Chemotherapy is a familiar process to Brodstone Memorial Hospital’s two pharmacists, Shannon Short and Austin Farnstrom. Short, who has been working at Brodstone since 2012, is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist. He received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas. During his residency he gained experience in chemotherapy and recently took a refresher class in New Jersey for intravenous room compounding.
Farnstrom, who received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from University of Nebraska Medical Center, previously worked at CHI in Kearney and mixed chemotherapy for six years. He has worked in the Pharmacy Department at Brodstone for four years. He and pharmacy tech, Kelsey Carlson, also took a compounding class with over 30 hours of training. Carlson is one of three pharmacy techs at Brodstone and has been part of the staff for two years.
“The best thing about offering chemotherapy at Brodstone is the patient doesn’t have to travel so far”, said Short. “Getting chemo is enough of a burden on patients and their families. It just wipes out a patient.” Short lost a grandparent to prostate cancer who had to travel an hour for his chemotherapy.
Short, Pharmacy Director, said that very specific construction was done in their department to accommodate the mixing of the chemotherapy. All of the upgrades were done to make it safe for the pharmacist and the patient. Specifically, the mixing room has finished walls with no seams and is high efficiency, double filtered, with a biological safety cabinet. The rooms are as clean as surgical rooms; they have a specific temperature, humidity and air pressure.
The pharmacy staff works closely with the oncologist and their staff, double and triple checking the order, dosing and the meds. Mixing one treatment of chemotherapy can take as much as an hour. Once the chemo is mixed, it is handed off to the chemo nurse for patient infusion.
Farnstom also had grandparents that had to travel for chemotherapy. “They traveled an hour to get the treatment, once a week, for a long time.” He went on to say, “I think it is great that the patients can have their labs and scans done here at Brodstone too, saving additional trips for the patient.”
A patient that would like to have their chemotherapy administered at Brodstone Memorial Hospital must start this conversation with the healthcare provider that prescribes the therapy. Once the order is received by the staff at Brodstone, the treatment can then be scheduled. Chemotherapy has been available to patients in the region at Brodstone Memorial Hospital since April, 2020.