Pharmacists are everywhere and the opportunity for job growth in this area is tremendous. There are many Locum Tenens Jobs and Travel Assignments available all over the country for Pharmacists. Major department chain store, hospitals, and smaller local grocery stores employ Pharmacists. The Pharmacists if a licensed medical professional who is responsible for compounding and dispensing medications to patients per physician’s prescriptions. The scope of the pharmacy practice has evolved rapidly in recent years and can now involve other roles such as providing information on drugs, safety and efficacy, review of medications for possible interactions and clinical services. The Pharmacist is regarded as the expert on medications and their usage. Most pharmaceutical jobs are available in two categories, the hospital pharmacist and the community/retail pharmacist.
The main difference between community and hospital pharmacists is that the community pharmacist is more involved in the business side of the pharmacy whereas the hospital pharmacist is usually more highly trained in the clinical drug management.
The Hospital Pharmacist would be in charge of any and all medications dispensed in the hospital. They are the expert in the safety and use of medications. The Pharmacist works alongside nurses, physicians and other health professionals. Advising physicians in determining the best possible treatment for specific diseases is part of the job as well as making sure the patient understands the medication and any side effects and/or drug interactions. Pharmacist in a hospital setting may go on rounds with physicians which allowed them to have direct interactions with the patients. During the rounds the pharmacist may educate patients on their medication use, side effects and restrictions necessary in their diet and over-the-counter medications.
The Retail or Community Pharmacist essentially does the same thing and has the same qualifications as the hospital pharmacist. The receive the prescription from the patient or physician and follow proper procedures in checking for the appropriateness of the medication according to the patient’s medical history. A Pharmacy Tech may assist the pharmacist in preparing the correct amount of the prescribed medication. A final check of the medication is done by the Pharmacist once more prior to the medication being given to the patient. One of the most important aspects of the community pharmacist is to accurately maintain patient’s confidential records. Customer relations are very important as a community pharmacist. Every patient is a customer and every customer a source of revenue for the pharmacy. Processing invoices, maintaining balance sheets, dealing with unhappy customers, and directly contacting insurance companies are some of the duties of the Pharmacist as well. Qualities necessary for this job would include courtesy, compassion, and excellent interpersonal skills.
Job Responsibilities of the Pharmacist may include:
- Accepting and dispensing prescription medications
- Providing advice on selection of over-the-counter medications for customers to treat common illnesses such as cold sores, headache and flu.
- Provide consultation on non-prescription and prescription medications for dosage, storage, side effects and drug interactions
- Educate the patient on proper handling of medical devices such as glucose meters and blood pressure monitors.
- Compound medications for internal or external use
- Monitor patient medication compliance and usage patterns
- Prepare sterile solutions following proper procedures
- Supervise other pharmacy staff members including Pharmacy Techs, clerks, etc.
- Maintain accurate inventories on all medical and pharmaceutical supplies
- Properly manage pharmacy files and patient records
- Identify patient’s medication related problems and communicate effectively with physicians and other healthcare providers
- Provide specialized health promotions and educational programs to help patients manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension
To become a pharmacist in the US the basic educational requirement is the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, known as Pharm.D. This degree normally requires the completion of a 4 year program at an accredited college of pharmacy. Pharmacists are required to have a license issued by the state pharmacy board in order to practice in hospital or retail pharmacies. The student must first complete 2-4 years of undergraduate pharmacy prerequisite courses, 4 years of accredited pharmacy school and required internship hours as well as write and pass the national exam and some states also require a state exam be passed. The pharmacist must renew their license annually by completing classes and other requirements of the state.