Tim Warpula

Going Above and Beyond in Pharmacy

Whether distributing medication, providing consultation with a physician or collaborating to support the antibiotic stewardship program, pharmacy staff at Midland Health work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the needs of their patients.

“We want to do everything we can through the tool of medication and clinical assistance to other teams to help patients recover and return home as soon as possible,” says Tim Warpula, RPh, director of pharmacy at Midland Health.

He shares the recent story of an inpatient needing a rare medication on a Friday evening that was not in stock. Several of his team members stopped what they were doing and worked to contact pharmaceutical buyers throughout Texas to locate the medication. Finding the medication in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, several team members took the initiative to arrange transport and secure the medication for the patient as quickly as possible.

“One of our mantras here at Midland Health is ‘proceed until apprehended’— this is something we take pride in and having our team manage the successful delivery of this medication to the patient’s care team is a perfect example,” Warpula explains. “My team took the initiative to secure this medication and briefed me on their success Monday morning after it was taken care of—it’s a real joy for me as a leader to see my staff confident in taking on new challenges and continuing to grow.”

Communication At A Higher Level

Team communication is critical to successful patient care within Warpula’s department and he fosters this communication through daily interactions, such as daily huddles to connect on issues and work for the day, as well as monthly unit-based council meetings to check-in with each other on how processes are working or need to change.

Key communication touch-points through the day among Warpula’s staff include:

  • a daily leadership huddle Warpula attends to get updates on system-wide concerns that impact his department,
  • an early morning and a late day huddle at shift change to support clear transition communication between shifts, and
  • a commitment during all huddles to practice the Pickle Pledge against toxic emotional negativity and the daily Self-Empowerment Pledges, such as resilience, as part of Midland Health’s Culture of Ownership
“Our daily pledges give us a chance to discuss the relevance of these words and actions within our pharmacy world,” Warpula notes.

Hands-on Leadership

Working as director of pharmacy at Midland Health for just over a year, and continuing to build his 18-year career with Midland Health, Warpula considers himself a very new student of leadership—a practice he works on diligently through supporting teamwork and autonomy. “I trust in my team to take care of their tasks and they trust me to take care of mine,” he says.

While encouraging this team to be independent, he also works to ensure all team members work closely together to support each other and share ideas, which he listens to. “I always encourage constructive suggestions from the team because these are most often the ideas we refine and implement together.”

Empowered Practice Through Technology, Innovation

Technology plays an essential role in medication distribution at Midland Health and Warpula and his team members are always looking for new ways to collaborate with their health information technology and clinician colleagues at Midland Health to leverage technology in various ways to improve pharmaceutical patient care. For example, his team members use:

  • electronic health record tools to look-up medication in real-time to streamline the medication distribution and administration process,    
  • automated dispensing cabinets on each nursing unit that work with the electronic health record and other health system software to support safe and efficient medication distribution,
  • two carousels that support efficient pharmaceutical inventory management,
  • barcode technology to enhance safe tracking of medications, and
  • a compounder for intravenous total parenteral nutrition that ensures precise calculations.
"I see every situation as a learning experience, no matter how long you have been with the organization,” Warpula stresses. “I emphasize an open learning environment among my staff where my team members are inspired to encourage each other and expect the highest level of accountability to get the job done—no one can do it alone, it’s our team that makes us such a valuable asset to our caring and cutting-edge patient care.”