More Than It Seems: How Clinical Pharmacy Specialists Support Patient Care
After hearing from a patient’s family about complications in getting an expensive prescription for the patient, Theresa Vavra got to work.
“A therapy isn’t really a therapy if a patient can’t fill the prescription and take the medicine,” says Vavra, PharmD, BCPS, clinical pharmacy specialist. “Once a prescription is sent to the pharmacy, I help the patient identify the costs and get it. If the insurance doesn’t cover it initially, or if it’s too expensive, that’s when I go the extra mile to help the patient get what they need.
In this case, Vavra spent time working with the doctor’s office, the patient’s insurance company and the manufacturer’s financial assistance program to try to lower the cost of the copayment for the family – and she finally succeeded.
“It motivates me to see the impact of my actions on the lives of patients,” she says. “I can see them feeling better and more confident after getting what they need.”
Vavra was drawn to the field after her mother-in-law, a nurse, suggested she investigate the hospital profession.
“A lot of people think what I used to think, that a pharmacist role is just one thing: counting pills,” she says. “But it’s so much more than that, and it’s such a rewarding career.”
The will to serve
During her first weeks as a pharmacy technician, Vavra says one particular moment cemented her career decision.
“I saw a doctor come up to the pharmacy window and consult with the pharmacy team,” she says. “He wanted advice on alternatives so he could better care for his patient. I immediately thought this was the kind of impact I wanted to have on patient care.
Since then, Vavra has transitioned from her role as a technician to a clinical pharmacy specialist, now providing pharmaceutical support for the large number of dermatology clinics, both on the main campus and in various offsite clinics.
In fact, Vavra follows more than 400 patients, children and adults. In addition to their regular follow-ups, Vavra not only provides education on oral treatments, but also trains many patients on the use of injectable medications.
“It’s very rewarding to see patients learn how to do their own injections at home instead of having to go to a clinic,” she says. “Sometimes people feel stuck in a process, whether it’s insurance, figuring out why a drug is given or how to take it. Helping patients navigate any of these processes is meaningful. »
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