Armstrong pharmacist given prestigious award for helping clients in variety of situations

Going above and beyond

An Armstrong pharmacist has received a prestigious award for going above and beyond to help his patients.

Jason Buerfeind, with Guardian Armstrong Pharmacy and Wellness Centre, was recently awarded the Excellence in Patient Care Award from the BC Pharmacy Association.

Since moving to the North Okanagan three years ago, Buerfeind has been tasked numerous times to triage an enormous number of health issues, whether for developing health issues faced by a local, emergency requests by tourists seeking first aid, or even by those seeking a novel made-in-pharmacy solution to get the kids to sleep.

“A good patient of ours just called up the pharmacy and said, ‘I made a monster spray, some Lysol, sprayed it around the room to keep the monster away, but the kid didn’t buy it,’” Beurfeind said.

“I basically mixed up some water and put some mint extract, slapped a label on there ‘Monster Spray’ … gave her the bottle with the label on it and it says ‘spray once in your bedroom every night to stop monsters’ and I put an expiry to make it look nice and official … I know there has been no monster since the monster spray.”

In a more urgent example, Buerfeind recalled how a patient walked into his pharmacy and explained that she had been stung by a wasp, and was seeking directions to a hospital. She has suffered anaphylactic shock from a sting before and the urgency was high.

“If you’ve had anaphylactic reaction in the past, there’s a good chance it might happen again,” Buerfeind said.

Buerfeind jumped into action and helped the woman administer epinephrine while 911 was called.

“You never want to administer medications that a patient does need, but when she mentioned that she had anaphylactic anaphylaxis in the past, I’d like to catch this reaction before it happens … it’s kind of that spur-of-the-moment type thing,” he said.

Another time, a local resident had sliced her hand while trying to change the batteries on her television remote control. She needed stitches and decided to go to the pharmacy.

“A remote control. I guess what she did was she’s trying to open it up with a knife, unscrewing this remote, and her hand slipped. So she’s bleeding, dripping blood, and she wanted me to stitch it up. I used Steri Strips and called the ambulance, it’s about being that first line of contact for patients when they have that medical need,” Buerfeind said.

“I’ve had people have heart attacks here, we’ve administered aspirin and nitroglycerin while the ambulance arrives. Fainting seizures, we’ve had a few of them. This is all in the last few years.”

Since moving to the area, Buerfeind spent his time at a busier pharmacy in Vernon before an opportunity to become pharmacy manager at the Armstrong facility opened up. What was surprising for him was that, though he was not permitted to notify his patients where he was moving, many tracked him down and followed him to the new pharmacy.

“I had about 60 patients following me out there,” Buerfeind said. “That was pretty cool. It’s like, if there’s that much interest in what I’m doing, I must be doing something right.”

- with files from the BC Pharmacy Association

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