Basic first aid skills are useful for anyone to have, but they are imperative for anyone who works in a pharmacy. From pharmacists to cashiers, everyone should know what to do in a medical crisis and be able to step in during an emergency until EMTs arrive. Of course, when faced with a serious medical emergency, the first course of action should be to have someone call 9-1-1 for paramedics and an ambulance, but in the meantime, basic medical training keeps a situation from turning tragic.
Many of your patients may come in with an already fragile medical state. It wouldn’t be a shocking thing to have someone showing signs of a heart attack to come to the pharmacy to try to find help for a questionable symptom. Other patients may have conditions that put them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Ensuring that there is always someone on hand who has CPR and basic life support training is important for the health of your patients.
Understanding the body’s reaction during a seizure, the signs of an oncoming seizure, and how to stabilize someone who is having an episode is also very important. In this case, first aid simply involves removing anything from the area that could cause the patient to hurt themselves and staying nearby until the seizure has passed and they are once again alert. Those who don’t understand how to react may do harm to the patient or possibly put themselves in danger by not reacting appropriately.
Pharmacies should have training on administering an Epi-pen in the case of a severe allergic reaction that is turning anaphylactic. As pharmacists provide training to those prescribed these devices, this typically should not be an issue, but it may be wise to ensure that more than just prescribing pharmacists have this ability.
Basic First Aid
Understanding how to treat burns, cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries can be helpful when advising patients who come into the pharmacy, looking for a way to treat these issues. Recognizing when what someone thinks is a minor issue should be seen in the emergency room or by their family physician is also important. Your advice can help prevent small problems from turning into serious medical issues down the line.
Mental Health First Aid
Recognizing people who are having a mental health crisis or substance abuse issue can be a very important skill for those who work in a pharmacy. As you are likely to come into contact with someone who is experiencing a mental health issue at some point, knowing what to do offer basic help and when to escalate the response is important. There are courses available just about anywhere, some of which are specific to those in the healthcare field.
As a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, your job of taking care of patients isn’t limited to dispensing medication. By having additional first aid skills, you can ensure better health and safety for everyone who enters your pharmacy, no matter what medical issues they may be facing.