As a class, we were privileged to be able to see a public hospital here in Spain in action. We went as a group of pharmacy students (and me, their adopted nursing student) to particularly focus on how the rooms were set up as well as how their pharmacy worked here.
This particular hospital (Hospital Intermutual de Levante) seemed more geared towards rehabilitation for those who have had occupational accidents or orthopedic related operations.
Each room had two beds with an outside patio that connected to make a walkway on the outside of the building on all the floors (as you can see in the picture above). Upon entering, it seemed just like any other hospital room I had seen in the States. However, although each room had two beds, there was only one patient ever put in each room. The other bed was reserved for family members that would stay with the patient about 24/7. I found this cultural note to be fascinating, and insightful on the importance of family for the average Valencian/Spanish household.
After looking at the rooms, we were guided to the basement where the pharmacy was. We saw their storage area where they kept the medications, as well as the clean room where they prepared them for the hospital. There seemed to be slightly different regulations for their clean room vs. a clean room in the states (lack of an anteroom here, permitted to store cardboard in the room here, etc.) but all in all, it seemed more familiar than foreign.
Afterwards, they described their pharmacy system for within the hospital that we were at. They use a pixis-based system, which is fairly similar to how medications are accessed in hospitals in the US (medical personnel in hospital use a source of identification to receive specific medications for a specific patient based on what has been prescribed for them in an electronic system), with the only observable difference being their operating hours. The pharmacy closes at 8, but all of the pixis deposits (there is one per floor unit) have enough for emergency situations that happen overnight.
This was understandable because, until the past year, there was only one pharmacist who ran the entire pharmacy. It seemed like a pretty ingenious operating system to only need to be run by one head pharmacist. However the pharmacists seemed to have much less clinical responsibility than in the states. We also learned this week that even large hospitals in the city only have 4-5 pharmacists, most pharmacy graduates in Spain go into retail due to lack of jobs in the hospital. The pharmacist at this hospital was actively involved with the Spanish Hospital Pharmacists Association and she was particularly passionate about the pharmacy’s involvement with what they referred to as “sanitary products” which were what we would call sterile products. This particular hospital dispensed items like pacemakers and other sterile products from the pharmacy.
As a whole, I really enjoyed seeing this hospital, partially because I’m the red-headed stepchild of the group, and partially because I just love seeing how medical systems work in different places. I was impressed by their willingness to meet the cultural values of the people they served (family rooms), as well as their diligence to providing “productos sanitarios” in addition to medications to ensure the health of their patients.