|Q&A with Robert S. Gold, RPh, MBA, Author of <i>Are Your Meds Making You Sick?</i>|
|Robert Gold is a pharmacist specializing in adverse drug reactions. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Ball State University. Robert is an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Purdue and a practicing hospital pharmacist at a large Midwestern hospital. Robert, a pharmacist for 30 years, wrote <i>Are Your Meds Making You Sick? A Pharmacist's Guide to Avoiding Dangerous Drug Interactions, Reactions and Side-Effects</i>, which was released in July 2011 by Hunter House Publications.
Q: What motivated you to become a pharmacist?
A: As a young boy I would go into the lab with my dad who is a research pharmacist with a PhD. (My dad, Dr. Gerald Gold, invented Alka-Seltzer Plus.) When I was an undergraduate at Purdue I was intrigued by how antibiotics could inhibit microorganism cell growth. The ability of a medication to alter the course of a disease is fascinating.
Q: Can you describe the settings you've worked in as a pharmacist?
A: I have worked in retail pharmacy and have been a hospital pharmacist director, supervisor and staff pharmacist.
Q: When did you start working at Purdue University?
A: I work for a hospital and serve Purdue at no charge by helping as a preceptor to pharmacy students. I have been a preceptor for pharmacy students since 2003.
Q: Typically, what are your day-to-day responsibilities as an affiliate instructor?
A: When a student signs up for my clerkship I allow them to accomplish projects. Some interesting projects that students have championed include smoking cessation, studying television drug advertisements, lipid screenings and monitoring public radio announcements for the safe use of medications.
Q: Do you still treat patients?
A: I am a practicing hospital pharmacist. My duties involve the preparation of Intravenous admixtures, formulating total parenteral nutrition and dosing of medications. I also counsel patients on the safe use of medications including Warfarin and medications for congestive heart failure.
Q: What types of patients/diagnoses do you encounter most frequently?
A: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension and surgery patients.
Q: How did you come around to writing your book, <i>Are Your Meds Making You Sick? A Pharmacist's Guide to Avoiding Dangerous Drug Interactions, Reactions and Side-Effects</i>?
A: I have been a pharmacist for 30 years. I have a notebook in which I collected information on the top types of scenarios in which medications caused adverse drug reactions. I found that there are 30 typical types of adverse drug reactions ranging from bleeding to patient falling.
Many persons in the United States have low pharmacy literacy and do not understand how to prevent being a victim of their own drugs. I wrote <i>Are Your Meds Making You Sick?</i> ( http://www.hunterhouse.com/shopexd.asp?id=749 ) to reach out to the world so that I could possibly prevent one more drug-induced liver failure, respiratory failure, bleed or fall!
Q: What are the greatest challenges you face as a pharmacist and instructor?
A: Time. Medication therapy has become very complex and it is the norm for patients to be on over eight routine medications when they are admitted to the hospital.
Q: What do you like most about your job? What do you dislike most about your job?
A: I like the ability to make a difference in patients' lives by optimizing their medication therapy. I dislike spending time on activities that are too time consuming and take away from patient care.
Q: Do you feel that the role of pharmacists has changed over recent years? If so, how?
A: There are pharmacists on the cutting edge of improving medication therapy; however, sadly, many pharmacists are still dispensing medications at too fast a pace to work with patients.
Q: What do you feel is of the greatest concern to pharmacists today?
A: Pharmacists fill over 3.7 billion prescriptions a year, which sometimes leaves little time to counsel patients. Also, pharmacists do not have access at all times to patients' lab values and history and physicals.
Q: What advice would you give others interested in a career in pharmacy?
A: In high school take chemistry, biology, physics and pre-calculus to get into pharmacy school. I would also volunteer in a hospital pharmacy to see pharmacists firsthand interacting with other healthcare professionals and job shadow a clinical pharmacist on the nursing units.
Q: What is the most important thing you've learned over the course of your career?
A: Ideas for improvement take time and hard work to become reality.
Q: What makes your job as a pharmacist worthwhile?
A: The opportunity to make a difference by improving patients' medication therapies.