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So you have completed your residency, what happens next? Whether you completed a PGY-1 or a specialized PGY-2, the pharmacy world is now your oyster. How will you remain a lifetime learner? What steps will you take to commit yourself to the education of future pharmacists? A pharmacy student’s interview with a new practitioner will highlight some of the opportunities available in a mental health setting.

Amber N. Stark, PharmD Candidate (left)
South University School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

Katherine T. Blissit, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP (right)
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Mental Health
WJB Dorn VA Medical Center - Anderson CBOC

 

During her fourth year of pharmacy school, Dr. Katherine “Katie” Blissit had the opportunity to rotate at an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Columbia, SC. She states that this experience was her opportunity to acknowledge her passion for psychiatric care. She is sincere in describing her experience as one that allowed her to make a true difference in a patient’s life. During this rotation she met her mentor, and was encouraged to pursue a residency.

After residency, Dr. Blissit was hired as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Mental Health. She leads medication education groups as part of the Substance Abuse Treatment Program and a Men’s Healthy Aging Group. She is in the process of publishing her manuscript from her PGY-2 research and serves as a research mentor for the new PGY-2 resident. She and her partner are consultants to providers at the Greenville and Spartanburg clinics in South Carolina, but are based out of Anderson, SC. They have been charged with opening new community based outpatient practice. Dr. Blissit is responsible for establishing a Mental Health PharmD clinic for psychiatric medication management of disease states including but not limited to depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. She will also serve as the primary consultant to mental health providers and for the Mental Health Intensive Case Management Program for patients with severe mental illness at this clinic. Her partner plans to establish a Primary Care Mental Health Integration PharmD Clinic and serve as the primary consultant to primary care providers at this clinic. Developing these practice sites is their top priority, however they also anticipate starting a smoking cessation clinic, a naloxone rescue kit education group, and medication education groups for patients within the next 6 months to 1 year.

Knowing that the responsibility to learn never subsides, Dr. Blissit obtained her board certification in psychiatric pharmacy by taking the Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist examination in the Fall of 2015. She used the Psychiatric Pharmacy Review Course materials published by the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) as her primary resource. She also participated in a VA study group that discussed topics and had practice questions available.

As a practitioner, she takes her responsibility to the future of pharmacy seriously. She has taught as a facilitator for the clinical applications course at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy twice in the Fall of 2015. She plans to maintain close ties with schools of pharmacy in the area so that she may continue to provide guidance to future pharmacists. She is preparing to serve as a preceptor to students in her clinic.

Dr. Blissit also discussed the importance of open communication with other providers. She reached out to providers when she first started her position and outlined her training experience and what the role of the psychiatric pharmacist is. She has been supported greatly by primary care and mental health providers in order to integrate her services.

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