In the past 20 years, pharmacy manager Sara Smith, Pharm. D., BCPS, redefined the role pharmacy plays at Saint Joseph Berea, bringing the department from behind the scenes to be more visible in the patient care setting.
“We are out there for the patients,” Sara said. “We do all of the admission medication histories because it’s an important part of providing the best care for the patient. We get their medication histories and counsel all patients about their medications at time of discharge and ensure the patient has means to afford the medication that is prescribed. Pharmacists also attend a daily interdisciplinary team meeting to discuss the patient clinically with our whole health care team.
“I feel strongly about our role in the hospital; we want to raise the bar because there’s not a patient who doesn’t deserve the best of what we can give.”
Sara says forward thinking is key to overcoming challenges her small team faces.
“We have to use what we have to provide the very best care and service to nurses and doctors,” Sara said. “We’ve made our own way to make sure we are a big part of patient care. We don’t have clinical pharmacists who are able to break away from order entry, so we work it into our everyday work. We have to be the jack-of-all-trades and master of none, which is both challenging and rewarding.”
Sara’s passion for pharmacy and patient care has remained strong in her more than two decades as a pharmacist. She started at the VA Leestown Hospital in Lexington after her residency, but she and her family moved back home to Berea after the death of her father to help her mother tend to their farm.
“Pharmacy was the perfect fit; it’s a daily challenge and there’s not a day that I don’t feel I’m in the best career I could have chosen,” Sara said. “I don’t know what really started me in pharmacy, but once I got to college and enjoyed science, it seemed like a good career choice. I always thought retail [pharmacy] would be the place for me because I really enjoy the time you’re with a patient because they raise your spirits. They make you feel what you’re doing is making a difference.”
Sara also advances her own knowledge through continuing education. She is currently one of six pharmacists throughout CommonSpirit Health evaluating a potential program that may be used to further advance clinical and administrative pharmacy practices. She also recently earned an Infectious Disease certification, which aided her during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she said presented a different challenge for pharmacists and providers.
Outside of work, Sara and her husband have three sons. They spend a lot of time volunteering with their sons’ extracurriculars, and she serves as the middle school football booster club president and is helping organize project graduation. And every evening, Sara said she enjoys taking a walk along the farm with her Great Dane.