Pharmacists are medical professionals who fill prescriptions from medical doctors. But their responsibilities include so much more, from deciding on appropriate medication for a patient to identifying possible errors by the physician.
Pharmacists also check for any possible harmful drug interactions or side effects that may occur if the patient is taking other medications.
In addition, their job includes informing the patients about the proper use of the medicines, how to take them and what to do if there are unwanted side effects.
When in doubt, pharmacists are allowed to contact the patient’s physician for a consultation about the prescribed medicine.
Pharmacists mainly work for drugstores and pharmacies, but some of them may be employed by bigger hospitals to dispense drugs directly to their patients.
As highly-trained health professionals, pharmacists need to work independently without supervision (or minimal one). Sometimes they can work in a team, and can even mentor younger pharmacists.
In order to stay up-to-date with their knowledge, pharmacists must read professional journals from their field in order and stay current with new drugs that are entering the marketplace.
Pharmacists are one of the TOP paid health professionals in the USA for a good reason. The job position requires a university-level education and knowledge of organic chemistry mechanisms and actions of medication, drug uses, therapeutic roles, facet effects, potential drug interactions, and so much more.
That’s one of the main reasons why this career choice is one of the most paid professions in the USA.
What Is The Average Salary For A Pharmacist In The USA?
The average salary for a petroleum engineer is $115/year (as of 2022). The total cash earnings of the petroleum engineers range from $84K to $140K on the high end.
$84k - $140k
$498 - $10k
$970 - $9k
$0 - $23k
$95k - $141k
How Do Pharmacists Help People?
Historically looking, the elemental role of pharmacists as care professionals was to ascertain and distribute medication to doctors for medication that had been prescribed to patients.
In the present time, pharmacists advise patients and healthcare suppliers on the choice, dosages, interactions, and side effects of medicines. They also act as a learned intercessor between a prescriber and a patient.
Some pharmacists may monitor the health and progress of patients to make sure the safe and effective use of medication.
How To Become A Pharmacist In The USA?
Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), a postgraduate professional degree accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Here are the steps you need to take in order to become a licensed pharmacist in the USA:
- Finish post-secondary school – First, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. It usually takes 2 years of study where you need to take required classes such as organic chemistry and biology.
- Pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test. Before applying for Pharm.D. programs, you must pass this PCAT.
- Earn your PharmD degree. This is the most important step in your career where you will earn your PharmD degree, which usually takes 4 years to complete. During this period, you will learn about medical ethics, biology, chemistry, pharmacology, etc. Also, you will have to take some internships at local hospitals or pharmacies.
- Get your license. After completing the PharmD program, the final step is to pass 2 exams for licensure. Every pharmacy graduate needs to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and also obtain his license to practice pharmacy.
- Constantly upgrade your knowledge – Your journey doesn’t end after you get your well-deserved license. You must continue to take educational courses, visit seminars, read professional journals and mainly keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the pharmacological world.
What Pharmacists Actually Do?
Pharmacists have different responsibilities, such as:
- Prescribing medications to patients – the most important one!
- Providing expertise, advice, and guidance about the safe use of the medications (and their side effects).
- Conducting health screenings and advising patients on a healthy lifestyle.
- Verifying instructions from physicians about the proper amounts of medication intake.
- Checking for harmful drug interactions with other prescriptions that the patient takes.
- Providing immunizations (such as flu shots or sometimes vaccinations)
- Training and mentoring intern pharmacists.
- Working with the insurance companies of the patients to ensure proper medicines are provided to the patient.
- Consulting with other healthcare practitioners about the best medication therapies for their patients.
- Administrative responsibilities, especially for keeping patients’ records.
What Skills Do Pharmacists Need To Have?
- Communication skills – Because pharmacists often provide their expertise to patients, they need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills. They need to offer polite, clear, and concise advice to the patients about the usage of the medicine and its side effects.
- Analytical skills – In order to provide safe medications in the most efficient way, pharmacists must analyze and evaluate the needs of the patient and the orders of the prescriber.
- Attention to detail – Pharmacists must be highly accurate when filling prescriptions because any improper use of medication can cause serious health consequences. They must know which medications are appropriate for each patient and provide them with confidence.
- Computer skills – Pharmacists sometimes keep a patient’s health records in their computers, and for that reason, they need to have good computer skills (especially for data entry and data management).
The job of the pharmacist is a very responsible one. They have a lot of important responsibilities, such as filling prescriptions, paying attention to the doctor’s directions, providing accurate info about the prescriptions, and many more.
Sometimes a life of a patient can depend on the pharmacist, and that’s why, with good reason, this is one of the highest-paying careers in America.