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The Role of the Pharmacist in the Intensive Care Unit

Jurado, Lesly V. PharmD; Steelman, Joshua D. PharmD

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3182a11057
Original Articles

As our health care system has begun to place more emphasis on the provision of direct patient care activities and adherence to clinical guidelines, the profession of pharmacy has adapted to provide services, and practitioners, that meet these demands. Two areas of the hospital where pharmacy services are in high demand are the intensive care units and the emergency department; 2 dynamic environments that place a premium on providing appropriate medication therapy in a timely manner. The pharmacists working in these areas can provide a wide range of services that can expedite the arrival of medications and improve adherence to clinical practice guidelines and patient outcomes. In addition to processing medication orders and coordinating the arrival of medications, these pharmacists can also assist with therapeutic drug monitoring (vancomycin, aminoglycosides, and warfarin), medication dosing, renal dosing, and responding to medical emergencies (stroke, code blue, therapeutic hypothermia, rapid sequence intubation, etc). Critical care pharmacists also play an active role on hospital committees, in the education of staff, students, and residents (pharmacy and medical), and in the implementation of new institutional policies and protocols.

Pharmacy, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Wilmington, North Carolina.

Correspondence: Lesly V. Jurado, PharmD, Pharmacy, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, 2131 S 17th St, PO Box 9000, Wilmington, NC 28402 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins