STLCOP Resident Empowers Patients
Published on 20 November 2015
Megan Snodgrass is a PGY1 resident at L & S Pharmacy, an independently owned pharmacy that is part of St. Louis College of Pharmacy's community pharmacy residency program. The program is based at L & S Pharmacy in Charleston, Missouri, as well as at Schnucks Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy, both in St. Louis.
Snodgrass became interested in pharmacy during high school following the death of her grandfather. He had pancreatic cancer and by the time he was diagnosed, treatment options were limited. “He was a farmer all of his life, and very strong for 68 years old, but he was no match for the aggressive cancer,” she says.
She began to wonder how it could be possible that so little could be done for him and was inspired to apply to pharmacy school. Her personal experience has motivated her to genuinely get to know her patients.
“I help patients find their own solutions to their own unique problems and give them the tools to empower and care for themselves” she says.
In her residency, Snodgrass focuses on patient care, adherence, and community involvement. She consults with patients who have uncontrolled diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), depression, or chronic pain. It was the setting, in particular, that drew her to the position.
“The rural community setting is a big plus for me; it’s the kind of environment I want to be in,” Snodgrass explains. “The difference is our ability to interact with patients. The community sees the value in supporting a local business, and our patients know and trust the pharmacists who work here. It makes a perfect opportunity for me to make recommendations that will stick with patients.”
That sense of trust becomes especially important for patients who are overcoming obstacles, every day, to obtain health care.
“Some of my patients don’t have access to a car or may not be able to pay for their medications. Some have struggled with opioid addiction, or may be caring for a loved one dealing with addiction,” Snodgrass says. “Building trust is the key to building a relationship with patients and it starts with pharmacists.”
Snodgrass has also started a web-based wellness program at her residency site in partnership with a neighboring physician’s office to encourage healthy weight loss and smoking cessation. Patients can log in to an account and use a mobile app to find healthy recipes, workouts, and pharmacy-related questions. Patients can also use a journal to keep track of meals and organize weekly group meetings.
“The program encourages group interaction and discussions because support-group based approaches have been shown to improve health outcomes compared with programs that don’t include interaction with others,” she says.
STLCOP’s residency program recently became the first community pharmacy residency program in the St. Louis area to be accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).