Meet Your Pharmacist: Carrie Blenkinsop
Carrie is one of ARTARx’s new pharmacists. With over twenty years of clinical pharmacy experience, she has a lot to offer members, including a certification as a prescribing pharmacist. We asked Carrie a few questions about her background, and what exactly a prescribing pharmacist can offer to members who use ARTARx.
Why did you pursue a career in pharmacy?
I’ve always enjoyed the medical field — I think if I wasn’t in pharmacy, I would have liked to be a psychologist. I’m interested in actively helping people and making a positive impact in their lives. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from that.
As a pharmacist, it’s important to understand where people come from, and how to best help them. I like to learn a lot about patients and figure out how I can make healthcare suggestions that will fit in to their lives.
What is a prescribing pharmacist?
Generally speaking, all pharmacists are already able to manage drug therapy for their patients by making substitutions and renewing prescriptions for continuity of care. We’re able to make suggestions for treating mild conditions, administer vaccines, and interpret lab results for patients.
Prescribing pharmacists go through an additional qualification process and are able to expand on their existing role by gaining the authority to prescribe Schedule I drugs — essentially anything that isn’t a controlled substance. This allows us to more effectively manage patient care and drug therapy.
Why might a patient come to a prescribing pharmacist instead of seeing their doctor?
We still encourage patients to see their doctor, of course, but in an emergency situation — say if you’ve unexpectedly run out of medication or you’re experiencing side effects from your medication — coming to your pharmacist will often be quicker and more convenient than making an appointment with your doctor. We’re knowledgeable, and we’re here to help at a moment’s notice.
If your doctor prescribes a medication that isn’t covered by your health plan, we can help you find the appropriate substitution. If you’re unable to swallow your medication, we can give you a prescription for a liquid version. As experts in drug therapy, we can help to shape your prescription to suit your needs.
What is the process of getting a prescription from a pharmacist?
The first step is to establish a relationship between pharmacist and patient. We have to get to know you and understand your medical background before we can initiate any kind of drug plan. This is something that can be done through regular consultation, either in person or online. Next, we assess the patient’s medical needs and come to an understanding about the best course of action for their treatment plan.
As you can imagine, it makes sense to establish this relationship early on. I’m excited to start building these professional relationships with our members, to get to know them and start working with them to meet their wellness needs.