Steven Burghart, DPh, MBA, BCPP

Psychiatric pharmacists and members of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) recognize the importance of consumer education and advocacy. CPNP has a long-standing and close working relationship with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).1 Members make presentations at local support groups and state and national conventions. CPNP members also participate in NAMI education programs such as Family to Family and Crisis Intervention Team training.

To date, CPNP has authored forty one medication education sheets and eighteen “Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist” columns that are available on the NAMI website. NAMI reports that the medication fact sheets are among the most visited on their site, with close to 187,000 unique visitors and over 196,100 page views in 2010*. Topics presented in “Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist” columns include, for example, “Long Term Effects of Taking Medications for Mental Illness” and “Why do Psychiatric Medications Cost so Much?”

CPNP competes with other education providers to present live workshops at the NAMI annual convention. Recent topics include, “Suicidality and Medications” and “Side Effects of Mood Stabilizers.” In addition, we staff a “Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist” booth at the convention and respond to hundreds of inquiries each year. Annually, CPNP raises thousands of dollars in support of NAMI programs through its “CPNP Walks for NAMI” fundraiser that is held at the CPNP Annual Meeting each spring.2 

The CPNP manifesto states, “CPNP is committed to continually providing patients and families with education about their diseases and treatment.” As an organization CPNP intends to maintain and expand its strong relationship with NAMI while also reaching out to additional consumer organizations where we can continue to education consumer and caregivers and encourage them to seek the services of a psychiatric pharmacist within their treatment team. As the manifesto recommends, all of us as CPNP members should do the same—expand our outreach with consumers. Leading by example, we can display our commitment to patient care and our dedication to mental healthcare.

1. accessed 10/10/11
Harmon, Chuck, CPNP Town Hall presentation, May 4, 2011

David G. Fuentes, PharmD, BCPP,CGP

Michael R. Brodeur, PharmD, CGP, FASCP

The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) manifesto summarizes our role as psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists which will require that we (1) understand how we can serve our patients with very specific needs and challenges, (2) recognize ways in which our efforts can complement those of our colleagues in other professions, and (3) create a culture in which we can demonstrate, to patients and providers alike, how our unique perspective can add richness to the provision of health care.

To this end, psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists need to possess the ability to see the broader perspective consistent with the vision we have of providing optimal patient care, while concurrently being conscientious of the ongoing need to show that our daily services do render positive outcomes within health care institutions and communities. We need to lead these efforts, not through our specialized knowledge alone, but through applications of leadership and empathy to all those with which we come into contact including our patients, our inter-professional colleagues, and members of the general community wanting to learn more about our abilities.

As psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists, the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties certifies us as having mastered, practiced, and excelled in the provision of care related to the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Our years of training have allowed us to serve health care in the following venues:

  1. Tailoring treatment regimens for patients with special needs (e.g. pediatric, geriatric), and circumstances (e.g., renal and/or hepatic failure), by altering doses to improve safety and preserve efficacy.

  2. Providing disease state management information to our patients and health care providers through the use of credible databases and resources.

  3. Collaborating with patients, families, and other health care providers to ensure coordination of care across institutions and communities.

  4. Identifying areas of need in which our specialized knowledge can be of service to our patients and communities and using our findings to conceive and establish medication safety programs including: therapeutic drug monitoring, medication reconciliation, comprehensive medication regimen reviews, and patient education sessions as part of institutional and organizational outreach programs.

  5. Integrating our specialized areas of interest with the holistic approach to disease state management that addresses and understands our patients' medical needs in addition to their psychiatric needs.

Specific venues in which our skills have been demonstrated include:

  1. Inter-professional / Interdisciplinary teams

  2. Intermediate care and long-term care consulting

  3. Community-based and Institution-based comprehensive medication regimen reviews (i.e., medication therapy management)

  4. Disease-specific family practice clinics

  5. Research collaborations with other health care providers and scientists

As psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists, we seek to understand others, connect with those we serve and those with whom we share the roles and responsibilities as health care providers. We accept our evolving role readily and with no hesitation. As we look to expand the breadth of our impact on health care we seek to work with our sister organizations within pharmacy and other healthcare professions to educate patients, providers, and the public at large, about how we can be of service. Examples of our partnerships with sister organizations can be seen through our pharmacist colleagues' joint membership and voice in such organizations as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), among many others. Outside the realm of pharmacy, we currently partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where we provide the pharmacist's perspective on the medication information tools available for patients and providers with a great emphasis on medication safety, presenting the most crucial information necessary to enhance patient care. In addition, our members have professional ties to other groups, including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Academy of Medicine and Psychiatry (AMP), to name only a couple, in which we seek to achieve greater impact on positive outcomes through education, practice and caring. We model our efforts after those who have pioneered a greater vision for their profession and we continue this journey with a great future in mind for healthcare.