by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols,
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
While service members, retirees and dependents listen for their number to be called, tucked away behind shelves of bottles and prescriptions, a dedicated team of pharmacy technicians diligently work to fill their requests.
Located at the front entrance of the 19th Medical Group in Bldg. 1090, the pharmacy team quickly and accurately fills prescriptions.
With more than 1,000 prescriptions filled daily, the pharmacy team’s job from start to finish is to cater to the medical needs of service members, their families and retirees – day in, day out.
The pharmacy team inspects, stores and distributes a variety of medications, ranging from allergy pills to heart medicine.
This responsibility requires the pharmacy team to ensure the “5 Rights” for each prescription: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.
The pharmacy has more than 1,000 varieties of medication, and anything not carried by the pharmacy, but sanctioned by the Department of Defense, may be ordered through the pharmacy’s special purchase program.
“We strive to provide accurate, efficient and first class service to all of our patients who have served and are serving our country,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Katelyn Zeringue, 19th MDG pharmacist. “Providing first class service increases the quality of life for our patients.”
In addition to quality assurance, the pharmacy technicians look for different ways to improve the lives of service members, dependents and retirees.
“Our first priority has always been and always will be safety; we want to make sure we’re working as efficiently as possible while still maintaining a level of safety,” Zeringue said. “We want to treat every patient with the respect and dignity they deserve while protecting their privacy.”
The newest addition – Medsafe, a medication disposal drop box - is intended to meet that priority.
Just as a sensitive documented must be shredded to protect personal information, a pill bottle or prescription with private information must be properly disposed.
Deposit any unused or expired medications into the blue medication disposal box located in the pharmacy lobby for confidential and secure disposal. The only items not accepted are needles (sharps) and aerosol cans (inhalers).
As well as disposing the sensitive information on the labels of prescriptions, the drop box helps get rid of unused medications.
The new policy now only allows prescriptions to be taken during a specified time frame. Usage after this date is considered illegal or inappropriate use.
“We’re trying to prevent the misuse and abuse of any medications that may be left in the home,” Zeringue said.
Additionally, dropping off a new prescription is now easier with a convenient drop box inside the pharmacy. If you don’t have time wait in line, you can drop off prescriptions and pick it up the next day.
Both the disposal bin and the drop off box are open during normal pharmacy hours.
The goal of the 19th MDG pharmacy staff is to make things easier for the customer.
“It’s been humbling being able to talk to people and find out what they’ve been through,” said U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor Fuselier, 19th MDG pharmacy technician. “Every patient is different. You may have something that’s really simple or complicated. You come in each day and expect it to be different from the day before.”
For more information regarding pharmacy operations, call 501-987-7446.