Pharmacy volunteer force
By Airman 1st Class Zoe Wockenfuss
/ Published January 28, 2019
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- “Not every base [pharmacy] has this many volunteers that are willing to sacrifice their personal time to serve our beneficiaries,” said Maj. Jin Kim, 436th Medical Group pharmacy flight commander. “Pharmacy volunteers are an integral part of our pharmacy team; they help keep the patient wait time to a minimum, and since most of them are veterans, they are able to interact with our patients on a more personal level.”
Serving over 31,000 Tricare beneficiaries and seeing 168,000 patients per year – with 14,000 patient visits per month – the pharmacy is here to help any eligible Tricare beneficiary within the Delmarva region. To support such an endeavor, the 436th MDG pharmacy utilizes an integrated total force structure, consisting of six active-duty military and 20 civilian volunteers. Team Dover is a Total Force workforce, and the 436th MDG pharmacy is representative of that.
The volunteers who work in the pharmacy take up to 25 percent of the workload, enhancing the readiness of the active-duty personnel. Most of the volunteers are veterans who wanted to give back to the Air Force. Some even have extensive experience working in the medical field, to include service in a medical capacity while in uniform.
In order for the volunteers to work in the pharmacy, they must undergo a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and pharmacy orientation training before starting their first day on the job. Some of the volunteer duties include dispensing medication and manning the pick-up windows, mentioned Kim. Some volunteers have been working at the pharmacy for over seven years. A lot of the volunteers have been working at the pharmacy even longer than the active-duty personnel, according to Edward O’Dell, pharmacy volunteer.
“The thing that makes [volunteering at the pharmacy] most worthwhile for me is, when I know that the patient is satisfied with the service they received, and they thank us for volunteering to help them,” said O’Dell. “I think that’s a really great thing; it makes you feel really good at the end of the day.”