Pharm.D. intern is in training at PAHCS

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 8/12/97.

The public often sees no more of a pharmacist than their head behind a high counter, but the knowledge and duties of a pharmacist involve much more than retail sales. The responsibilities of a pharmacist are many faceted as they need some knowledge in all medicines and remedies, not just those medications for one certain ailment.

Bob Haight, a doctor of pharmacology student in his second block rotation, is studying under the direction of Laura Odell at the Paynesville Area Health Care System. Having already completed a bachelors degree in micro-biology at the University of Minnesota, in June of next year he will graduate once again from the University with the title of doctor of pharmacology.

Haight, a St. Paul native, grew up in a family with several members practicing in various medical fields. Before he entered college he knew he, too, wanted to go into a medical career, but he wasn't sure what field interested him the most. After he spent some time with his uncle, who works as a pharmacist at United Hospital in St. Paul, he realized that pharmacology was the career for him.

Haight mentioned that although pharmacists are still not able to prescribe medications themselves, it is becoming more common in hospitals and clinics for doctors and pharmacists to work as a team. The Paynesville Area Health Care System is one of the first rural medical facilities in Minnesota to have a consulting pharmacist on staff.

With more medications available in recent years, doctors have more choices in treating an illness. Today, if one medication causes a certain side effect in an individual patient, another can be used instead, often reducing or eliminating the side effect, and treating the illness just as well.

Haight mentioned that each medicine works differently with each individual patient's body chemistry. That's why doctors are beginning to seek the aid of a doctor of pharmacology to decide if the patient is in need of medication, and which specific one would most benefit that individual.

Psychiatric drugs are an example of this. There have been many horror stories in decades past of harsher medicines sedating the patient to the point of being "zombie-like." Psychiatric medicines of today have made huge advances by, not only working to stop the behavior in question, but treating the actual illness so patients can live normal lives as part of society.

Haight will serve both his second and third rotations with the Paynesville Area Health Care System, spending a total of eight weeks in Paynesville. He will then go on to several other medical centers in the state for pharmaceutical training in such facilities as kidney and cardiac transplant units and four weeks in pediatrics.

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