Ward Round Participation

Ward Round Participation

A ward round is a visit made by a medical practitioner, alone or with a team of health professionals and medical students, to hospital inpatients at their bedside to review and follow up on the progress in their health. Usually, at least one ward round is conducted every day to review the progress of each inpatient, though more than one is not uncommon. In certain practice settings such as psychiatry, the “ward round” may be conducted away from the patient’s bedside in a non-traditional fashion, where the team meets elsewhere to review each case.

Goals and objectives for clinical pharmacists on ward rounds: 

As important members of the healthcare team, pharmacists should attend ward rounds and clinical meetings whenever possible. This enables pharmacists to contribute prospectively to patient care through the provision of drug therapy.  The goals of a clinical pharmacist’s participation in ward rounds are to: 

Gain an improved understanding of the patient’s clinical status and progress, currently planned investigations, and therapeutic goals. 

Provide relevant information on various aspects of the patient’s drug therapy such as pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug availability, cost, drug interactions, and adverse reactions. 

Optimize therapeutic management by influencing drug therapy selection,  implementation, monitoring, and follow-up. 

Investigate unusual drug orders or doses. 

Assimilate additional information about the patient such as co-morbidities,  medication compliance, or alternative medicine use that might be relevant to their management. 

Detect adverse drug reactions and drug interactions. 

Participate in patient discharge planning. 

Ward round participation also provides many learning opportunities for pharmacists. It allows pharmacists to see firsthand how drugs are used and prescribed and to see the effects of these drugs on patients. With time, pharmacists develop an appreciation of how the patient’s wishes and their social, cultural, and economic circumstances may influence therapeutic choices. Even for experienced clinical pharmacists in teaching hospitals, it is very rare to finish a ward round without gaining new perspectives on some aspect of therapeutics or patient care. For those involved in academia and research, ward rounds allow the identification of cases for clinical teaching and publication. Not least, ward-round participation strengthens the inter-professional relationship among various health professionals, leading to better healthcare practice and research.

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