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Syringa pharmacist gives overview of hospital duties

Shane Henry, Syringa Hospital Pharmacist, talks to the board of trustees about his job duties.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Shane Henry, Syringa Hospital Pharmacist, talks to the board of trustees about his job duties.

— “Retail pharmacy is a whole other story: I love hospital pharmacy – it’s why I got into the business,” said Shane Henry.

Henry is the pharmacist for Syringa Hospital and he made a presentation to the trustees at the June 26 board meeting.

Henry, who started working at the hospital in 2006 and came on as the full-time pharmacist in 2011, works Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; he is physically on campus 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and works remotely the remaining hours. There is also a part-time pharmacy technician at Syringa who works Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“One of the main jobs is to refill the Pyxis daily,” Henry explained. There are two of these mini-pharmacy dispensers (one on the main floor and one in the emergency room). These cabinet-type of devices hold a vast array of medications, the drawers and cubbies where each medication is kept will only open if the correct computer interfacing is completed (such as scanning a patient’s wrist band, then the medication code as well).


Shane Henry, Syringa Hospital Pharmacist

“This helps to ensure each patient is given the proper dosage, at the correct time,” he explained.

Nurses are the main people to work with Pyxis and interact with the patients.

“What happens if this goes out of order?” asked board chair Al Bolden of White Bird.

“Well, so far that hasn’t happened,” Henry smiled, explaining they have 24-hour tech support. The Pyxis are on lease from a company at a cost of about $1,500 per month, CEO Betty Watson added.

Board vice-chair Steve Didier, Kooskia, asked if there is much of a problem with expired drugs.

Henry explained the system lets them know of any expired drugs and he can then adjust any future orders based on usage. Many of the drugs in the Pyxis are custom-inserted and available for hospital patients during their stays.

Henry is also responsible for anticoagulation and diabetes clinics and education, and spends time with primary care providers, nurses and patients as needed. He has to verify each order – prescription – that comes through and make sure there are no adverse drug interactions and that patients know about any possible side effects.

“This has been a great presentation for me to hear,” said trustee Jim May of Kooskia. “It’s enlightened me – now I don’t just see you as counting out pills in some dark room.”

Henry touched briefly on a question on opiate usage, saying problems in that area are usually caught before prescriptions ever come his way, and drug shortages, saying, “Yes, saline can still be difficult at times since the hurricane wiped out a large plant in Puerto Rico” where the saline was manufactured.

Board chair Al Bolden asked about in-house compounding capabilities and Henry said a pharmacy hood has been ordered and when that arrives and is installed, options will open up for compounding. The hood provides a sterile area where it’s safe to combine prescriptions without fear of contamination.


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