Automated dispensing cabinets are an essential part of patient care in a modern hospital.
The cabinets, which hold oral tablets, capsules, suspensions, syringes and other equipment, can improve medication availability and inventory accountability, streamline billing processes and, ultimately, lead to increased nursing and patient satisfaction.
UAB has 150 cabinets spread out across its medical infrastructure. The units, known as the Pyxis Automation System in UAB Hospital, dispense some 90 to 95 percent of all medications administered in the hospital. Someone has to be responsible for these units, and that’s where Cammie Burgess steps in.
Burgess, a senior pharmacist, monitors UAB’s Pyxis system and is responsible for adjusting medication levels and working with pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in the central pharmacy to ensure that refills are processed and the machines are properly loaded.
Co-workers say Burgess is thorough, responsible and consistently displays the hospital’s core values in all she does, making her a worthy recipient of August’s Employee of the Month award.
“Cammie displays a high degree of integrity, responsibility and accountability,” says Brandi Duke, nurse manager in the Continuing Care Nursery. “You can count on her to follow up and follow through, which makes her an invaluable resource to the hospital.”
Burgess, who celebrated her fifth anniversary at UAB Sept. 4, says the Pyxis system is an integral part of patient care.
“The goal is to get the correct medication out to the patients, and these automated machines help us to do that,” Burgess says. There are several requirements that must be met with the medications in the machines, she explains. For example, look-alike and sound-alike medications are separated, high-risk medications have limited access and controlled substances are placed in secure pockets.
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The machines “provide a safer mechanism to get the medications to the patients,” Burgess says. “They are also a great way to make sure the medications that the patients need are available to the nurses.”
Co-workers say Burgess was instrumental in leading two major endeavors — the planning and move-in phase of the Women and Infants Center and the merging of UAB Highlands Hospital’s Pyxis system with the main hospital system when it became a part of UAB in fall 2010.
Brandi Duke worked closely with Burgess to bring the Pyxis systems online at the Women and Infants Center. She says Burgess was extremely thorough and thoughtful toward the needs of patients and nursing staff.
“Cammie was always very helpful and team oriented in her interactions with us and other members of the move team,” Duke says. “She was careful not to leave anyone out of the important planning details, which was a key factor in some of the difficult planning that was done to make this move.”
Kevin Langston, pharmacy manager at UAB Highlands, says the merger of that facility’s system with UAB’s was done over the course of a weekend. The machines had to be rebuilt to follow the hospital’s policies and procedures.
“Cammie carefully planned the sequence of events needed to make that happen, and she worked all weekend to get it right,” Langston says. “She is always pleasant to work with and never lets frustration at the size of the task change her demeanor. She always puts in whatever work is needed for things to be done the right way. Cammie demonstrates our core values each day she works.”
Burgess is appreciative of her co-workers’ kind words, but she is quick to say that every member of the pharmacy team plays a vital role in the department’s success.
“We have a fantastic team,” Burgess says. “We have more than 40 technicians and 20 pharmacists here in central pharmacy, and everybody’s role is extremely important. I’m fortunate to work with people who are very good at what they do. And they’re also just incredible people. This department, including our decentral and ambulatory sides, is fantastic — all the way to our upper administration. It’s obvious they care greatly about the staff, and that means so much to each of us.”