BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- For his behind-the-scene daily contributions, steady influence and hard work, Naval Hospital Bremerton's (NHB) Lt. Sean R. Szad was recently recognized as the 2017 Navy Junior Pharmacist of the Year.
"His specific accomplishments and contributions to NHB and Navy Pharmacy in Fiscal Year 2017 are significant. His outstanding motivation and commitment to excel are most deserving," said Lt. Cmdr. Dean Kang, NHB Pharmacy Department head.
Szad was acknowledged from a field of 65 nominees for the annual Navy Pharmacy Member/Team of the Year Awards and was presented with the citation during a command awards ceremony on Nov. 3, 2017, from Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, NHB Commanding Officer.
"It was an honor to be nominated and a very nice compliment from immediate leadership. I know there are a lot of hard chargers in Navy pharmacy. I feel very lucky to have been selected amongst what must have been a very competitive group," said Szad, a Richmond Hill, Ga. native and University of Georgia 2015 graduate.
According to Kang, Szad has excelled as the Outpatient Pharmacy division officer. He led a team of 41 civilian, military and contractor staff members in the accurate dispensing of over 420,000 prescriptions to approximately 108,000 beneficiaries on an annual basis.
"His greatest attribute has been his compassion and care for patients and his ability to communicate with the patients and the hospital staff to ensure that patient safety and customer service are at the top priority for the pharmacy," explained Kang.
Szad was quick to note that being recognized by this award is more a reflection of the entire NHB Pharmacy staff than himself.
"I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with the team here, both within the pharmacy and beyond. I could name everyone in the command here as compelling support cast and still forget someone who has played a big role along the way. By name though, I have to specifically thank Cmdr. Eric Parsons and Lt. Cmdr. Dean Kang for the guidance they have given as department heads in my time here," said Szad, who has been in the Navy four years and assigned to NHB for approximately half that time.
Szad's specific duties read like a 'who's who' of Navy pharmacist responsibilities handling a host of duties such as inpatient and outpatient pharmacist needs, providing Coumadin Clinic support and managing various official pharmacological requirements.
As part of the Navy Pharmacy Patient Experience working group, Szad became a prime contributor in developing a method for tracking customer experience data that minimized labor-intensive processes. He also provided significant input to the new standardized Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) questionnaire system, a web-based program that allows NHB Pharmacy customers to provide feedback. The questionnaire has now been implemented to all Navy Medicine pharmacies.
Kang attests that Szad's primary achievements have been directly related to enhancing services to beneficiaries such as being a member of the Pharmacy Management Analytics Program. The program is charged with researching ways to improve pharmacy layout, design and workflow through all stages of prescription processing, all with the twin goals of improving patient satisfaction and staff production.
"His efforts have increased the ability for pharmacy to serve patients and improve customer service while decreasing negative perception. He demonstrated unswerving dedication to patient care with maintaining his full time staffing duties in his division. He also dedicated five days per month to provide medication therapy management to over 300 enrollees in NHB's anticoagulation clinic. He's a skilled manager. He has developed an uncanny ability to prioritize and superiorly perform his duties,"," noted Kang.
Szad was also one of four junior officers - and the only selectee in his initial tour of duty - competitively selected to serve on the Navy Pharmacy Advisory Board. He led a team to review and revise Navy Pharmacy Standard Operating Procedure to standardize the implementation and maintenance of Medication Drug take-back procedures across Navy military treatment facilities.
Szad also assisted NHB's Occupational Health department by helping revise training and qualifications on the proper handling, administration and disposal of hazardous medications. As NHB's Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) officer, he has led the effort in reutilizing available warehouse space to secure needed medications that need stable temperature and monitoring. He has worked directly with Navy Medicine West emergency preparedness coordinators to meet emergency-preparedness requirements for Convulsive Antidote, Nerve Agent (CANA) auto-injectors and update the SLEP inventory to save $1.65 million per year.
When asked to sum up his duty at NHB in one sentence, Szad replied, "I would summarize with, 'smooth seas make a poor sailor.' I greatly value the opportunities I have had to grow here."
It's that growth which is directly related to being selected as the Navy Junior Pharmacist of the Year.
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For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhb/.