McAfee U.S. Army Health Clinic at White Sands Missile Range is doing its part to ensure their pharmacists are recognized for their tireless efforts to help the pharmacy run smooth during National Pharmacy Week, Oct. 19 to 23.
National Pharmacy Week is the one week out of the year where pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are nationally recognized for their tireless efforts in ensuring the right medications fall into the right hands. The clinic will celebrate with treats every day of the week, ending with a potluck at the end of the week.
“The work of a pharmacist is really of upmost importance,” said Capt. Rebecca Barrera, McAfee Clinical Officer in Charge. “The services they provide are invaluable not only to patients but to doctors and nurses. We can always turn to them. They have a wealth of knowledge and they’re always willing to share it with us. The pharmacists at WSMR are the best I’ve ever worked with,” Barrera said.
The health clinic’s pharmacy is run by two pharmacists, Brian Blacklock and Frank Erring, and one pharmacy technician, Spc. Pablo Chavez.
Blacklock said their busiest days are usually Mondays and Tuesdays, as they are trying to catch up from the weekend and after that it just depends. Blacklock has been working as a pharmacists for 45 years. He joined the Department of Defense 11 years ago and has been traveling to McAfee from William Beaumont since 2004. Blacklock said he enjoys his profession even more so when he joined the DoD because of the staff, the work schedule, and he enjoys assisting active duty military and beneficiaries. He said he doesn’t remember what made him want to become a pharmacists in the first place, but he has never looked back.
“We just fill prescriptions and make sure they (the customers) get what they need, and what they get is the right stuff,” Blacklock said. “It’s a very important job. We’re the last people to see the patient so we have to make sure they get the right prescription. We make sure they’re counseled and we answer any questions they may have.”
Chavez, who just recently joined the team, said he decided to go into the profession because he said being able to help with an individual’s health seemed interesting to him. He values his role as a pharmacy technician because he said it is difficult for a pharmacist to do it alone, and having a pharmacist technician provides a good check and balance. An entire day is dedicated to celebrate Pharmacy Technicians on Oct. 20.
“At the end of the day you are helping people get better,” Chavez said. “It’s a rewarding job and it’s a pretty important job. People need medications for certain things and someone has to be there to do it.”