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Pharmacist: Patients, coworkers are ‘like family’

Melanie Bishop uses her love for chemistry to serve her community as a pharmacist.

Bishop, a pharmacist for King’s Daughters Medical Center, has worked as a pharmacist for 17 years. She’s spent the majority of that time working at the hospital, but she’s split her time between working there and one of KDMC’s clinics for the past six years.

A 1998 graduate of the University of Mississippi’s pharmacist (Pharm.D.) program, Bishop completed residencies in Tupelo and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

She worked at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for four years where she was on the faculty for the school of pharmacy there.

She doesn’t have anyone in her family that worked as a pharmacist, but her niece Anna Miller is following in her footsteps. She just completed her first year of pharmacy school, and she even job shadowed Bishop in the clinic she works in.

“I’m really honored and excited,” Bishop said.

Bishop was inspired to become a pharmacist by the ones who she saw while growing up in south Mississippi.

“Growing up in the small town of Poplarville, I always admired our pharmacists at Pearl River Drug,” Bishop said.

Lawrence Holden and Robert Applewhite, two pharmacists from her hometown, were part of the influence in her decision.

“I enjoyed going to the drug store with my parents,” Bishop said. “There was a soda fountain there, so that was always enticing.”

She had the opportunity to work there in high school and some in college.

“I just enjoyed interacting with patients, being able to help them in time of need and being a part of their life,” Bishop said.

She wanted a family, and she knew that being a doctor would take time away from that. This is another reason Bishop chose to become a pharmacist.

“To me, because of my love for chemistry, I thought it was a good fit for me,” Bishop said.

Bishop said her high school chemistry teacher Debbie Radden was a positive influence on her life and her love for chemistry.

“I still maintain contact with her to this day,” Bishop said.

Becoming a pharmacist combined her love of chemistry with her love of serving others.

“When you think about pharmacy, it’s the chemistry part of medicine,” Bishop said.

Bishop said her job’s greatest joy is the people she works with.

“I love my job at the hospital,” Bishop said. “I think one of my greatest blessings is my coworkers. Sheila, April and Karen are just a blessing to work with, along with our five full time technicians.”

The team she works with is more like a family than anything else, Bishop said.

“When one hurts, we all hurt,” Bishop said. “When we rejoice, we all rejoice.”

She not only loves her coworkers, but her patients too.

“When I think about my role in the clinic, it’s my relationship with my patients,” Bishop said. “They’re like family to me … It’s knowing you improve someone’s healthcare outcome.”

Bishop also gave credit to the other medical personnel she works alongside with at KDMC.

“It’s also a blessing to be a pharmacist working along such great physicians,” Bishop said. “We do feel like we’re making an impact”

As for her job’s struggles, Bishop talked about how funding plays a big part.

“Managing a pharmacy budget is hard,” Bishop said. “We have to provide the most excellent care possible while trying to maintain cost.”

As for working during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop said that was a challenge.

“Acquiring drugs during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a stressful thing,” Bishop said. “We were concerned that we didn’t have enough of certain drugs, but it all worked out.”

Treating patients with COVID-19 has also been challenging.

“We’re finding out patients with COVID-19 and predicting certain functions is harder,” Bishop said. “We’ve had to watch them much more closely.”

One thing Bishop wants others to know about her job is that pharmacists play an important role in hospitals.

“It’s interesting sometimes that people are surprised that hospitals have pharmacists,” Bishop said. “The biggest role of a pharmacist in a hospital is to act as a check and balance. We work hard to deliver every dose of medication to our patients while they’re in the hospital.”

 

Story by Gracie Byrne