Coronavirus. COVID-19. Pandemic. These are words that everyone in the nation has become intimately familiar with over the past weeks as media outlets push the constant updates of major closings, cancellations, and drastic adjustments to the daily lives of millions. And, admittedly the information being pushed forward is both frightening and confusing for many. In the past week, for example, one state’s governor issued a recommendation that large gatherings, including church services, be canceled until further notice. A neighboring state’s governor announced, within hours of that recommendation, to simply wash your hands, but to continue to support businesses and go about normal routines.
Many college campuses are canceling classes and quickly converting to online platforms. At the same time, the public kindergarten class across the street is ‘business as usual’, following local health authority recommendations. Announcements come at the federal level on a daily basis that completely change the paradigm. The words ‘national emergency’ circulate fluidly via virtually every outlet. Admittedly, the public is confused and frightened. And, our nation’s pharmacists face that fear head-on at the pharmacy counter.
One headline from an Italian news source yesterday stopped me in my tracks. The article was entitled, “All Businesses Mandated Closed, Except Grocery Stores and Pharmacies”. We are, thankfully, not in the same position as this Italian town at the moment… but I can’t help but consider the possibilities and implications that could be in store for us as pharmacists. The possibility of being on the ‘front lines’ of this public health crisis is very real, as evidenced by this article’s headline.
Are we ready for that? Are we prepared for the flood of questions that will come from patients? Are we prepared for introducing additional disinfecting and cleaning processes into an already overwhelmed process? Are we equipped with the most current information on this virus? Certainly, the need is immediate. Last week in the continuing education community, ACPE announced temporary provisions that will permit immediate updates through the pharmacy continuing education channels. PharmCon has risen to that challenge and is committed to bringing the latest updates with multiple offerings that will immediately be introduced to the extensive list of online offerings.
The first offering is hosted by Pharmacist Pete Kreckel entitled, “A New Virus in Town: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)”. This live online course is open for registration now. Within days of this release, I am proud to say that PharmCon will be offering a home study webcast version of this program at absolutely no cost to all of our healthcare partners. Please help us spread the word about this timely resource that will assuredly arm the practicing community healthcare practitioner with the most appropriate and practical recommendations available.
Additionally, another program entitled, “COVID-19: Navigating the Unchartered Pandemic Waters” will be presented by Krutika Mediwala, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP. Dr. Mediwala serves as the Infectious Disease Pharmacy Residency Program Director at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her experience in making COVID-19 preparations at the facility there in Charleston, SC will bring a unique insight into the emergence of this virus and special considerations from a health-systems vantage.
I am always amazed by the commitment of my colleagues and faculty here at PharmCon, although I rarely brag about our team openly in a forum. This, however, is one of those occasions in which I will do just that. I am proud of our team. Each person has eagerly stepped forward to bring the most accurate information forward in a focused and practical manner that will, undoubtedly, prove to be extremely valuable to the entire profession. These are the moments where our team shines… and these are the moments where our profession shines.
Re-visiting the earlier question, then: Are we prepared for this? Together, I think that we will be. Pharmacists are always stepping in when others are stepping back. I am pleased that our team is committed to providing the information that pharmacists need to protect both ourselves and those that we serve. Knowledge is power… and with that power, our profession steps forward to meet the fears and uncertainties together.
[Author’s note: The article being referenced appeared in the New York Times on January 31, 2020. There are many points to unpack in ‘the’ article. Future postings will evaluate other aspects of this article. The original article, in its entirety, may be viewed here.]
Related Webinar Sessions:
A New Virus in Town: COVID-19 (Coronavirus), airs 3/18 @ 6PM EST, 3/24 @ 9PM EST, 3/26 @ 5PM EST, and 3/30 @ 5PM EST
COVID-19: Navigating the Unchartered Pandemic Waters, airs 3/31 @ 6PM EST