Learning and Serving During COVID-19

Published on 12 May 2020

For the last three years, P4 student Meghin Moynihan has spent weekends working as a student pharmacist at a local hospital. As she continues her work through the COVID-19 pandemic, her experience has helped to expand the breadth of her pharmacy education and reaffirmed her passion for serving patients.

Moynihan began working at the hospital during her P1 year. Over the next three and a half years, her interest in clinical pharmacy continued to grow. As a student pharmacist, Moynihan’s job duties include filling prescriptions, delivering medications to patient floors, working in the IV room, compounding medications and more.

“Working here has helped to combine my coursework with real experience, but ultimately, it has helped me realize that I really enjoy working in the hospital setting,” Moynihan stated. “This is what I want to do for my career.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to strike the St. Louis area, Moynihan’s duties remained the same, but she saw procedures change quickly as the pharmacy worked to keep patients and staff members safe.

Since the pandemic began, safety precautions at the hospital have strengthened with pharmacists wearing masks, wiping down equipment at regularly scheduled intervals and washing their hands each time they enter or leave the pharmacy.

“We are doing the same work, but we are taking even more precautions and have more protocols in place to make sure that we are staying safe and keeping patients safe as well,” Moynihan explained. “We’re receiving ongoing communication from our supervisor as things develop, and we’ve continued training and taking part in e-learning courses that cover how to handle the pandemic and keep us updated on the latest safety procedures.”

Though she is now used to the changes in her workplace, Moynihan remembers the shock of coming to work for the first time after safety measures were put in place. As she entered the hospital, she noticed that many of the entrances and exits had been closed in order to guide employees and patients through a screening process that included taking each individual’s temperature and requiring individuals to answer a series of questions to determine if they were experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms.

“That was strange,” Moynihan admitted. “I walked in after two weeks and it was completely different, but I know it is important to take these precautions because we all have the opportunity to be exposed every day.”

Moynihan will begin a PGY-1 residency at the University of North Carolina in June and is excited to continue to expand on her clinical pharmacy experience and learn more about specialty areas including critical care and oncology.

“I think that working here during this time has been a really good opportunity for me,” Moynihan stated. “I’ve learned how the operational side of the hospital works and how regulations and procedures can be adapted when needed during urgent times. I’m excited to continue to explore the opportunities available in clinical pharmacy over the next year and to find an area that I really, really love.”

Moynihan notes that working during COVID-19 has been nerve-racking at times, but she says the work is all part of serving as a health care professional.

“There was definitely an element of panic and nerves and feeling very overwhelmed,” Moynihan explained. “When the pandemic first hit, every little thing scared me, but as health care providers, we go back and we do our job. We put on a smile and know that we are going to do the best we can to help our patients.”

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