About the Profession
A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who is trained in the safe and effective use of medications to prevent and treat diseases. These are the healthcare professionals who primarily dispense medications to patients. Pharmacy education prepares graduates to provide patient care, educate others, and compound medications. Pharmacists are certified nationally and licensed by the state(s) in which they practice. Pharmacists are said to be the most accessible healthcare professional to the general public.
Clinical pharmacists provide direct patient care by collaborating with other healthcare professionals as part of the patient care team. Clinical pharmacists receive specialized education, usually through completion of residency training and specialist board certification.
What does a pharmacist do?
Pharmacists help people to achieve optimal results from non-prescription and prescription medications. In their roles as medication experts, pharmacists are trained to perform all of the following:
Recommend medication regimens to providers
Review medication orders to ensure safety and efficacy – appropriate medication, dose, formulation that is safe to use with other medications, disease states, and health status
Dispense, prepare, and/or compound medications for patient use
Educate patients, communities, and other healthcare professionals on medication use
Manage medication inventory and/or formulary
Triage patients for appropriate self care via the use of Over the Counter (OTC) products
Run point of care screening tests
Administer immunizations and injectable medications
Study the ideal use of medication therapies.
Under Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM), some states allow pharmacists to start, stop, change, and monitor medications as well as order and interpret laboratory data when working within the context of a defined protocol with a licensed prescriber. Pharmacists with advanced training enter into collaborative practice agreements with one or more healthcare providers.
Where do pharmacists work?
Pharmacists practice in many different settings. While most pharmacists work in community pharmacies; pharmacists also practice in hospitals, ambulatory clinics, long term care facilities, mail order companies, managed care organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, nuclear medicine, and government organizations.
American Pharmacists Association www.pharmacist.com
American College of Clinical Pharmacy www.accp.com