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Hospital work experience: neonatal ward part 3 and paediatrics

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The pharmacist had to deal with the issue of a baby withsuspected meningitis who was due to start a medicine which is only allowed tobe administered from 41 weeks. The medical notes stated that the baby was termwhich is anything from 38 weeks. It was therefore important for the pharmacistto check how old the baby actually was in weeks to determine whether it couldbe given the medication. The pharmacist informed the doctors of this and theytold her they didn’t know what they would do without pharmacists!

The pharmacist showed me a drug chart and explained that thestrength of a medicine rarely alters during a patient’s stay. It is thefrequency that the medication is given that changes. A common medication givento babies is a synthetic surfactant to help the lungs inflate as a lack ofsurfactant is often a problem for premature babies.

Whilst on the ward I saw that there were special rooms formothers and babies to live in for a few days prior to discharge which givesparents time to get used to looking after a baby as it will often have been inhospital since birth. I then spent time on the paediatric ward where there aremany facilities such as playrooms to help calm children before procedures ifthey are nervous and a teaching room if the children are on the ward for a longtime. The pharmacist said a particular issue with paediatric medicine is theformulation, for example, some drugs are not soluble in water, only in alcoholwhich is obviously a problem for children. The children on the ward can eitherbe inpatients or outpatients, for example, if a child requires dailychemotherapy he or she would not need to stay in hospital as an inpatient butcould simply come in once a day for treatment which  is often best for bothparties. The paediatric ward can refer patients to larger centres which asGreat Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. When I was on the ward a patient wasbeing sent there due to unexplained hypertension. 

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