Matt Budi ’15 and Erin Budi ’15 met in the Butler University Pharmacy program, worked hard through rigorous classes, and fell in love. They graduated together and later married after establishing themselves as well-trained pharmacists in Indianapolis.
Today, they are among the thousands of healthcare professionals serving Central Indiana during a global pandemic.
While the Budis work at different pharmacies, their experiences are similar. Both have seen their over-the-counter medication shelves wiped clean. They’ve had to ramp up efforts to ensure their customers and staff members stay safe—cleaning every hour, maintaining six feet of distance from one another, and frequently washing hands. Counters, labs, and offices are thoroughly disinfected, and staff members working registers must wash their hands after taking money or health insurance cards from customers.
The precautionary measures have been in place since early- to mid-March, when President Donald Trump enacted travel bans and when Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb first announced the shelter-in-place order.
“We’ve learned a lot since we graduated, but this has been a different experience the last couple months,” says Matt Budi, Manager at a Kroger pharmacy. “That first week, especially, was one of the busiest weeks that I and my wife had ever worked in pharmacy. There was a very high increase in demand. Since then, it has kind of leveled off, but we’re still at a high volume.”
Matt Budi keeps his team up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information. And with healthcare facilities loaded with patients suffering from the coronavirus, he welcomes questions from customers over the phone.
A Staff Pharmacist at a Walgreens, Erin Budi recommends customers—especially elderly patients—use the pharmacy’s drive-through, if possible. She says she’s used to busy shifts, but the nature of the virus has added some stress to the job.
“Not knowing what you may have been exposed to throughout the day and being in contact with many, many people at the pharmacy counter, we have to take extra precautions,” Erin Budi says. “When we come home, we wash our hands, sanitize the door, and wash our work clothes. Although we’re not actively taking care of sick people, customers may be carrying the coronavirus and not knowing it.”
Matt Budi’s pharmacy has a walk-up window, and Kroger has worked with FedEx to offer free prescription deliveries. During the pandemic, shipments have increased, and customers now receive free shipping.
Matt Budi recommends that anyone needing regular prescriptions take advantage of 90-day doses. Not only will it eliminate trips to the pharmacy, the option is less expensive in the long run through insurance plans and discount cards.
“We’re trying to limit customers’ exposure and save them money, especially with some people now out of work,” he says. “It’s like buying in bulk, as opposed to three 30-day fills, and it gives our staff more time to focus on clinically-oriented tasks.”
While a COVID-19 vaccine is still being developed, Matt Budi’s customers still require vaccines for hepatitis, whooping cough, pneumonia, shingles, and other common diseases. When administering the shots, staff must wear medical masks, as do the customers. He says while the coronavirus is rightfully dominating headlines, his customers still need care for their other maladies. He and his staff are making more calls to customers to check in on their health, especially with immunocompromised patients.
“Other conditions don’t go away,” Matt Budi says. “We’re trying to move away from just the dispensing role, instead moving more toward being clinical activists for our patients, looking out for their therapy management.”
Both Matt and Erin have utilized their Butler Pharmacy training in professional practice, from compounding medications and dosage forms to accurately taking blood pressure and applying methods to put patients at ease. Their overall experience at the University has especially come in handy this past month.
“We were taught to critically think and apply the knowledge outside of just what we learned in class, which has definitely been helpful,” Matt Budi says. “That’s just the culture at Butler: hard work, determination, and taking care of other people.”
Photo courtesy of Matt Budi
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