Meet Paige Blatchford: An Infectious Disease Expert Who Counsels Patients and Providers

Author: Amber Pharmacy Paige B. Infectious Disease Pharmacist

Paige Blatchford is a Clinical Pharmacist with the Infectious Disease Center of Excellence (COE) at Amber Pharmacy. She is an expert in infectious diseases and the specialty medications that treat them. It’s her job to provide reliable, informed counseling for the patients and providers who manage these conditions.

Specialty Medication Counseling for Patients

Every day, Paige counsels people on their medications. Whether it’s a new patient or someone who has worked with Amber Pharmacy for years, this is an important part of Paige’s job as a clinical pharmacist. Paige discusses specialty medications in their entirety, including side effects, potential interactions, storage and dosage. In addition to counseling on specialty medications, Paige will review a patient’s entire medication profile.

For Paige, one of the best parts of her job is working with the Infectious Disease COE and helping Hepatitis C patients. “Working with Hepatitis C patients is very rewarding,” said Paige. “Each day I work with new patients, consult clinical guidelines and have the opportunity to provide counsel on a lifesaving medication that offers a cure to their condition.”

The Infectious Disease Center of Excellence

As the Infectious Disease COE Pharmacist, Paige works with a delicate patient population. Clinical experience in specialty pharmacy and a keen attention detail allow Paige to help people manage complex conditions. Paige works with several conditions ranging from adults receiving treatment for Hepatitis C to premature babies battling respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). She often handles high-risk situations, tight deadlines and an involved benefits investigation process.

“The Infectious Disease COE is there with both the patient and provider every step of the way,” said Paige. “We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to ensure the best possible outcomes. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing a patient celebrate a cure.”

Specialty Medication Counseling for Providers

Clinical expertise is not only important for Amber Pharmacy patients, but it’s also crucial for healthcare providers. Paige and the infectious disease teamwork with providers and clinical staff to make sure patients receive the best possible therapy. Paige reviews all a patient’s medications to ensure accuracy and appropriateness. She also looks for potential medication interactions. Her years of expertise and familiarity with chronic, complex conditions allow Paige to provide valuable suggestions for providers, which ultimately benefits patients.

“We work hard to be the experts in our field, not only to serve our patients but to serve as a reference for the health care providers we work with,” said Paige. “The medication is often so new that we are the primary point of contact. Providers rely on us to assist in choosing the correct therapy for a patient.”

Building a Career in Specialty Pharmacy

Before becoming a pharmacist, Paige attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science. Her degree in nutrition has proven to be valuable experience as Paige counsels people managing chronic, complex conditions. “I use my nutrition degree whenever possible to provide insight on dietary changes for conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis,” said Paige. “It’s also useful when I work with oncology regarding nausea or preventing weight loss.”

As an undergrad student, Paige worked as a pharmacy technician. During this time, she realized that she wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy. Paige remembers, “I fell in love with my job as a pharmacy technician, and I knew I wanted to be a pharmacist. I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship as a sophomore for early acceptance to UNMC.”

After being awarded this prestigious scholarship, Paige finished her undergraduate degree and earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Continuing Education in Specialty Pharmacy

Now a clinical pharmacist at Amber Pharmacy, continuing education is one of Paige’s favorite parts of the job.

“I love that I am constantly learning! As a pharmacist with Amber Pharmacy, I have the opportunity to receive exposure to brand new medications as they are released,” said Paige. “Specialty medicine means working with a medication that may be the first of its kind. Patients are often eager to start therapy, and I enjoy counseling on medications that could potentially change their life.”

Continuing education is an expectation for pharmacists at Amber Pharmacy. It’s important for the pharmacists in the Infectious Disease Center of Excellence and others to have a thorough understanding of the conditions they help manage and the medications they dispense. Everyone on the Amber Pharmacy team truly is an expert and takes initiative to keep developing as a specialty pharmacy professional.

Amber Pharmacy Support Services

In addition to offering specialty medication expertise, Amber Pharmacy supports our patients’ overall health and well-being. Many people who work with Amber Pharmacy are navigating livelong conditions. Amber Pharmacy not only provides education from a pharmacist’s standpoint, but also offers a registered-licensed dietitian, a certified case manager and a registered nurse. These services help immensely when someone is managing a chronic, complex condition.

One of the ways Amber Pharmacy provides exceptional customer service is through clinical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of the most rewarding moments of Paige’s career happened when she was on-call. A patient called after shattering a medication vial. The patient was worried because they needed their next dose of medicine first-thing in the morning. Paige was able to resolve the issue, much to the patient’s relief. The patient expressed immense gratitude in a personal message, calling Paige a “lifesaver.”

Outside of the Office

One of Paige’s favorite memories outside of the office is her trip to South Africa. Five years ago, Paige and her husband volunteered at an orphanage in South Africa where they primarily helped children diagnosed with HIV/AIDs. Traveling is one of Paige’s favorite pastimes, in addition to photography and finding new restaurants. “I’m always searching for my next place to eat,” said Paige. “I am a self-described connoisseur of all things pizza, donuts and ice cream.”

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