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Breaking the Mold: Unveiling the Dynamic Role of Community Pharmacists in Ambulatory Care

There is a common misconception that all community pharmacies are alike, and that most of what community pharmacists do is count pills. This could not be further from the truth and Dr. Mohanad Znbaqa’s story will demonstrate just how versatile a career practicing in a community pharmacy can be!

Expanding Horizons: A Pharmacist’s Journey in Ambulatory Care

Dr. Znbaqa started his journey into pharmacy at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in Glendale, Arizona. During his PGY-1 pharmacy residency at Yuma Regional Medical Center, Mohanad cared for patients hospitalized for various preventive chronic illnesses and medication complications. This experience sparked his motivation and passion to play a critical role in chronic disease management and preventive care. Joining the Family Medicine Clinic during his residency provided Mohanad with exposure to ambulatory care, where he found his impact and strong fit immediately. Since then, he has focused on expanding his ambulatory care experience and knowledge in transition of care and chronic disease management.

Pioneering New Paths: Launching a Pilot Program

Mohanad was selected to launch a pilot program created by Walgreens Health and Village Medical to embed clinical ambulatory care pharmacists in primary care clinics. In this role, he has collaborative practice agreements with providers to independently manage various chronic diseases, with a focus on diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dyslipidemia.

Patient-Centered Care: Making a Difference One Encounter at a Time

Working in a primary care clinic with scheduled patient appointments, Mohanad’s initial patient encounter is 60 minutes in length, with follow-up appointments lasting 30 minutes. He typically handles seven to ten appointments daily for the various chronic diseases managed. These encounters can take place in the clinic, via telephone, or through Telemedicine. In addition to scheduled appointments, Mohanad also provides curbside consultations for patients, medical assistants, and providers regarding medication-to-medication interactions, optimal therapy, side effects, and medication coverage.

The Rewards of Impactful Care

The most rewarding aspect of Mohanad’s career “…is the positive feedback from patients and providers. I ensure to engage the patient in creating individualized optimal therapy plan and create a roadmap of small goals to achieve. It is exciting and rewarding for the patient and I to accomplish these goals together through our journey of care.” Collaborating with providers to discuss and create various therapy plans for optimal patient outcomes is equally rewarding, as it demonstrates the value and impact of pharmacists’ expertise.

Navigating Challenges: Balancing Encounter Duration

One major challenge Mohanad faces is limiting the number of patient encounters per day but being able to provide shorter, 30 – 45-minute appointments help ease this challenge whilst still allowing him to “… thoroughly manage various chronic diseases”. Despite this challenge, he remains dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal outcomes through personalized care.

Guiding Future Pharmacists: Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Mohanad recommends that students interested in a similar career path complete introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE) and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE) in an ambulatory care setting. He also encourages students to consider completing at least one year of residency training to further expand their knowledge and experience in ambulatory care.

Conclusion: Shaping the Future of Pharmacy in Primary Care

After his pharmacy residency, Mohanad’s involvement in the pilot program created by Walgreens Health and Village Medical has yielded outstanding results and impact. The success of the pilot led to its extension and the creation of research publications and mentions in various news articles, highlighting the value of pharmacists in primary care settings. Mohanad’s journey exemplifies the crucial role pharmacists play in chronic disease management and preventive care within ambulatory settings, shaping the future of pharmacy in primary care.

We thank Dr. Znbaqa for these amazing insights and for those intrigued by a similar career, the Pharm4Me website offers valuable information on becoming a pharmacist, accompanied by additional inspirational stories on the Pharm4Me Blog.

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