In response to changes occurring in healthcare and the pharmacy profession, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was created by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to improve patient care through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge and skills in pharmacy. One role of BPS is to award board certification to pharmacists from a variety of specialties who pass their board certification examinations.
Recently, Nicole Rivera, PharmD, and Lisa Hasenmayer, BPharm, pharmacists at Children's Hospital Central California, successfully passed the pharmacotherapy specialty certification examination and became board certified pharmacotherapy specialists (BCPS). The BCPS certified pharmacist brings an extra measure of quality to the healthcare team, and demonstrates initiative and commitment to professional excellence.
Requirements for this specialty certification include graduating from an accredited pharmacy program and completing either a pharmacy residency program or gaining three years’ practice experience with a minimum of 50 percent of the time spent in pharmacotherapy activities.
“I have to give them a huge amount of credit because they went above and beyond,” said Richard Sakai, PharmD, director of pharmacy at Children's. “This is quite an achievement in that the testing process is quite rigorous.”
“The pharmaceutical industry is constantly changing; physicians can’t keep up on all the drug therapies, and that’s what we pharmacists bring to the table,” said Sakai. “More than 1.3 million doses are provided by our pharmacy each year, of which over 300,000 are patient-specific intravenous medicines. Our pharmacists often function as members of a multidisciplinary team. It’s very unique how our medical staff, nurses and pharmacists work together. The relationship is very collaborative, and our opinions as pharmacists are held in high regard.”
“I feel very appreciated by my physicians,” said Hasenmayer who works primarily with the hospitalists and medical residents. “It’s clear they value my input.” Hasenmayer serves as a med-surg pharmacist in the Garden satellite with a focus on general medicine patients.
Rivera also enjoys the collaborative environment at Children's Hospital Central California. “I was looking for a position where I could make a difference,” she said. “Everybody’s so passionate about what they do here. I fell in love with the Hospital.” Rivera works as a med-surg pharmacist in the Voyager satellite and serves the Hospital’s nephrology, endocrinology, oncology and surgery patients.
Children's Hospital now has four board certified pharmacists, as Rivera and Hasenmayer join Inwon (Lucy) Roh, PharmD, and Rou-Yee (Grace) Chenhsu, PharmD. Roh is the only board certified oncology pharmacist (BOCP) at Children’s Hospital. She became board certified in 2005 and serves both outpatient and inpatient oncology patients through our oncology pharmacy. Chenhsu received BCPS board certification in 2006. A strong clinical pharmacist in intensive care settings, she works primarily in our pediatric intensive care unit.
“I brag on my pharmacists all the time,” said Sakai. “I’m so proud of them.” Sakai pointed out that fewer than 10 percent of pharmacists working at area hospitals are board certified. In retail pharmacy the percentage is very small. Among those eligible to take the board certification exams, only about 50 percent pass. “I go out and brag, ‘I’ve got four!’”
Our pharmacotherapy specialists work in the area of pharmacy practice responsible for ensuring safe, appropriate and economical use of drugs in patient care. They have responsibility for direct patient care, and are frequently the primary source of drug information for other healthcare professionals.
Congratulations to our board certified pharmacotherapy specialists. Children's Hospital is proud of your accomplishments.