Pharmacist Michelle Britton: ‘The link that makes things move faster’
Longtime community member and veteran Pharmacist Michelle Britton embraces her role as a patient advocate.
Whether it’s educating patients about their medications or how to navigate the health care system, Britton’s focus is on her patients.
“I’m absolutely their advocate, and they can rely on me to get them the best treatment they can,” says Britton, who joined as an on-site Staff Pharmacist at Western Sierra Medical Clinic in fall 2019. “I know what the pharmacy needs, and I know what the clinic needs. I am kind of the link that makes things move faster, and that’s very helpful.”
Indeed, an on-site pharmacy – literally just a few steps from primary-care providers and specialists at the clinic in Grass Valley – is a game-changer for health care and patients.
“Getting a hold of doctors immediately helps patients,” says Britton, who can have a face-to-face conversation with a doctor about a patient’s prescription rather than rely on a fax machine. “And I can explain to patients how the clinic and pharmacy work together.”
It’s a relationship that makes health care more accessible – and effective.
As a pharmacist, Britton handles everything from filling and refilling prescriptions to counseling patients on drug interactions and administering vaccines – from COVID to flu immunizations – to patients. Western Sierra is also part of the 340(b) program, which requires drug manufacturers to sell outpatient drugs at a reduced price to eligible health providers and their patients.
She is also an integral part of determining the policy and procedures for the opioid safety committee at Western Sierra, which has one of the few medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs in the region.
Britton chose a career in pharmacy because it allowed her to have a critical role in health care without the often-overwhelming demands and hard-to-predict schedule of a provider. She was most recently with De Martini Springhill Pharmacy before joining Western Sierra.
“Medicine has always interested me,” says Britton, who graduated from the University of Washington Pharmacy School in Seattle in 1991. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.
Britton and her husband, a well-known doctor in the community, moved to Nevada County in 1995. The couple have three adult children, all who live in the Portland, Ore., area.
“We really like it here,” says Britton, who was born and grew up in the Bay Area. “We are very fortunate to have our careers and live here. I love my work.”