Exactly Where I Needed Them: A Patient Journey

A representative story of how health system pharmacists provided care during a pandemic.

By: McKesson Health Systems Editorial Team

Read time: 3 minutes

How Pharmacists Navigated Patient Care and Treatment During a Global Pandemic.

Even after the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients still found themselves overwhelmed with fear and confusion, compounded by changing guidelines, testing shortages, and hard-to-find therapies. Yet, some of these patients were able to navigate their life-saving journeys due to the dedication of pharmacists.

Imagine what it would have been like for a patient like Renee. Her story is representative of the journey many patients and pharmacists may have experienced during the pandemic.1


The snow outside hadn’t quite melted when 54-year-old Renee first woke up with a sore throat. Her children were asleep in their bedrooms, but Renee’s dread started to build as her dry cough ached painfully in her chest. She also had a headache and fatigue so overwhelming, all she wanted was to crawl back into bed. She grabbed the thermometer to take her temperature. Sure enough, she had a fever.

Renee knew she had to get tested for COVID-19. She had a chronic, pre-existing condition, which raised her risk of dangerous complications. Renee had also recently lost a loved one to the pandemic, leaving her scared and uncertain.

After securing childcare, Renee left the house—afraid to even hug her children goodbye. She wore two masks as her mother drove her to the closest testing site in the parking lot of her local hospital. Renee was tested in the passenger seat of her mother’s car. She returned home, and two days later, she got the call that she tested positive for COVID-19.

A week passed, but Renee’s symptoms didn’t improve. She scheduled a tele-health visit. During a follow-up call, the pharmacist learned that Renee was a high-risk COVID positive patient and that she had been prescribed an oral antiviral medication. However, at that point, Renee had already been symptomatic for 7 days and had not yet started her medication. Renee also relayed that in the past, she had a number of drug interactions that could prove dangerous.

The pharmacist reviewed which medications to hold, but in the meantime, addressed her concern to the ID team about the efficacy of the antiviral since Renee was outside of the 5-day time frame for treatment.

After review, Renee was deemed a better candidate for monoclonal antibody therapy. The pharmacist counseled Renee on the treatment, spoke with the ordering provider, and Renee was able to receive treatment the following morning.

It was then that Renee finally began her recovery from COVID-19.

Renee’s story is a reminder of how pharmacists in the health systems provided life-saving guidance during the pandemic. But that was only part of their heroic efforts. Throughout COVID-19, pharmacists put themselves on the front line, managing testing clinics, vaccine distribution, and treatment procurement and monitoring. They were instrumental in guiding patients through breakthrough treatments and therapies.

In fact, for many patients, a pharmacist is the first point-of-contact for care. They are instrumental in managing drug interactions and monitoring those with chronic disease, especially rapidly changing treatment options to treat COVID-19.

As the world moves forward, health system pharmacists are working around the clock to deliver the expertise and guidance that patients can depend on. Because when challenges arise, pharmacists will be there—exactly where you need them.

Watch the video to see how health system pharmacists are leaders in healthcare.

Learn how McKesson helps pharmacists achieve more.

1 https://www.ashp.org/covid-19/stories?loginreturnUrl=SSOCheckOnly