WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo --
Trips to the pharmacy usually coincide with sickness or injury, and often times, don't conjure warm feelings for those seeking medication. But on the other side of the window, things are different.
"People think we just count pills and hand them out, but we do so much more," said Capt. Audrey Ameigh, 509th Medical Group officer-in-charge of pharmacy operations.
"We counsel patients, and make sure they know how to properly use their medications. We don't just hand them drugs and send them out the door."
Helping people heal is what Captain Ameigh adores about her job.
"The most rewarding aspect of the job, for me, is the interaction with the patients," said Captain Ameigh. "We are here to keep our Airmen and their families healthy, so they can focus on their mission."
Master Sgt. Knicole Akins, 509th MDG NCO in charge of pharmacy services, who earned distinction as ACC Pharmacy NCO of the Year in 2009, enjoys the positive effects her job has on her customers.
"I enjoy helping the patients," Sergeant Akins said. "The medications we give them can be life saving, or improve their quality of life."
Customers at the Whiteman Pharmacy include more than active duty military. In fact, the majority of customers aren't in uniform at all.
"Our active duty Airmen aren't on a lot of medications," said Captain Ameigh. "We see mostly retirees and dependants. We have patients that drive 200 miles: they make a whole day of it."
The pharmacy staff offers the following tips for their customers who want to have a streamlined visit:
1. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the pharmacy is closed on weekends.
2. When seeing a doctor off-base,take along the pharmacy's formulary (a list of medications on hand at Whiteman) so the doctor can choose a medicine readily available on base. The formulary is available at www.whiteman.af.mil
, under "other links."
3. Calling in refills helps both the customer and the pharmacy, by eliminating wait times and line congestion.
4. Tuesdays are the pharmacy's busiest days, as many retirees come to the base for meds as well as a trip to the commissary.
While the circumstances that lead to a trip to the pharmacy may not be the best, customers can rest assured that the technicians at Whiteman are dedicated to excellence.
"We are often the last ones to close here at the medical group," said Staff Sgt. Mendez, 509th MDG pharmacy craftsman. "We do the best we can with what we have, day in and day out."