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Rho Chi Talks: The Reality of an Emergency Medicine Pharmacist

Featuring: Colleen Bond, PharmD, BCPS
By: Justin Budz, PharmD Candidate c/o 2023

At a young age, Dr. Colleen Bond was involved in the care of a close relative, gaining early exposure to the healthcare team dynamic. The one question that no one was able to clearly answer was how medications were able to work in the body to better manage a patient’s disease state. She ultimately found her answer in choosing a career in pharmacy practice. Dr. Bond graduated from Northeastern University where she herself was a member of Rho Chi Honor Society. After completing residencies at NYU Langone and Robert Wood Johnson, Dr. Bond found herself at Westchester Medical Center where she currently serves as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Emergency Medicine. When she’s not in the emergency room, Dr. Bond also spends time in the Neuro ICU and precepting sixth year pharmacy students undergoing advanced pharmacy practice experiences. 

Tell us about your education experience.

I went to Northeastern University up in Boston, Massachusetts. I had a really great experience, specifically, the co-op experience was able to help me network. I think the more pharmacists you talk with, the more opportunities you learn about that are available in this career.  

Tell us more about your residency experience.

I did my PGY1 residency at NYU Langone in the city. Initially, I was torn between geriatrics and ambulatory care, but my site had a lot of critical care and emergency medicine. I found that I liked the fast paced, quick decision-making of the emergency room. I was able to gain experience with responding to strokes, codes, rapid responses, and rotating throughout the emergency department (ED). From there, I did my PGY2 residency at Robert Wood Johnson through Rutgers where most of my time was spent in the ED. I also got to teach a class in some of the critical care electives that Rutgers offered. I really enjoyed getting a lot of time in with students and practicing those precepting and teaching skills.  

What made you want to specialize in emergency medicine?

What I like about emergency medicine is that you never know what’s coming through the door. I always like to say that the most exciting 15 minutes of anyone’s story always happens in the ED. I enjoy the fast pace and having to know things off the top of my head to be able to make interventions and see the impact right away. Emergency medicine is a wide area. It includes critical care, but it also includes ambulatory care, elderly care…almost everything is seen in the ED. It keeps me on my toes and allows me to continue to learn and stay up to date on topics in clinical care.  

How did you end up at Westchester Medical Center?

I live locally and had originally worked at a community hospital. All of our interesting patients always got transferred here (Westchester Medical Center), so it was difficult to help with the initial stabilization of these patients and then watch them leave through the ED. Now being at Westchester, we see a lot of unique cases transferred here, both pediatric and adult, which I think is an added complexity to the care we give, and I always feel like I’m continuing to learn because of it. 

What are some of the things one can expect to experience as an emergency medicine pharmacist?

I like to get involved, so that can mean meeting with patients, being inside rooms for a trauma or stroke code, and even talking to family members to learn more about a patient’s medical history. It’s also important to not only know the dose of a medication, but how to prepare it, administer it, and assist the nursing staff in giving it. In the ED, a pharmacist has to be willing to get involved and be part of the team, which I think is unique compared to other areas of pharmacy practice. 

What roles do you have outside of the emergency room?

We (pharmacy department) received a request from one of the neuro intensivists to have a pharmacist with them on rounds. I had always been intimately involved with the stroke program at Westchester, so I had already worked with a lot of the neurologists during stroke codes and had a level of comfort with some of these providers. It was originally supposed to be a six-week pilot program to see what interventions I was able to make and what opportunities there would be for pharmacists to take part in, but it has since become my second place outside of the ED. I enjoy being a part of both departments because a lot of times I may go to a stroke code or code ICH (Intracerebral Hemorrhage) in the ED and then the next day I can see that same patient in the Neuro ICU and follow up on their care. It has helped me have a better understanding of the continuum of care throughout a patient’s hospital stay. 

What made you want to be a preceptor and what do you enjoy about it?

I’ve always enjoyed being a teacher, even in pharmacy school I was involved in tutoring students in the classes below me. It’s why I picked my PGY2 so that I could have more exposure to work in academia. I find that being able to work clinically but still being involved with different schools of pharmacy provides me with enough exposure to students to keep myself rejuvenated. It’s always nice to help students see the benefit of what they’re learning in school, but at the same time it helps you re-fall in love with what you do as a pharmacist. 

Do you have any tips for pharmacy students who may be looking to do a residency?

If you’re interested in doing a residency, I think you should always try to network with as many people as you can to learn about the different opportunities. Most residencies are going to be standard across the board, but there may be some nuance to each program. By networking, you can find out some of these insights or where people have gone on to practice upon completing those residencies. Also, to be a competitive candidate, it’s not just about your grades. Programs look for your drive and personality. Being involved in other activities is always looked highly on, even if it’s something outside of pharmacy, because it speaks volumes of a candidate’s commitment and willingness. Showing commitment is important, especially when diving into a residency or fellowship for several years.  

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