News>Dispatch from the Front: Captain leads pharmacy in patient care
Capt. Jennifer Baker, Craig Joint Theater Hospital Pharmacy commander, prepares an intravenous bag. This is something the captain would not do at her home station, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., since the base only has a clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
Capt. Jennifer Baker, Craig Joint Theater Hospital Pharmacy commander, prepares an intravenous bag for a patient using a hood to add to the sterility of it. Captain Baker is currently at the halfway mark of her six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
Capt. Jennifer Baker, Craig Joint Theater Hospital Pharmacy commander, prepares an intravenous bag for a patient. Captain Baker is married and has three children. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
3/25/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The Craig Joint Theater Hospital here with so many flights ranging from the emergency room to the dental clinic has many needs for prescription medicine.
The pharmacy flight dispenses medication for the entire hospital.
The pharmacy flight commander, Capt. Jennifer Baker, stays on top of the supply and ensures accuracy and promptness of the prescriptions.
"We handle about 1,900 patients a month and we also fill prescriptions for the aeromedical evacuation flights and critical care teams," said the captain deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "Twenty-five to fifty percent of our prescriptions are for local Afghanistan nationals."
Additionally, the pharmacy can loan medications to forward operating bases when they need certain prescriptions.
Because Scott has a clinic, working here is very different for Captain Baker.
"There's definitely a huge difference, there are no robotics with less personnel, so human judgment is more apparent," said the Omaha, Neb., native. "Also working here and seeing the wounded warriors hits home and makes the mission more evident."
Something else that is different is that for Captain Baker is responding to trauma.
"It's hard to respond to traumas and see such severe injuries, but it is amazing to see the doctors work and to see the care they are able to provide and use the equipment that they have," she said. "It's heart wrenching and rewarding at the same time."
Another difference, is there are less substances available here than in the U.S.
"The formulary is different, which can be a challenge," said Captain Baker. "Sometimes the physicians ask for a prescription that we do not have, so I have to recommend an alternative prescription to get the same effect."
In addition to her job, Captain Baker teaches Afghan physicians emergency medicines once a month.
"It is part of a mentor-leadership program to help them function independently," she said.
Being her first deployment, Captain Baker has been able to learn a lot.
"It is a great feeling being here, I am learning so much and I am happy to be able to see the bigger picture," she said.
The hardest part about being deployed for Captain Baker is being away from her husband and three children.
"It's hard being away from them, but we are kept so busy that time flies, plus I know this is an extraordinary opportunity that most pharmacist have never had," she said.