Q: I am a new DON. My pharmacy has a nurse consultant and a pharmacy consultant. I’m not sure what they each do. Can you help? 

A: These two positions do totally different jobs for you and your facility.

The pharmacy consultant will assist with your chart audits, destruction of medications and your antibiotic stewardship committee. She also will serve on your pharmacy and therapeutics committee as part of the medical committee. She can assist you with gradual dose reductions and make recommendations to the physicians and nurse practitioners regarding overuse, changing times to assist with drug compatibility, and other suggestions that could improve med pass efficiency. 

Pharmacy consultants also can do mock surveys and observe and provide in-service training on topics including, but not limited to, drug diversion, antipsychotics, antibiotics and administering eye drops.

The nurse consultant can assist with many supportive duties. She also can assist with mock surveys, especially in preparation of the facility’s annual survey, and with hiring new nurses, especially those with little-to- no long-term care experience. 

The nurse consultant also is a great resource for providing additional in-service training. Typically, they visit a few facilities and are able to share what the surveyors have looked at during one or more prior surveys. That can be very beneficial, as you can make corrections before your “visitors” arrive. 

The two consultants can work together, possibly relaying information between the facility and pharmacy.

Perhaps you continually have a delivery problem, or labels over the lid of a bottle prevent you from opening the bottle without damaging the label. A consultant nurse can convey this information to the pharmacy to ensure any issues get corrected

These two positions will make your life easier if used correctly and thoroughly.