Providing the Backbone: Melanie Dettmer and the Department of Pharmaceutical Care

Just as the human backbone serves as the body’s central support structure, Melanie Dettmer, CPhT, says the pharmacy is the backbone that unites hospital care teams.

Dettmer, support services coordinator in the pharmaceutical care department at IU hospitals and clinics, says many aspects of patient care are affected by pharmacy services.

“Everyone needs pharmacy services at some point in their life,” says Dettmer. “Pharmacy is a very high quality service in that we work for and with patients, their doctors and nurses, and insurance companies to get the medications our patients need. “

An abundance of opportunities

Mélanie Dettmer, CPhT

In UI hospitals and clinics there are several inpatient and outpatient pharmacies that work to meet the needs of our patients. Pharmacy technicians are fully integrated into a variety of healthcare teams to provide support to patients for their pharmaceutical needs. A few of these roles include composing, filling and working with patient insurance to ensure their medications are available and affordable.

In addition to working directly with doctors, nurses, and other pharmacists, pharmacy technicians may also work in support or income cycle service positions.

“You can work in a retail pharmacy, but the appeal of working in a hospital setting is that you have so many opportunities to expand your career path while focusing on patient care,” says Dettmer. “While pharmacy roles face many aspects, technicians have the opportunity to grow both horizontally and vertically in their careers. They can move between ambulatory care, acute care and retail settings, which makes this area so interesting. You can start as a filling technician and progress to a support services or billing role. You can become an expert in your specialty niche and, over time, eventually become a leadership position.

The place to be

Dettmer started working as a pharmacy technician at a retail pharmacy in Illinois at the age of 16 because she was interested in medical careers. In 2017, she joined UI hospitals and clinics as a specialist in support services within specialized pharmacy services and in two years she had the opportunity to take on her current position of services coordinator. Support.

“Looking back, working in a pharmacy was a whirlwind experience,” she says. “I learned about customer service, new drugs, different medical conditions, and I discovered a passion for it. I wasn’t sure if being a doctor or a nurse was something I wanted to do, but I quickly realized that the pharmacy is a way for me to help others during their time of need.

At IU hospitals and clinics, Dettmer found what she was looking for.

“I worked in a small hospital for a while, but we’re the hangout in the state of Iowa with the latest advancements in medicine,” she says. “We have a Level I trauma center and you have the opportunity to work with people at the top of their field. It really is just a great institution overall.

People from all over the country and the world come to work here. It’s a strong program with diverse people and by working here I have the opportunity to be part of a higher level of care.

Working in specialty pharmacy services has allowed Dettmer to build strong relationships with various teams including patient management, billing and pre-clearance, fulfillment, and clinical pharmacy specialists.

“I feel educated and empowered working here,” she says. “I have received recognition for the work I do from patients and colleagues, and it makes a difference. “

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