Hurlburt’s pharmacy takes no breaks for National Pharmacist Day

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, searches a computer for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescribed medications and helping patients understand proper usage and side effects. The nation annually observes Jan. 12 as National Pharmacist Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, searches a computer for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescribed medications and helping patients understand proper usage and side effects. The nation annually observes Jan. 12 as National Pharmacist Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, verifies a medication for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS typically fills more than 900 prescriptions a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, verifies a medication for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS typically fills more than 900 prescriptions a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Medication for a prescription is separated and counted at the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron pharmacy on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS typically fills more than 900 prescriptions a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Medication for a prescription is separated and counted at the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron pharmacy on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS typically fills more than 900 prescriptions a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

A quantity check binder lays inside the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron pharmacy on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS pharmacy counts any narcotic prescription at least two times by two different staff members to ensure the correct quantity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

A quantity check binder lays inside the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron pharmacy on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. The 1st SOMDSS pharmacy counts any narcotic prescription at least two times by two different staff members to ensure the correct quantity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, mixes water with powdered amoxicillin for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that is used to treat different types of bacterial infections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Capt. Kristofer Yaple, chief of pharmacy services for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, mixes water with powdered amoxicillin for a prescription at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that is used to treat different types of bacterial infections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- When an Air Commando, dependent or retiree gets sick here, a pharmacy team of 13 begin gathering the needed medications to aid in that patient’s recovery. Leading Hurlburt’s crew are four pharmacists.

The nation observes National Pharmacist Day annually on Jan. 12, honoring the personnel who provide relief in medicinal to pained or sick customers.

“Pharmacy is an integral component in delivering health care that works hand-in-hand with providers and nurses,” said Karl Ott, a staff pharmacist with the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron. “Our primary job that we provide to all our patients has multiple elements.”

Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescribed medications and helping patients understand their proper usage and potential side effects.

“My job is managing the day-to-day operations of the pharmacy,” said Capt. Kristofer Yaple, the chief of pharmacy services for the 1st SOMDSS. “Whether that’s dispensing medications out to the patients, working the back of the pharmacy or making sure we have ample medications to dispense out.”

The 1st SOMDSS pharmacy team typically fills more than 900 prescriptions a day for active duty personnel, dependents and retirees. These medications range from ibuprofen, used for aches and pains, to Ambien, a sedative prescribed for sleep problems such as insomnia.

“Active duty Airmen are given priority in terms of expediting their prescriptions to minimize the time away from their duty section,” Ott said. “We also make sure deploying Airmen have the medications they need to maintain their health down range.”

When an Air Commando deploys, they often leave a family at home. The pharmacy team continues to care for their loved ones during deployment.

“One of the biggest ways we help with resiliency is we take care of the families of Airmen,” Yaple said. “Our job on the pharmacy side is to make sure Airmen don’t have to worry about their family members being sick during deployment.”

The pharmacy is typically open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

“When a patient arrives at our clinic I have no idea what struggles they are facing,” Ott said. “If I can give them professional service and make sure the pharmacy is one less thing for them to worry about, then I feel I have done my job and given my employer an honest day’s work.”