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Station pharmacy readies for winter visitors

27 Sep 2006 | Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez

Many units and sections on station are swamped supporting the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course, but other personnel are preparing for the influx of military retirees that come to Yuma for the winter.

As the winter months approach, the Branch Medical Clinic pharmacy prepares to take on the challenge known as the winter-visitors season.

The station pharmacy is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, sections at BMC because it fills anywhere from 300 to 600 prescriptions a day.

But it does not have a platoon or even a company to handle that large amount of people; instead it relies on the hard work of five highly-trained individuals.

It takes at least three pharmacy technicians and the pharmacist to run the pharmacy smoothly, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Wilson, leading pharmacy petty officer. However, there are times when the facility is not fully staffed and must be run by three people, including the pharmacist.

That’s when it becomes harder to fill all the prescriptions. But each person is up to the challenge.

Walter H. Moore, station pharmacist, said he is 100 percent confident in the abilities of the sailors he calls coworkers.

“They are the best crew I have ever worked with,” said Moore. “They enjoy what they do and want to do it.” Their dedication makes the job easier, said Moore.

The goal of the station pharmacy is no different from that of a civilian pharmacy -- to help people get the medication they need in the fastest time possible, said Wilson.

But the difference between the station pharmacy and those out in town is that the station pharmacy is able to process and issue prescriptions much faster, said Wilson.

Thanks to new technology and an efficient staff, the station pharmacy has been able to meet its goals and take pride in being one of the fastest pharmacies in Yuma, said Wilson.

In fact, the pharmacy has been able to cut down wait times by 15 minutes. And when dealing with about 20,000 prescriptions each month, time is very important.

The pharmacy technicians use a computer program that enables them to scan the prescription bar codes, see what type of medication they will need and how much.

Then a large medication dispenser unit fills the bottles with the number of required pills. The program then displays who filled the prescription and the pharmacist visually ensures the correct prescriptions in the correct amounts are going to the correct patients.

This entire process is done in a matter of minutes.

Wilson said the training his section has received, combined with the pharmacy technology, has enabled the station to achieve an excellent degree of accuracy in dealing with prescriptions.

As long as the patients feel welcome and get good service, then that’s all that matters, said Wilson.

Wilson said even though the amount of service members, dependants, retirees and Department of Defense personnel who come to Yuma each year is increasing, he feels confident in the abilities of the pharmacy to continue doing its job.

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