Pharmacists care for patients by managing medication therapy as an integrated member of a health care team, which includes physicians, nurses and other health professionals. Pharmacists evaluate and monitor drug therapy to achieve specific outcomes and improve the patient’s quality of life.
• take responsibility to assure that medications are used appropriately by patients.
• provide information to prescribers and other health professionals about medications and proper drug treatment.
• improve patients’ understanding of the appropriate use of medications.
• maintain comprehensive computerized records of all medications dispensed.
• increase patients’ adherence to prescription medication regimes.
• reduce the risks of adverse events and interactions associated with medications.
• determine the identity, purity and strength of medications.
• advise patients about the use of non-prescription and herbal medicines.
• refer individuals to physicians, dentists or other health practitioners.
• oversee the activities of pharmacy technicians.
• teach in schools of pharmacy.
Pharmacists may perform other duties depending on their place of employment. Community pharmacists or retail pharmacists also perform professional, managerial and administrative functions. Consultant pharmacists regularly review the drug therapy programs of nursing home patients. Hospital pharmacists advise the medical staff on the selection and effects of drugs, perform administrative duties, teach, conduct research and work in patient care areas as members of a medical team. Nuclear pharmacists work with radiopharmaceuticals (drugs that contain radioactive materials). Pharmacists in corporate/industrial settings may research and develop new drugs or supervise personnel, quality control, packaging or medical sales. Depending on their place of employment, pharmacists may work alone or with other pharmacists or as a member of a team of health care professionals.
Average Salary Range
$48,000 – $85,000
Educational Requirements
Students intending to pursue a career in pharmacy should prepare by taking the most challenging high school courses available in science, math and English. Pharmacists earn the doctor of pharmacy degree, which requires a minimum of six years of study. They also must pass an examination and have earned at least 1,500 hours of practical experience in a pharmacy.
Students planning on careers in clinical pharmacy should complete post-graduate residency or fellowship training and consider board certification