intend to leave it behind on ship if it would be helpful.

    Also, am I reading correctly that pharmacists wear scrubs? I had intended to bring "work" clothes, but, as you know, packing space in a duffle bag is at a premium.

  • domenikadomenika Posts: 3

    Hi everyone,

    my name is Domenika, I am from Germany. I have been offered a pharmacist position 10.Nov- 25.Jan. and I hope that I will get through the whole process well.

    I am so much looking forward to meet you in Senegal, Lin :-)

  • linharmonlinharmon Posts: 2

    Domenika, I am looking forward to meeting to too! I lived in Heilbronn for two years (1972-73).

  • chrissiechrissie Posts: 3

    Hi Sandy,

    Great to hear about the pharmacists role on board. I am a pharmacy technician of 35 years working in the Northern Territory Australia and would love to serve in the pharmacy department but have been unable to find the technician role listed. However I have applied for the sales Dept as a large part of my working life has been in retail pharmacy. I am currently in the talent pool until next year or until a position becomes available,

    Thanks so much for your information about the pharmacy dept and perhaps I may get the opportunity to serve there sometime if my volunteer position becomes available... however It would be my joy to serve on Mercy Ships wherever God wishes to use me.

    blessings

    Chrissie

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