In her role as a medication use evaluation (MUE) pharmacist, Isla Drummond supports her colleagues in performing their jobs safely and effectively. She ensures that new drugs added to the BC provincial hospital formulary are available at Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) and are being used properly. She performs reviews of new drugs, monitors the drug budget, and looks after the database of pre-printed orders and reviews changes and updates to the Parenteral Drug Therapy Manual on behalf of all Coastal sites.
“At the end of the day, it's all about providing safe drug therapy to the patient," she says.
Isla was inspired to make pharmacy her career after taking a weekend job at a retail pharmacy at age 16.
“The regulations for selling pharmacy products are quite different in the UK, and most purchases of over-the-counter medications involve a conversation with a pharmacy assistant before you can buy them, to determine if a pharmacist needs to be involved," she explained. “I enjoyed the patient contact, and as I learned more, found that the work of the pharmacists in educating patients and ensuring the safety of their medications really interested me."
After moving to Vancouver from Scotland, Isla switched to hospital-based pharmacies, working in the dispensary at BC Children's Hospital, then moving to St Paul's Hospital for a decade before coming to LGH 12 years ago. “The learning curve was huge; I loved the challenge and diversity of hospital practice. There is something new to learn every day and the pharmacy team is full of amazing, dedicated people," she notes.
When asked how she impacts patient care, Isla said, “I love systems and workflows, and seeing how we can make them safer and more efficient appeals to me. Getting the right medications to the right patients in a timely manner and improving the ways in which we do that, improving the information flow, ensuring that staff at the front lines have the necessary information to do their jobs is all part of that, and it all benefits the patient."
Isla cites the collaboration and camaraderie of the pharmacy team as her favourite part of the job.
“Seeing a project come successfully to fruition is rewarding for me, whether it is a small thing, like redesigning our antibiogram card, or a large one, like our upcoming change to enoxaparin for VTE [venous thromboembolism] prophylaxis. All the planning and teamwork that goes into these changes is huge, so feeling part of a team that supports patient care is what I enjoy most. And the people!"